As the saying goes – “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”
I certainly wasn’t expecting the sacking of Leicester City Football Club’s most high profile manager ever last night.
It was only days ago when I wrote a post called Save Our Sven. His start to the season hasn’t been spectacular and this is where his downfall lies.
Our new owners arrived and promised us Premiership football within two years, which is in fact 1 year less than Milan Mandaric promised. Out went unsuccessful appointment Paulo Sousa and in came the appointment that made the whole football world sit up and take notice.
Welcome ex England Manager Sven Goran Eriksson.
We couldn’t believe it. An ex-England manager sitting in the managers hot seat at what was then the Walkers Stadium.
Well we know why he came. Two reasons – The first, and to be fair to him who could blame him for this, the Money!
The second? Well a chance to restore his damaged managerial reputation. A reputation that had gone down hill since his sacking by England, Mexico, Ivory Coast, Manchester City, Notts County. You get the picture.
So we weren’t getting the pre-England most successful manager this side of Mars manager. No we were getting the post Notts County looking to restore his reputation manager.
That said I am sure every other Championship club would have stabbed us in the back to get him as their manager.
He looked at the Leicester job and the money he had been promised and thought to himself, “with the millions I’ve been promised this will be easy”.
Well getting out of The Championship isn’t easy and Sven has found this to his cost.
But Sven has been our Marmite manager.
Most people wanted Nigel person to stay.
Most people wanted Paulo Sousa to go.
But people remain divided on our Sven.
Within 10 minutes of putting a post up on facebook as to whether the sacking was right or not, 91/25 were voting that the sacking was wrong. The other threads on the Leicester fan pages also show spilt opinion on the Swede.
He came in last season (2010/11) following Sousa’s sacking and worked miracles in turning a bottom of the league team into play off hopefuls. The fact that we didn’t make the play off’s was blamed as much on Sven’s tinkering with the team (who can forget the arrival of stopper Ricardo) to the poor start.
But over the summer Sven spent, and spent big. Breaking previous LCFC transfer records and brining almost a whole new team. Memories of the Martin Allen summer came flooding back but Sven seemed to be buying sensibly brining in top names linked to bigger clubs than ours (Kasper, Mills & Danns etc)
However, with big money signings comes big money expectations. Most fans thought we would walk the league. Who could stop us? Well, Birmingham & Millwall to name but two.
I, along with most other fans if they are honest with themselves, sure expected us to spend the whole season in the top two, and if bookies odds were anything to go by be fighting for the coveted top spot with West Ham. It didn’t quite work out like that though. The rose tinted spectacles fell off and 13 games in (unlucky for some Sven) and we found ourselves sat in 13th place albeit only two points off the play offs and five off an automatic spot.
Thats just two wins off being top two!!!
But most importantly it was not just the fans who had been expecting a top two side all season. It was the owners as well. Those mega rich Thai owners who had pumped all their own money into not only buying the club but bankrolling the most expensive squad to ever put on the blue & white of LCFC.
Losing to Millwall was not I believe the be all and end all for them. It was the way we had lost coming less than two weeks after the same dismal performance against Birmingham.
Nice fancy football, they decided, was not going to win us promotion.
But to sack Sven? I think it was too early. December in time for the January window would have been the right time if there ever is a right time to sack someone. But the Thai’s have decided now was the time to make the decision.
Eriksson was not only taken on for his football knowledge but for his name and his marketability. The owners wanted to make LCFC a global brand. Anyone walking through Bangkok airport will testify to the coverage LCFC get in Thailand at the moment and having an ex-England Manager in charge would do the ‘sellabilty’ of the club no harm at all.
So it has to be a big name to follow him doesn’t it? Who will the owners go for?
As usual many names are being touted. Martin O’Neill seems to be the bookies and the fans favourite. But as much as I think it would be wrong for a manager to return, don’t get ME wrong I would roll out the red carpet for him.
But the owners have to make a statement with this next appointment. Get it right and the world could be their oyster, get it wrong and millions will have been wasted on a dream.
So apart from the aforementioned God, who could it be?
Well we could guess all night?
Do they go for Championship experience in the Billy Davies mould?
But is someone like this a big enough ‘name’ to sell LCFC globally?
Do they bankroll a really big name such as Carlo Ancelotti?
But will this cause the same problems as with Sven? No lower league experience.
Or do they go down the middle with the likes of Glen Hoddle?
Mmmm? A big name and has the experience of getting clubs out of this league as Leicester fans will well remember?
Or will they shock us all with a totally unexpected appointment a la Sven?
We will I am sure find out soon enough, but like I say – Top, you so need to get this one right.
I will end by saying thanks to Sven. Met him a couple of times and he was a gentleman. Having him at Leicester City Football Club, albeit for a short time, was an honour and a privilege. In my opinion the club were wrong to sack him at this time, and I hope the decision doesn’t come back to haunt us.
But as we fans always do we grin and bear it and carry on supporting the team we love.
As always its never dull being a Leicester City fan.
UP THE CITY!!
By Chris Forryan