Sports Editor's blog: Money men blame cash for Claudio Ranieri's demise

In the end it was hard to know who to feel more sorry for? Claudio Ranieri or the soul of football, both kicked unceremoniously in the privates in an East Midlands airport hotel room

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 1:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 10:11 am
Leicester City's victory parade makes its way along Rutland Street in the city EMN-170228-094344002
Leicester City's victory parade makes its way along Rutland Street in the city EMN-170228-094344002

A sackload worth of column inches, of which I’m now adding to, and airtime has been filled on the subject.

About the rejection of a manager who had pulled off what was considered the greatest achievement in modern football history and gelled a team of potential prospects and journeymen into Premier League champions.

Surprisingly, considering some of the mouths and keyboards from which they sprung forth, empathy and sympathy were the keywords.

There was something chilling about the coldest and most hard-hearted of scribes and football men banging on about Ranieri’s dignity and qualities as a gentleman - I assume they had to consult dictionaries for definitions of both before toeing the opinion of consensus.

Perhaps the most bizarre came from the high altar of the church of football analysis - Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville had clearly ruminated long and hard on what line to take to explain the overnight rise of a team which couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo into one which embarrassed Liverpool.

And more importantly who to blame for the disposal of FIFA’s World Coach of the Year - for where would a modern debate be without blame?

Everyone seems to have taken their turn in the blame game this week - the owners, players, tea ladies, Filbert the Fox.

But no, all were innocent, according to the sages of MNF.

While steadfastly debunking the rumours that the players had turned on their manager, Carragher took it one step further, even excusing the owners for their decision to bin off the avuncular Italian.

There is so much money in the Premier League these days, he argued, that the potential drop in revenue of relegation - from astronomical to the slightly less astronomical - was so great it forced the billionaire owners’ hands.

It was the money what did it guv. It’s out of control; it’s a monster.

But was it perhaps worth taking a moment to remember who turned on the tap to these gargantuan sums of money which now flow routinely into the Premier League?

That’s right, the people paying Mr Carragher’s wages - both as a footballer and now as a pundit - Sky Sports.

Fetishising money in this way is as alarming as it is ludicrous.

Leicester’s owners had a genuine chance to show they were different from other clubs.

No club had ever done things more differently than last season, and with no pressures of expectation on them this year, a very real chance was there to show loyalty ranked higher in their hearts than bank balance.

It was an opportunity lost.

Still, as much as we’d like to think not, there will still be enough supporters to forget all about Ranieri’s ghost if their team string several wins together and keep the whole degrading carousel turning.

And the players, it seems, are untouchable in all of this.

An ex-footballer friend took a different line, arguing that the footballers are happy to take the lion’s share of praise when things are going well, but it’s the manager who must carry the can when things go bad.

Perhaps it explains why Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater chose not to utter a word of thanks to their former boss in their post-match interview.

The man who had helped transform their careers into those of England internationals.

Asked to explain the sudden transformation in performance and result, the pair carried the sheepish air of naughty schoolboys called to the headmaster’s office.

Instead of humility and regret, they stared at the ground and muttered on about reacting to nasty things bad people had said about them.

It perhaps says everything about the soul of modern football that motivation can only be generated from a negative place and not in gratitude for a good man.