IT’S not often I agree with Gary Lineker…..
But when the BBC’s most grossly overpaid employee tweeted that Leicester City’s owners were ‘inept’ after the sacking of manager Craig Shakespeare he had a point.
Not that this incompetence is limited to the King Power. It extends to the boardrooms of almost all professional clubs throughout the land – with the noble exception of Arsenal!
Short-sightedness and a total lack of perspective goes hand in hand with the way every small action both on and off the pitch is scrutinised and made into a major drama by the media and also by lay ‘experts’ on social media.
Let’s examine Shakespeare’s supposed failings…….
A man who has gained a tremendous reputation within the game during his six years at Leicester has overseen four Premier League defeats – to Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Those are games any team – current leaders Manchester City included – could easily lose.
We are talking about four of the most difficult opponents in the Premier League, if not Europe.
My point is this: every manager in the world, Guardiola and Mourinho included, goes through spells when his team doesn’t produce the results they are capable of.
It happened with both City and United last term, yet a few months later they now look virtually unbeatable.
Going back in time, Brian Clough was sackable by today’s standards during his first two seasons at Forest whilst Alex Ferguson would have been dismissed in each of his first three, if not four, campaigns at Old Trafford.
Given a reasonable slice of luck and the guarantee of fixtures against lesser teams, Leicester have the ability to finish halfway or just below in the Premier League.
Should they win – as expected – against Championship opponents Leeds United next week, they will also be in the quarter finals of a major cup competition.
Meanwhile whilst Shakespeare’s stock has gone from hero to zero in a few months, the opposite is also the case when people focus their attention purely on the short term.
On the same day as Shakespeare was sacked, former Leicester star Richie Wellens was appointed manager of League One Oldham Athletic on a two-year deal.
The recent history behind his appointment was this.
Wellens was a first team coach under experienced manager John Sheridan who was duly credited with rescuing Oldham from relegation after a small run of improved results at the end of last season.
Oldham’s players then returned to their more customary indifferent form at the beginning of this season resulting in Sheridan leaving the club for a third time.
Wellens was then catapulted into the manager’s seat on a caretaker basis and oversaw four wins and a draw.
Suddenly he is a great manager, Oldham’s saviour. But what do you think will realistically happen in coming months?
The good run will even out and Oldham will probably end up in a relegation battle come May. That’s not a mystic prophecy, just a realistic analysis.
Will Leicester fall for the same trick?
Very few people are currently backing caretaker Michael Appleton to get the job full time.
But a win against a modest Swansea on Saturday, followed by success on Tuesday and suddenly ‘short term’ thinkers will be backing him big time.
The truth is football teams tend to improve for a short spell, usually around six games, after the appointment of a new manager, any manager will do.
That’s because it’s human nature for people to respond to a new start and try to claim their place in the pecking order.
The easiest thing in the world is for the new boss to select a couple of players who have been left out by the previous one and give them a new opportunity to prove their worth.
It happens time after time after time………