Hands up if you are bit tired of Leicester City by now. And it’s not their fault! They did amazingly well, they defied all the odds, they proved thousands of people wrong by simply playing the game with no fear, with a nothing to lose attitude which has been refreshing and an example for the other teams who live and die for the sake of a point. Great story, nothing to say, I don’t even want to start talking about their Thai billionaires owners who, in my opinion, make the comparison with Nottingham Forest in late 70s impossible. They achieved the impossible, when everyone was waiting for the next game to see them tumble, when City, United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs, Liverpool, were in theory much better equipped to win the title than a team who lost its manager in difficult circumstances after leading virtually the same players to a great escape last season. A team who had been in League One only a few years back (2008/09).
But then, as it happens every time the media decide to focus on something, the coverage spun out of control. All of sudden Leicester existed. One of the oldest cities in England and a football club founded in 1884. A club who has been an answer on every pub quiz as the one with most appearances in FA Cup finals without winning it. Who won three league cups and featured famous players such as Frank Worthington, Peter Shilton, Gordon Banks, Gary Lineker, Frank McLintock etc.
All of a sudden Leicester City FC was discovered but while I can understand the media, they go where they think they can get viewers, users and public in general, I don’t get all the people who decided to crash the Foxes’ real, genuine fans party. They surely deserved to celebrate a title they had never won and never expected to win? Why do people from other clubs and other countries feel entitled to take part? Because of their sporting achievement? There are plenty even more astonishing if you decide to look beyond the Premier League, lots of clubs who punch above their weight, lots of fans who keep alive their football clubs without a line on a newspaper, a minute on television or a few characters on social media. Why are they crashing the Leicester party then? I guess to be part of it, to be part of the trending topic on twitter, the news of the day, and, in the case of the people who traveled from Italy, to crown King Claudio. And this is the most annoying part of it all.
Claudio Ranieri has been a very good manager, maybe not the best but really good, all his life and, above all, he has been and he is a gentleman. He is more than just a decent man, he is a great man. He has always conducted himself with composure, always tried not to be too loud in a world where shouting seems normal and expected. He has always showed respect and dignity, winning or losing, with smaller and bigger clubs. Because Ranieri has been manager at Fiorentina, Napoli, Juventus, Inter, Roma, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Monaco, Chelsea, among others. A 30 year long career where he decided to travel the world, or Europe, managing in five different countries, how many Italian football managers can boast that? Not many.
But because he did not win any major league he has been constantly overlooked by media and football fans. Until now. Now everyone wants to meet him, talk to him, everyone thinks he is a funny guy and a great manager. They want to talk to his mum, his teacher at school, his friends in Rome.
But Ranieri knows all too well next season will be different. Next season he could go back to be the Ranieri in charge at Cagliari, at Parma or with the Greek National team. He will be in the news if suddenly Leicester don’t cope with the unavoidable expectations they established after this miraculous season. People will wait for his fall and point the finger at him as he got lucky, a freak who did well in a season for a number of reasons, who will be, sooner or later, caught out of his depth.
That won’t change a thing. He will maintain his class and probably move to his next job knowing he is a man in a world of clowns.