It cannot be denied that Leicester’s current position of 13th is not really good enough for a club that spent in excess of £15million over the summer and has the highest wage bill in the Championship.
But in what remains an immensely truncated division, the Foxes are just three points off fifth place and only a further four off the automatic promotion places. Having a bet on the Championship is a wildly unpredictable exercise these days.
Yet those facts didn’t appear to matter to the board of Leicester City, who sacked their manager Sven Goran Eriksson just 13 months into the job.
From the outside it seems extremely harsh – it does need to be considered that we don’t know the internal workings of the club and any faltering relationships between players and staff. Yet still, just three months into a season with such heavy investment it seems needlessly disruptive to sack a manager and his assistant, with the various compensation costs that such a venture brings, and install a new man in charge, who will bring his own ideas and players to the table.
It appears though that it is the price you pay for wealthy ownership these days. Leicester have already been compared to Chelsea, who have had the benefit of Roman Abramovich’s millions to spend but have also gone through seven managers as the Russian seeks instant success.
It is this doubled edge sword that makes the take-over of football by rich owners as worrying trend in the long-term (the uber rich and imminently successful Man City apart, though so vast is their wealth, they should be treated as a unique case). This constant hiring and firing, throwing good money after bad and the spiralling wages and transfer fees is going to eventually lead to a total meltdown and a number of clubs hitting the wall.
Back to Leicester and it seems Martin O’Neill is the favourite in the football betting and the man the fans seem to want back. The Irishman enjoyed tremendous success with the club at the turn of the century, establishing them in the top ten of the Premier League and winning the League Cup twice.
However, putting to one side the adage that you should never go back, would O’Neill want to risk his reputation by going to a club with trigger happy owners?
Rumours are he is seeking reassurances of both funds and patience, which if intertwined is an appealing combination for a football manager. But should O’Neill take the job, despite the inevitable hero’s welcome he would – and should – receive – he must know that only success, and quick, will see him last longer than his predecessor.