When a managerial hero has to leave the stage


I loved the Leicester City story as much as any of you. Well, maybe not just as much. Leicester’s title win was astonishing, but it was no fairy story. They outperformed far wealthier clubs, sure, but this was achieved by spending the kind of money Celtic couldn’t dream of parting with.

Apart from their league win, Project Leicester was typical of the financial chicanery which has been prevalent in English football for so long, and which Financial Fair Play seeks to end.

Right now they are in freefall. If they go down, loaded with an underperforming squad on eye-wateringly high salaries, they will find it impossible to downsize sufficiently to give anyone sitting around the King Power Stadium boardroom table that they will be able to achieve stability in the Championship.

Once you drop out of the Enland and Wales Premier League, the biggest parachute in the world simply isn’t big enough. Two of the three Championship relegation places are currently occupied by recent Premier League clubs. Aston Villa, twice the size of Leicester but with a far smaller wage bill, are currently 17th. Leicester will look ominously at Blackpool, 14th in League Two, and appreciate how rapidly a Premier League relegation fight can turn into something altogether more serious.

Claudio Ranieri is a football hero, but even from the outside it has been plain to see that something has been seriously wrong under his control in recent months. His comments before the Sevilla game, “we know they are the better team”, spoke of a man who didn’t believe in himself or his players anymore.

It is never easy to spot when a managerial hero should move on from a club where he’s loved, exect in hindsight. Clough was the greatest English manager, but stayed on far too long at Nottingham Forest. Relegation was his reward.

Jock Stein’s sacking as Celtic manager in 1978 was shabbily handled, as was the way at the club back then. I was too young to know the best of Jock’s years at Celtic, but I remember the grief he got from the terraces during his last four seasons, when Rangers (remember them?) won three titles and two trebles.

No one will tell you they got on Jock’s case back then, but it happened. Football fans in the 1970s took no prisoners.

Looking back, Jock stayed too long at Celtic. He produced miracles for five years then managed decline for eight. He should have taken the Manchester United job when offered. Clough squeezed two League Cups out of his squad in 1989 and 1990 and should have headed for this hills right then.

As for Claudio, he should have bowed out a champion in May. He didn’t have managerial alchemy after all, it was inevitable that performances would return to his normal trend this season. Someone at Leicester had to take responsibility.  That’s football – and it’s not even a modern aspect of it.


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  1. 50 shades of green on

    Very enjoyable read back on here today.



    Nearly game time and for some reason I’ve a hankering for cider today, must be the subliminal cqn at work. Although I doubt I will find anything like the stuff I used to drink in Devon in the early 80s. We used to go up to a ” scrumpy farm ” with our own gallon containers and the farmer would fill them with scrumpy for 50p a gallon. Real memory wiping stuff.



    On days like today I’m glad I have 1888 stairs to climb to get to my seat in the North stand, I usually arrive out of breath and about 5 mins behind wee shades, but at least my seat will be dry.



    To the guys and gals who lost family this week, may God grant you the joyfull memories of your loved ones to ease your pain.



    H.H and welcome to Celtic to all new recruits today.

  2. *** GOALS FOR SHAY WEEK 7 ***


    This weeks choices (with 4 still to come in) are shown below. And there’s an overwhelming winner this week with loads of folk expecting Everton to have another goal fest agaist Sunderland. And well done to the 8 folk who already got 2 more points on the board last night.



    This week also sees the biggest range of different teams chosen with the picks going on 14 of the 16 possible fixtures. Maybe indicitave of the fact that folk are running out of obvious options. Every week gets a little bit harder I suppose.



    And just the 5 jokers played this week – 2 on Celtic, 2 on Chelsea and 1 on Everton.



    Good luck everybody.



    Friday 24 February


    Inverness [9] v The Rangers



    Saturday 25 February


    Aberdeen [7] v Ross County


    Celtic [9] v Hamilton


    Motherwell [1] v Dundee


    Partick v Hearts [1]


    St Johnstone [4] v Kilmarnock


    Chelsea [14] v Swansea


    Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough


    Everton [46] v Sunderland


    Hull [2] v Burnley


    West Brom [1] v Bournemouth


    Hibs [12] v Dunfermline (17.15)


    Watford v West Ham (17.30)



    Sunday 26 February


    Tottenham [1] v Stoke (13.30)


    Manchester Utd [2] v Southampton (16.30)



    Monday 27 February


    Leicester v Liverpool [4] (20.00)

  3. MY friends in Celtic,



    Cider alert, Cider alert.



    Due to new guidelines about doubling fruit and veg intake , the blog braces itself for a weekend onslaught.



    Lucky sods.



    HH. Applescsc.

  4. mike in toronto on

    WDH/beatbhoy … le pere Jules was the name of the cider I quie enjoy, but whose name I couldn’t remember last night… quite nice



    A bit early over here perhaps … but it is much later over there, so thought someone like to try it …

  5. Mike that one I put up with a good smoked salmon dollop of sour cream, crème fraîche or the like, nice.

  6. jmccormick



    last time I was in that awful place was for a meal at Conrans gaff


    and I nearly fell off my seat seeing Foie and Tokaji offered as an optional extra on the tasting menu


    great restaurant- didn’t stand a chance in Glasgow.

  7. green dot watch.



    from the official site looks like only a few hundred seats left for sale.



    however, thats the same situation as last few home games, but then official attendances are given as around 55,000.



    cmon the missing 5,000, you dont know what your missing, its a great joy to be at celtic park these days.



    a sunny afternoon is forecasted. a 3pm saturday kick off, and a team of legends in the making.



    cmon get out there and cback the bhoys.



    its magic, wonderful,

  8. Floatin,



    am sorry about my pithy comment…..yer story about yer uncle Billy deserved better…..and by better I mean appreciation…..;-))










  9. WDH.


    Barca is not my first pick either, I questioned why the Paella they serve was full of chorizo and was told that this was what their punter wanted. So there you go…. my wife does like the cocktails there and I have sampled the decent Spanish cider El Gaitero in there also they used to stock the upmarket Estella beer , Interdit I believe it is called.

  10. Thanks to all who have posted kind comments after my Uncle Billy post earlier.


    He was indeed a lovely man and one of the few people I have ‘taken to’ in my life.


    I express my abhorrence of the Huns ‘ideology’ and behaviour on a regular basis but in my head I always say ….


    Except Billy :)




  11. FLOATIN….



    Enjoyed reading your post earlier. I know a few good blue noses and although they are good friends, I still rip the pish out of them as they did me in the past, it’s the way it is. HH