March 1 – Claudio Ranieri, the manager who captured the imagination of the world by guiding Leicester City to one the most miraculous league titles in the history of English football just three years ago, has discovered to his cost that lightning rarely strikes twice after being sacked by relegation-threatened Fulham.
The Italian took over the London club, promoted at the end of last season, in November when he was labelled “risk free and ready made for the Premier League”.
But it proved to be exactly the opposite as the gamble backfired disastrously and he left after just 106 days in the job and just three wins from 17 games.
No-one can ever take away from Ranieri what he achieved at Leicester but his disastrous tenure at Fulham proved his title-winning exploits at a similarly unheralded club was very much a one-off that was in part as a result of the usual suspects being below par and which will, in all likelihood, never be repeated.
The fact is Ranieri leaves Fulham standing 10 points from Premier League safety with only 10 games left, a sad indictment of a team that spent £100 million last summer to have real go at a Premiership run.
After he replaced the dismissed Slavisa Jokanovic in November following a poor start back in the top flight, Fulham arguably got worse under Ranieri, especially in defence which he was brought in to stiffen up.
Only six managers have had shorter Premier League tenures than the Italian at Fulham and perhaps the moral of the story, not for the first time, is for club owners and chairmen to give those already in place more time to turn things round before wielding the axe.
Instead of working another miracle, Ranieri has paid the price for being hired on reputation – not always a winning formula.
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