I think perhaps now would be the right time to have a bash at giving my thoughts on the Ranieri thing. I thought he may have gone after the bad December we had, but he didn’t. Other than after the Liverpool home game, I’ve been pretty happy with the manager all season. And I’ve not believed a word of the Sven speculation. I can’t see it. As for Capello and Hitzfeld and the rest, well what have they got that Claudio hasn’t? I can think of three managers who i would rate as better than Claudio tactically, these being Marcello Lippi, Arsene Wenger, and Fergie. Claudio is a better man than all three, and a honourable man, who has shown us all what a bit of decency and some scruples means in the current game. I like him.
No, actually, I’ll rephrase that. I love the guy. Makes me proud to be Chelsea. If you think about it he's the perfect Chelsea manager. Like the team he is cool, talented, reserved and classy. He is also inconsistent, infuriating, and often completely unfathomable. He is also more a gentleman, with more honour, class, and decency than others - he doesn’t have a reputation for cheating, blind denial, selective myopia, mindgames, dirty tricks and gamesmanship like others do, in much the same way as Chelsea pride themselves on not being a dirty, cheating side. Like the team he is capable of the sublime and the wonderful, but doesn’t do it often enough. He is also capable of the mad, bad, and plain crap, just like the team. Like the fans, he is an honest, simple guy, with simple desires, no pretentiousness about the football, and he clearly has passion for the game, just like our fans. He is a realist, just like us. I also get the impression that he is also a little bit cynical, like us. When we get beaten fair and square by a better team, he says so, and so do we. Most of the time anyway. It's what sets us apart from the Gooners and the Mancs. You get the sense from him, in the way that Hoddle, Gullit, and Porterfield of recent times never truly showed, that he has a passion for the club and the blue, in his own, cool, but slightly bizarre way. When we lose it upsets him. He cares about the fans, and what the fans think. For that alone, i like the guy, and i also like the Manager. Unlike some, i believe the two are intrinsically linked. I dont see him going.
I can’t imagine anyone else in charge. I just can’t see it. The thing is, i dont read the press with anything other than a cynical and rather bored eye, and so i dont take anything that they say with any credence.
Lets put this into perspective. We are having by far our best Premiership season ever, and but for the unbelievable happenings at Highbury, we would certainly be looking realistically at possibly winning The Big One. Ranieri has managed to gel a huge squad of players, with a number of natural dissenters in it. He has been ruthless when needed, and bought very well. He has spent £180m+ of RA's money on HIS players. Given the chance, he will trim the squad down, streamlining it into a gelled team able to compete with anyone in the world on at least an equal footing. He will instill an Arsenal-like team spirit, and have a British hardcore of top, top players. The majority of the fans like him, and he is very popular. We are a team that is very hard to beat, rather than the fancy, attacking, but very soft-bellied team he inherited from Luca. We are as talented going forward as we have ever been only teams play a spoiling game against us - when we are allowed to play, such as against Lazio, we are unstoppable. We are in the Quarters of the Champion's League, and acquitting ourselves very, very well against a superb team, playing probably the best football of any club side in the world. We have a great chance of going through.
RA must know several things.
* Appointing a new manager means another season of consolidation while the team and any new signings gel.
* There is no guarantee that the new guy will settle, or be as good as Ranieri.
* The fans will be set against anyone new after the Kenyon-Ranieri debacle, and this will set the wrong mood - this will be very damaging and take months to overcome.
* The new guy will want money for new signings. He has already spent £180m+.
* Ranieri has the sympathy and goodwill of almost everyone here - he is popular, and this is a powerful tool.
* The press can, and probably will start a hate campaign against the new guy as well - there is no guarantee that the new guy will handle it as well as Ranieri has done - it has the potential to get messy. This will be very damaging.
* Kenyon is by no means the Golden Boy he thought he was, and just because Kenyon wants someone new, doesn’t mean its a good idea. This is RA's decision, and he needs to be careful about it.
The press has hated Ranieri since day one, and the media speculation has led everyone to believe that Ranieri will go. I'm not sure, and i would stick a great deal of money on him staying. What then, was the Erickson thing about then? I have no idea. I'm positive that it wasn’t about getting him as manager, or if it was, it was tentative discussions and nothing more. Perhaps a chat with the Swede about football in general - remember RA knows very little in comparison, and is known to surround himself with advisors in Sibneft, why would Chelsea be any different? Sven is a wise man, and he certainly knows his stuff football wise, if not about women, and he is known to be a friend of RA, so why not meet for a friendly vodka and chat about footie? I know it sounds unlikely, but that’s where my money is.
I just cant see them getting rid of Ranieri. Claudio doesn’t seem too bothered about it does he? Neither do the team to be fair. I mean its not like they have all been slagging him off. And Kenyon did say that they would review his position at the end of the season, and that he still had three years left to run on his current deal. These sound like the words of a man who hasn’t made up his mind, but is leaving all avenues open. Whilst these avenues undoubtedly allow press speculation on Capello etc, they also allow Ranieri to stay.
Could it be that no decision has yet been taken?
Could it be that RA wants to see how this fascinating and thoroughly absorbing double race for a trophy ends?
If Ranieri truly believed that he would be sacked – would he retain a loyalty to the club, and keep his silence? Would he not just walk out? I know I would, but then Claudio is a great man.
I’m convinced that he will stay, and that we will win trophies next season.
Remember trophies this season are not totally out of the question. We only need an away goal at Highbury and the Gooners to tire and draw a couple, (both of which are eminently possible, and indeed have already happened this season) and we bang back in it. No, I think writing the epitaph on Don Claudio Ranieri, and his Chelsea odyssey is a little premature. I think he is here for longer than everyone thinks. Expect an explosive pre-season!
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!
Lets have your thoughts on the issue...