Sven Gone-Again-Sson

So after just 13 league games and 1,170 minutes into the new league season Leicester City have parted company with manager Sven Goran Erikkson.

After a three nil home defeat to a Millwall side lingering in the relegation places, in which Darius Henderson scored a hat-trick, the ex-England manager was relieved of his duties.

Millwall were on a dreadful run as well, they hadn’t won a league game in 10 attempts and had only one win to their name – a 2-0 triumph over Steve McLaren’s struggling Nottingham Forest back in August.

But the Lions roared to spring a surprise last weekend and left Sven packing his bags.

Millwall have gone on a run since then, thumping Ipswich 4-1 and Coventry 3-0 in their next two games to climb to 15th.   Football’s a funny old game.

After this defeat, The Foxes were in 13th place in the league, eight points off leaders Southampton and just two points off the play-off places.

Put that into perspective and maybe the decision to sack the much-travelled Swede looks a little harsh. The Npower Championship is an awfully long season and there were still 99 more points to contest for.

Although Eriksson dragged Leicester clear of the relegation zone and secured a 10th-placed finish last term, he was under no illusions that promotion was the minimum requirement this season.

Leicester were well fancied amongst bookmakers and football fans alike before a ball had even been kicked this season. Sven brought in a total of 15 new faces in the summer, including Jermaine Beckford, Paul Konchesky, David Nugent, Neil Danns, Matt Mills, Kasper Schmeichel and Gelson Fernandes, all players with big pedigrees.

With a well renowned manager at the helm and a squad as strong as they have, it was easy to see why they were so well fancied. But it is proven that teams take time to gel and maybe Sven should have been given more time to try and fulfil his chairman’s wishes of promotion.

Sven himself was left baffled as to why Leicester were not higher up the league table. Even though the season had barely begun there seemed to be a spark missing in the Foxes team as well as a feeling of togetherness. You can have great individuals but these will be no good if you don’t play as a team.

Ultimately, one of Sven’s biggest downfalls was Leicester’s inconsistency. One week they would win and often convincingly, the next they would lose.

A sluggish start – two home defeats on the bounce, including a surprise 2-1 home defeat to Bristol City, wasn’t ideal but the Foxes bounced back to go on a good run of eight games without defeat, including a entertaining 3-2 victory over leaders Southampton and a 4-0 thumping of high-flyers Derby County.

The Foxes were soon back down with a bang though, a spiritless 2-0 defeat to Birmingham soon followed before that woeful display against Millwall. The board had seen enough and acted.

Will they regret the decision? We will find that out at the end of the season but I am of the opinion that a man of Sven’s importance and authority should have been given longer but that is the reality of football these days. This is the typical example of a manager falling to the cruel ways of the burden of expectancy. Whatever happened to the saying Patience is a virtue.

Sven, who was in charge of The Foxes for just 13 months, is now on the hunt for another job.

His last few jobs in football won’t exactly fill potential employers with confidence –  he largely failed as Mexico manager, regretted his decision to be director of football at Notts County, before then failing in his brief spell as Ivory Coast manager.

Curtis Davies, who played on loan at Leicester last season, told BBC Radio 5 live: “I think a lot of the players who signed in the summer, signed because Sven was the manager.

“I’m sure players believed in him. He revived my career and I owe him one.”

The Leicester board have announced that they will bide their time in looking for a new manager (of course they will).

Names that keep cropping up as potential replacements include Dave Jones and Billy Davies. Both of these are currently weighing up their options following spells of unemployment after parting company with their respective clubs. Davies would be a particularly controversial appointment because of his Derby and Nottingham links, both fierce rivals to Leicester.

Ex-Crystal Palace manager Ian Dowie has been reported to have applied for the job.

Foxes legend Neil Lennon is also in the frame to succeed Sven. Other names that have been circulating around the job include Roy Keane, Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer and Avram Grant.

One man who will apparently not be taking the job is Huddersfield boss Lee Clark, who publically denied interest in the job. Leeds manager Simon Grayson, who became a Foxes cult hero in his time there as a player, has also played down speculation of a return as a manager.

However the bookmakers’ hot favourite remains city legend Martin O’Neill.

O’Neill, who managed the Foxes between December 1995 and 2000, would be a hugely popular appointment with the fans.

He led the club to two League Cup wins in 1997 and 2000 before taking over as Celtic boss and then became Aston Villa manager in 2005. He quit Villa last year, could this be his comeback? Only time will tell.

There is yet to be a manager casualty in the Premier League Manager whereas in the same period of time five Championship managers have parted company with their respective clubs, Sven being the latest culprit.

William Ridgard

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