The feeling in Leicester City is one of shock, confusion, and disappointment. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for Leicester fans this season as the club entered the final months of the year facing the very real prospect of relegation. While the club had always been ambitious and confident in their mission to stay in the EPL, recent performances and results made it almost impossible for them to remain in the top flight.
Even in the midst of the relegation battle, there seemed to be a general lack of acknowledgement that this was really happening; that relegation was imminent. The Srivaddhanaprabha family purchased Leicester in 2010 and have since strived to make it a great destination for football fans, providing state-of-the-art facilities and investing heavily in the club. But this ambition has come at a price: with dwindling returns on investment due to poor performances and results, the club has been faced with a catch-22 situation.
This sense of being stuck between a rock and a hard place is something that manager Brendan Rodgers was well aware of, as was former CEO Susan Whelan when she made her statement regarding the club’s decline following her exit. “We wanted to challenge but that wasn’t coming to fruition,” said Whelan. “The support from the owners was unwavering but the players lacked the spirit, commitment and determination that the manager wanted.”
It’s clear that Rodgers had an unambiguous dedication to his training methods, his message, and his preferred way of playing–but none of this appeared to have worked with the same squad of players. Despite the owners’ efforts to keep Leicester in the EPL, the club eventually succumbed to the mounting pressure and were relegated.
It’s now up to all connected with Leicester City to draw strength from the mistakes and experiences of the past season and build on them as they look to the future. With a new manager and squad in place, there is no reason why the club can’t push back up to the Premier League. There is still plenty of hard work to be done as Leicester look to move forward and continue their push for the top flight, but with the right mix of ambition and dedication, anything is possible.