Jenny was recently interviewed on Sky News on the topic, here’s a video transcription of the interview or you can watch the clip here
Now the Leicester City fairytale for Claudio Ranieri has had anything but a happy ending. Just nine months ago he was lifting the trophy after pulling off the impossible, winning the Premier League title. Five thousand to one, those are the odds. Fast forward and last night he was sacked as Leicester City’s Manager after reports senior players were unhappy with him after their defeat to Sevilia. So how did it take just nine months for Ranieri to be given his marching orders? Did he deserve more loyalty from Leicester City? Let’s talk to Dean Scoggins, Sports Journalist, at the Sun and Jenny Garrett, an Executive Career Coach. Afternoon to you both.
STEPHEN DIXON: Look, can we start with you Dean? In all of this, you know the ins and outs better than most. I mean a lot of people are looking at this and saying, “How can his fortunes have changed?” “How can that loyalty have gone so quickly?”
DEAN:I think it pretty much sums up, sums up the modern game really, and modern football as we see it, is that there is very little loyalty in the game anymore, from players and a lot of fans as well towards players and coaches and managers and Claudio Ranieri has become a victim of this and you know it was an absolute fairytale last year. It was wonderful to see the great story in the Premiere League era if not ever in the top flight in English football, and it’s come to a very sad end. Unfortunately, the owners will be deemed to have been correct in sacking him if they stay in the Premiere League this year and you know and that is currently the sad state and the sorry state of football, but that is, that is football these days.
STEPHEN DIXON: Yeah! So the sorry state of football Jenny, what does it leave us in terms of a wider view of how we handle people, handle people at the top of their professions? Because this certainly gives a message. We have seen it for decades of course in football but no matter how good you are, no matter how much of a hero you are, you make a couple of mistakes, you are out!
JENNY: Yeah! I think football is unique really! I think it’s high risk, high reward and when you get to the top of your game, it’s very public in terms what you are doing and I think everyone needs to be seen to be making the right decisions. However, I think in wide organisations, in corporate organisations, I think we must allow mistakes. I think if we don’t allow mistakes, we can’t learn and also we can’t have creativity; and I as a Career Coach have seen many executives really get to the point of burn out and paralysis because of worrying about making mistakes and the scrutiny that they are under.
STEPHEN DIXON: And what do you mean about paralysis? You’re saying people are so scared to make mistakes that they are second judging everything?
JENNY: Absolutely! Covering their tracks, second-guessing themselves and as a result being paralyzed. They’re not being able to make decisions at all which move their organisations forward.
STEPHEN DIXON: We might say Dean, that football is a, is a separate thing. In many respects it is but aren’t there lessons to be learnt from that? Do you think by… at least some football clubs to say, “Actually you might not be doing your manager any favours if the Sword of Damocles is forever hanging over their head?”
DEAN: Yeah! Absolutely and I think that’s a, that’s a very, very good point that’s just been made there and I think last season was the example of that in the Premier League and there was no pressure on Leicester and Claudio Ranieri last year, none whatsoever. Even when they got to the top of the table and they were free and they played with that freedom and that expression and it showed out that they became champions but then when it turns and they may have achieved that, then to follow that this year was always going to be extremely difficult. And we often get accused in the media and Football Journalists of playing down things and being the doom mongers that we are but I think a lot of people predicted at the end of last season that it was going to be extremely difficult for Leicester’s players, managers, fans to live up to everything that happened the year before. And although it’s terrible to say, it’s not that much of a shock that Leicester are back down in the League and it’s not that much of a shock that a football club has made the decision to remove the manager considering that they are just hovering above the relegation zone. We can never take away, we can never take away what they did last year. The praise, the adulation that went with Ranieri and everything that Leicester did. It was wonderful and we’ll never be able to take that away and nor should we. They deserve every bit of praise they got last year but the owners have to look at where their football club will be next season. With all the money that comes with it, all the sponsorship, the TV deals and as I say, if they stay up in the Premier League this year, they’ve made the right decision because I personally believe that if Ranieri stayed, they would go down. They haven’t scored a goal this season, this calendar year in the Premier League, they haven’t scored a goal and so, you know, something needed to change and the owners have made that very, very brave decision to do it and we’ll wait and see if it is the right one.
STEPHEN DIXON:How this has play out in a, in a wider scope with a company, if you view Leicester City in that view Jenny? I mean in the sense that they’ve made a decision, this is now happened. From what we understand, senior players are very unhappy with Ranieri but we know from talking to people this morning, the public, the fans, the people who actually give the support to this organisation, still think of Ranieri as you know, a hero, a king, if you like in Leicester. Is that division likely to cause some problems for Leicester City?
JENNY:I think when we lose a leader and someone that you know, someone so, whose made something so wonderful happen, we go through a period of loss and I think that how the fans react could be in many different ways. Whether it’s sadness, whether it’s anger, whether it’s you know voting with their, voting with their feet in some way, there’s going to be a reaction and I think the club has to accept that. I also think though that actually if the senior players are pleased, there is something good about an organisation that is willing to performance manage as we would talk about in organisational terms, their staff to say, “you are not doing what we need you to do and we are going to hold you accountable for that”, and that might mean consequences because actually another thing I see in organisations is leaders unwilling to make those tough decisions and it demotivating and demoralizing everyone. So if it was the right decision, it could be something very good for the players.
STEPHEN DIXON: Bit of a danger though Dean, isn’t it. If, if Leicester’s fortunes don’t change, the players are going to be very, very unpopular with the fans?
DEAN: Absolutely and those players are going to be very, very much in the spotlight over the next couple of weeks and you know, if, if as we believe that the meeting was held with the owners with some of the senior players, and they voiced their concerns, then you know, it’s not that those players have got the managers sacked, I think that’s a little bit far but in the owners’ eyes, they view that the players you know, have, have gone past the point of no return with the manager. So the spotlight is on those players now whether it’s Craig Shakespeare, who’ll be in caretaker charge this weekend or whether they’ll move very quickly and appoint another manager, you know the focus will be on those players and make no mistake, if Leicester City do go down now after this and the owners’ decision was deemed to be wrong, the focus will be firmly on those players. Definitely, yeah!
STEPHEN DIXON: And the weird thing with all this, I never feel that much sympathy Jenny with Football Managers, in that, I mean it must be awful to be sacked like that, but they no doubt get a very good pay off and seem to be quickly re-employed?
JENNY: Yes, generally it doesn’t harm their, harm them as it does in some other careers. I think that the problem with all of this is short-term thinking and you know to make change happen, you know, to keep, keep a team up or to grow an organisation isn’t really something you do today that impacts tomorrow! Sometimes it takes one, two, three years for what you’ve done to really impact and I think that the problem with football is, it’s very short-term thinking. You know, what’s happening now, they are not thinking about he’s been doing behind the scenes to make things continue for the future. So I think there’s a bit of a danger there!
STEPHEN DIXON: Yeah! I can see in some respect that short-term thinking is, is the one God sends Dean, if, if Leicester stay, if they stay up then fans are going to be all forgiving aren’t they? I mean that’s just the nature of the game.
DEAN: Yeah! Absolutely and I think, I think part of that goes back to what I said about the fact that you can’t take that away from Claudio Ranieri from last season. You can’t take away from Leicester City what they did last year you know. When we, when we look back on this in years to come, we won’t remember Claudio Ranieri sacked by Leicester, you know in the February of the second year. We remember Claudio Ranieri, Premiere League winner and yeah, the club and the board and the owners have made a very, very brave call and as I said, it’ll only be seen in the next few weeks if it’s the right one.
STEPHEN DIXON: Who, whose your money on? For next in the job, cause it’s particularly tough isn’t it? Cause it’s, you know, it might be the case of trying to bring the champions back up but if you look at Leicester’s long-term history, long-term record, it may be a little bit of a poisoned chalice?
DEAN: Yeah! Absolutely, I mean I wouldn’t want to follow Claudio Ranieri that’s for sure but there will be a queue of managers waiting to take the job because the group of players are there. Let’s not forget that, other than them losing and go like Angola Kanto who went to Chelsea and now looks like he’ll win the Premier League again this year and the rest of the players all those who won Premier League. So a, a manager will be, will be licking his lips and thinking, if I get them for three or four games, you know, we’re talking about, you know a Premier League season that is a long way into it and where they are in the league just hovering above the relegation zone, if they win three or four games, they’ll be safe. So, a manager is looking at that, thinking, if I can get Jamie Vardy performing again, if I can get Riyad Mahrez, seventy percent of what he was last season, then, you know, we’ll stay up and then that manager will be the hero to the fans. He’s kept them in the Premier League and then they move on again so that is the fickle and the quick turnaround nature of football, unfortunately.
STEPHEN DIXON:Jenny, I’m guessing you don’t actually Career Coach Football Managers?
JENNY: No, unfortunately not! (Laughter)
STEPHEN DIXON: I bet you’re glad you don’t!
JENNY: Yeah, yeah! (Laughter) I think there’ll be a high turnover, high pressure and I can’t imagine what those coaching sessions would be like. Maybe many expletives, but, but I do think that actually there’s always an opportunity and you know, thinking about your career, sometimes we think we can’t fill someone else’s shoes but actually someone could go into this role and make it their own. So, exactly as Dean said, I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to go in and do something different and build on the success that has been there before.
STEPHEN DIXON: Well, braver man than me. Jenny, Dean, (laughter) good to see you both this morning. Thanks very much indeed.
DEAN: Thank you.
STEPHEN DIXON: You know folks….
JENNY: Thank you.
STEPHEN DIXON: Very welcome! I bet there are some passionate views out there. At Sky, Steven, use Insider Com if you want to email us this afternoon.