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27th Feb 2017

Leicester’s vice-chairman responds to claims that players influenced Ranieri sacking in programme notes

Simon Lloyd

Claudio Ranieri is no longer Leicester City manager. You might have heard.

Having had a few days to get our heads around it, Leicester begin life after Claudio on Monday evening, with the visit of Liverpool.

Ahead of the game, the club’s vice-chairman has attempted to explain how the club’s owners arrived at the decision to give the Italian the boot.

Writing in the match programme, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has stressed that while the decision was a difficult one, they felt it was necessary in order for the club to move forward and retain their Premier League status. Adding that the club’s owners respect that some fans may be unhappy with the decision, he also adds that the responsibility rests with them.

Interestingly, he also addresses the recent speculation that Leicester’s playing staff played a key role in Ranieri’s dismissal. Describing it as ‘unfair’, he stresses that the players had supported their former manager ‘fiercely’.

The full statement follows below:

Good evening everyone,

This week we made the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years with Leicester City. I don’t expect everyone to understand it and I know that some people are angry about it, but we have to think about the Club’s long-term interests and the best way to bring the Club we love forward. Everything we have ever done for the Club has been to help make it stronger and with the long-term future in mind. Carrying that responsibility means making decisions that are not always popular and we respect the views of the fans, but responsibility ultimately rests with us.

We will forever be grateful to Claudio for what he helped us to achieve and the warmth, charm and good humour he brought to his office that helped move the Club forward. The achievements of last season were extraordinary and we never expected them to be replicated, but we are now faced with a fight to retain out Premier League status and, with 13 games remaining, we felt a change of leadership was necessary. It’s a painful decision, but our love for the Club means we must put its best interests before personal feeling.

This was our decision, our decision alone and it is unfair that our players, who supported Claudio fiercely, are being accused of disloyalty.

We have more than a quarter of the season to turn this situation around, but we can only do it together. The most important thing for us all now is to make sure that Leicester City remain a Premier League Football Club and we must unite under that cause to protect the legacy of what we and Claudio have achieved. In Craig Shakespeare, Mike Stowell and our First Team coaching staff, we have a teamof trusted, skilled professionals supporting our players, who have the quality and strength of mind to overcome the challenges ahead.

They will need all of your support. With our fans behind us we control our own destiny.