If there is one thing that changes more rapidly in football than managerial positions, it’s opinions.
With each newly emerging story, event or rumour, whether these unfold before our eyes on the field or boil and chunder and silently grow in the bowels of stadiums and boardrooms where no phone or microphone or television camera can invade, the opinions of those who follow football naturally swerve and shift along the tracks these stories create.
A team wins a game of football, they are doing well. Said team then loses the following weekend and maybe this team wasn’t as good as we thought. This team then wins their next game and maybe we were all fooled the first time around as to this team’s alleged poorness. Then they lose, and no, we were right the first time.
This by no means is to look down on or in any sense be critical of the elasticity of punditry in general, whether it’s being delivered in a brightly-lit television studio in front of three or four roving cameras whose feed is being broadcasted to millions, or it’s beneath the gloomy shadows in the corner of a pub.
But when you think of Leicester, and think how yes, a week is a long time, but three years is an eternity, the idea of changing opinions becomes a more inviting and flavourful meal for your mind.
Has everyone forgotten that Leicester, Leicester, won the Premier League in 2016? It will never be forgotten sure, but what certainly has dissipated in the time since they achieved the impossible is the sheer magic and madness of the victory.
It was said over and over at the time. Greatest title win in English football history. Greatest achievement in British sporting history. Greatest thing ever, and never will it be erased from memory.
And what do people say now? Freak result. Anomaly. The top six under-performed.
But what is more astonishing, and what you could say is the most undeniable, is that in retrospect, that title win has blinded and hindered the club in regards to where they want to be now.
You would be an utter fool to suggest any Leicester fan would take clarity of direction over winning the 15/16 title. But having said that, you wouldn’t be at all foolish to venture a large portion of the supporters would admit winning the league has meant the club and its owners do not know what to do now and what exactly their primary aim is.
Brendan Rodgers on Wednesday became the Foxes’s third permanent manager since Claudio Ranieri’s controversial departure in early 2017. It is a positive appointment, with the former Celtic and Liverpool boss arguably being the most qualified person Leicester have hired in many years. Ranieri guided them to the title yes, but when he arrived, there were serious doubts. Rodgers is a multiple trophy winner in Scotland, has experience managing a top-six side and has a clear vision for how he likes his teams to play.
Claude Puel just never did cut it. It’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for a man whose quiet and unassuming demeanor was criticised just as often as his team’s performances. But Whispering Claude never managed to fully win over the fans and for a long time, there was always the sense he wasn’t ever too far from being disposed of.
Rodgers was in attendance inside the King Power Stadium on Tuesday evening to watch his new side beat Brighton 2-1. Beforehand, he spoke publicly of his fondness for this young, vibrant team whose ability he believes he can harvest to their fullest. His words buzzed with genuine avidity, and his excitement to be back in the Premier League was evident.
Rodgers comes across as a man of purpose, a man who knows what he wants and will quite happily reveal his dark side if his plans and methods are not dogmatically followed.
If there’s one thing Leicester need, it’s purpose. Whether Rodgers becomes a success at Leicester remains to be seen, like all things that have yet to come to pass, but maybe in another three years’ time, the Foxes title win will once again radiate a warm light and guide this team along rather than make them stop and think about that one magical moment when the Premier League trophy was raised in triumph at the King Power one sunny afternoon.