Time for Foxes to start building a new empire as relegation confirmed
The accusations have started at relegated Leicester City as the club were relegated from the Premier League at the weekend – just seven short seasons after their miraculous title win.
Although the Foxes beat West Ham at the King Power on Sunday, it wasn’t enough as Everton overcame Bournemouth to save themselves – and commit Leicester to the Championship.
Talk of Leicester City being “too good to go down” will now be thrown in the bin; the club won only nine games all season – four of those coming consecutively last Autumn. Since the break for the World Cup, results have been dire.
Many will point the finger at Brendan Rodgers, sacked – probably too late – at the beginning of April. Rodgers may have guided the Foxes to two fifth-placed finishes and an FA Cup win, but the last 18 months has seen the club on a downward spiral – with Rodgers seemingly unable to do anything about it.
Others will feel some animosity towards chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha, who seemingly put squad investment on hold last summer in order to fund the planned lavish redevelopment of the King Power. This would probably be a little harsh after he wrote off £194m of debt owed to its parent company King Power International.
In a statement on the Foxes’ website in the aftermath of Sunday’s game, Srivaddhanaprabha vowed that the club would make a swift return to the Premier League.
He said: “This past season has been the most difficult for all of us to endure, ultimately resulting in relegation from the Premier League. We gave everything to turn it around yesterday and the atmosphere in the stadium after we’d gone in front and looked on course for survival was absolutely incredible. But relegation is a consequence of 38 games and over that period, we haven’t been good enough. Over the coming days and weeks, we need to reflect on the processes and decisions that have brought us to this point. What we learn from this experience must convert into action that makes us stronger and prevents this happening to us again in the future.
“[Today] we share the loss and the pain together. But we will be back.
“This responsibility that I continue to live is one of the greatest responsibilities in my life and I will continue to put everything into it – my passion, that of my family and the entire King Power community.”
Leicester City’s tenure in the Championship should be brief, all things being equal. Those glorious title-winning days of the mid 2010s will almost certainly never return, but the Foxes seem financially insulated from life without the Premier League.
After the defeat, Iheanacho said: “I just say thanks to everyone at the Football Club, the fans and everyone that supported us right from the start to now. If life kicks you, you need to stand up and keep going. We’ll try to keep going, stay strong, and hopefully we’ll get back up.”
Despite this, there will be wholesale changes throughout the playing squad. High profile player such as James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Iheanacho are likely to have played their last games for the club. It is yet unclear whether manager Dean Smith, who was given just eight games to save the club from relegation, will still be in charge next season.
But then maybe Leicester fans just want a clean slate – to put those heady days of the 2015-16 season in a special box and start looking forward again. After all, a club can be dogged by past glories – time for the next generation of Foxes heroes to start sniffing out their own legacy, perhaps?