Relegation can happen and the fight to stay in the same league they won just seven years ago, is at this point part of the life at Leicester City.
The Foxes have endured a torrid season and they currently sit in 19th place in the Premier League table. Long-serving manager Brendan Rodgers was given the boot last week, and in his place comes Dean Smith – the man who’ll be very familiar to both Aston Villa and Norwich City fans.
Smith, 52, is faced with keeping a talented Leicester side in the top-flight and he has fewer than 10 games to do so. Whilst several Foxes fans groaned at his appointment, I couldn’t help but feel an immense sense of pride that a British manager has been given a fair shot.
To say that Dean Smith knows how to run football clubs would be an understatement. This is, after all, the same man who guided Aston Villa back to the Premier League and helped introduce players like Jack Grealish and Emiliano Martinez to the wider footballing public.
Smith may not be the most high-profile or glamorous manager in the world, but the Englishman is a sensible appointment and I applaud the Leicester board for giving him a chance. It may have been tempted to try and find the next Roberto De Zerbi and fail spectacularly, but the higher-ups at the King Power Stadium have allowed cooler heads to prevail and they’ve gone with a coach we all know and respect.
Smith’s appointment doesn’t guarantee survival by any means, but most would agree that Rodgers had reached his sell-by date and the players simply weren’t listening to them. As good as Rodgers is, it was high time he gave way for a new boss to take over – one who’s perhaps more used to scrapping it out in the bottom-half of the table.
Survival is Leicester’s only priority this season – something that sounds remarkable given their 5th-placed finish two seasons ago and their 2021 FA Cup win over Chelsea. If anything, Leicester’s fall to the bottom of the table should serve as a cautionary tale for what happens when the owners allow a club to stagnate and sell their best players. Fortifications are needed in the transfer market, but the acquisition of Dean Smith may go down as one of Leicester City’s best ever pieces of business.
I sincerely hope that Smith has success in the Midlands and that he proves to everyone that he’s the manager that I think he’s capable of being.