Saturday, 6 April 2013

Why Nigel Pearson Should Not Be Sacked

This afternoon Leicester City play Brighton and Hove Albion.  Leicester have dropped from 2nd place to 7th place in the space of 11 matches, during which they have won only 6 points from a possible 33, and their match today puts them against the 6th place team, just two points ahead of them.  If they lose and go five points behind the ply-offs, you can call it game over. Massive.

During this bad run of form, one of the worst in recent memory for the Foxes, fans have called for the manager's head, in a recent online poll showing over half of fans thinking he should not be in the job.  However, I firmly believe the owners should stick with their man even if he doesn't bring them the promotion they desire this season.


Building a Team
Pearson replaced Sven Goran Ericsson who had assembled a team unrecognisable from the one the season before.  He had uprooted the whole squad and replaced it with ageing, former stars and high wage earning players from around the league.  Sven's short tenure shows the success of this strategy but Pearson, as he did the first time he joined Leicester, has looked at where the squad needs to improve and brought in young and hungry players to fill it with the help of his impressive scouting network.  The team now looks like one that will develop and improve the longer they stay together.  That they are a good team in the present is a bonus.

Behind the Scenes
One of the biggest jobs Pearson had when he rejoined Leicester was to address the high wages that Sven had introduced, in the light of the forthcoming financial rules.  Since then several very high wage earners have left the club (Abe, Mills, Beckford, Danns, St. Ledger) and their replacements, younger and developing players, will cost a significant amount less to employ.  This kind of work is not seen by fans but is incredibly important but will not reap immediate benefits on the pitch.

Since Leicester last left the Premier League, only one manager has spent more than a full season at the club: Nigel Pearson.  This produced one of the most successful times in the club's recent history, albeit mostly in League One, but it says something important about stability and consistency producing success.  Bringing in yet another manager will lose the work done over the last season and a half.

Even if Leicester don't manage to achieve promotion this season, we need to keep this set-up together.  Considering the necessary upheaval needed this season to prepare for the upcoming financial rules and the potential of Leicester's young squad, the third youngest in the football league, starting all over again would be a backwards step.

If he does end up leaving the club, I hope I'm proved wrong!