Leicester’s decline since winning the English Premier League intensified on Tuesday when Craig Shakespeare was fired as its manager, with the Thai-owned club in the relegation zone after another rocky start to a season.
Shakespeare was coach on a full-time basis for just four months, having been hired initially as interim manager after Claudio Ranieri was dismissed in February when Leicester was threatened by relegation the season after improbably winning the title.
Shakespeare’s part-time appointment revived Leicester and kept the team in the top flight with some ease. But Leicester has won only one of its eight league matches this season, despite an outlay of around 60 million pounds ($80 million) on players in the summer transfer window.
“Our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since (the end of last season),” Leicester vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said, “and the board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the club moving forward — consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, board and owners.”
Shakespeare’s last game in charge was on Monday, a 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion, a result which kept the team in the bottom three.
The only win so far came against Brighton. In a tough schedule to start the season, Leicester has already lost to Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool and the fixtures look slightly easier on paper over the next two months for whoever replaces Shakespeare.
Assistant manager Michael Appleton has been placed in temporary charge. Leicester is away to Swansea next in the Premier League on Saturday.
“Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City — during his spells as an assistant manager and since taking over as manager in challenging circumstances in February,” Srivaddhanaprabha said. “His dedication to the club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable.”