I’m intrigued by football leadership – not on the pitch, but off it and behind it. The likes of Sir Alex, the Special One, and even those who don’t quite achieve as expected, fascinate me.
And so what of Mr Ranieri?
There has been much speculation on the success of a “nearly man” with 30 years’ experience of never previously winning anything notable in English football, and a reputation for fiddling too much with his team choices.
In the midst of all that’s been written about his management style, and the lessons other businesses might learn from his story, there is a little snippet that I love: it is that apparently, Mr R has a relaxed, management style. Tales of him rewarding with team pizzas, and using an invisible, dilly ding, dilly dong bell in training sessions to help players maintain their focus are joyous. But more than that, he listened to them and trusted them.
And the result? An incredible sense of team spirit which helped to bind the team together.
In a profession where managers come and go on the breeze, it will be interesting to see whether Mr Ranieri can maintain his success – and indeed, whether his players might do it without him if he decides to leave. And that will no doubt lead me down the path of another debate on the influence of the leader, the manager, in a team’s performance.
But for now, can we just take a moment to enjoy and acknowledge the power of teamwork? People pulling together, knowing why they’re there, and all looking in the same direction?
Leicester City FC might just be that triumph of togetherness. Yes, a couple of players, at the end of a glittering season, stand out a little more than the rest, but collectively they’ve united to show team talents and skills, and maybe Mr Ranieri has brought out the best in them all.
Sometimes, going it alone isn’t the obvious option.