The art of leaving before you fail

When Claudio Ranieri was sacked it seemed the whole footballing community was outraged, universally agreeing that it was the worst decision made, in the history of bad decisions.

Aside from the fact that this is modern football and people are still surprised by sackings or what appears to be disloyalty, is beyond me. The only loyal people in football are the fans and they are disregarded by most clubs (not all – there are still some good clubs out the there!).

Days after the sacking people were still tweeting about what a nice man he was because he stopped to have his photo taken with some kids. He’s a multi-millionaire with nothing better to do with his time now. Plus, call me a cynic but while being followed by the paparazzi, if a child asks for a picture, you would have to be stupid to say no.

But let’s look at the facts, the players that he took to the title no longer wanted to play for him and he was flirting with relegation. Let’s face it, if they hit the relegation zone, the fans would have turned sooner or later. Or worse still years of mediocrity and the slow turn of the tide against Ranieri culminating in apathy and an acrimonious divorce.

The owners therefore, did him a favour and secured his untarnished legacy for life. The greatest football story ever and a living legacy.
This is for man who had only been in the job for a year or so and had no other links with the club previously. As a child, had probably never even heard of Leicester.

Then there is Nico Rosberg, a very talented driver in the best car who had the backing of his team. His problem, in my humble opinion, was that he wasn’t mentally tough enough to compete with the beast that is Lewis Hamilton. On numerous occasions, he lost his head and his track position to Lewis, not because he wasn’t as good a driver but because Lewis had him in his pocket.

Then last season due to mechanical failure, luck and a bit more self-belief, Nico finally won his first long overdue title. Knowing he had just peaked, he quit. He quit as world champion. He quit at the pinnacle.

There will never be another race he is judged on. It’s a legacy of perfection underpinned on the financial security of never having to work another day in his life.

He reached his goal and had his ‘£ target!’. We all have £ target but greed pushes us on, we spend what we have and change our expectations so too much is never enough.

If you told the 25-year-old me what I would be earning today, I’d have thought that I had made it and would be set for life however, the me of today just feels like the same kid but now I have a mortgage and more bills to pay etc. etc…

But if you told the 18-year-old me I would be earning what I am right now I would have laughed as I expected to be a millionaire – based on no reality or idea of how I would get there.

So, what’s my point – there is always the right time to quit or in real world terms, to move on and seek new opportunities. We can’t afford to retire but sometimes you can’t afford to sit in the same job for years as you can stagnate. A new challenge is what lights the fire and gets the old motor running again.
If you need a final piece of sporting evidence just look at Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, do you think that in the invincibles / double winning eras, there would be protests to try and get rid of him?

His team moved on and he stagnated without a succession plan to replace them. Now he’s fighting to keep his job and is only doing so based on past glories. They will give him a certain amount of good grace and time but that won’t last much longer. There will soon be the email going out to say that ‘he is leaving to seek new opportunities’ or ‘to spend more time with his family’. You know the drill.

You are only as good as your last success. Sometimes the stars align and present you with a golden ticket, cash it in and move on.

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