LONDON (AFP) – Leicester City sacked Craig Shakespeare on Tuesday (Oct 17), just four months after handing him a permanent contract to manage the former Premier League champions.
Shakespeare, 53, was promoted from his role as assistant coach on an interim basis following the shock dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in February and in June he was handed a three-year contract.
But the 2015-16 champions have struggled this season and are third from bottom of the table with a single league win.
Monday night’s 1-1 home draw with West Brom saw Leicester’s winless Premier League run reach six matches – the same as when Ranieri was sacked.
Leicester vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said on Tuesday: “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.
“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.
“However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since 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.
“Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power Stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the Club.”
Shakespeare’s appointment earlier this year sparked a striking upturn in form that saw Leicester secure their Premier League status and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Reacting to Tuesday’s development, former Leicester and England player Gary Lineker tweeted: “Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.”
Shakespeare had no previous managerial experience when he stepped into the hotseat following Ranieri’s dismissal, which came with Leicester a point above the relegation zone.
But he inspired the team to five straight league wins and they finished the season in a respectable 12th place.
Shakespeare was given around £60 million (S$100 million) to spend on players in the summer transfer window and splashed out on striker Kelechi Iheanacho, Harry Maguire and Vicente Iborra, but Leicester’s only Premier League win came against newly promoted Brighton in August.
Their only other points have been picked up in draws against Huddersfield, Bournemouth and West Brom while Shakespeare oversaw wins against Sheffield United and Liverpool in the League Cup.
He is the second managerial casualty of the Premier League season following the dismissal of Frank de Boer from the Crystal Palace job.