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Killer clause: How canny piece of wishful thinking netted Claudio Ranieri £6.7 million bonus

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When drafting contracts: Always expect the unexpected

pile sterling notes

It is easy to picture the scene at the King Power stadium. On one side of the negotiating table, Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his advisors. On the other, genial Claudio Ranieri and his agent Steve Kutner (other clients include Frank Lampard; very briefly married to Sky’s Kay Burley).

The mood is happy. Prickly Nigel Pearson has been sacked in the fall-out from his son’s social media exploits and the first interview has gone well.

The Chairman, who has an honorary law degree from Leicester University, has taken an instant liking to Claudio — everyone does — and reckons that the man who has never won a title had as good a chance as anyone else of keeping Leicester in the Premiership. And even if he doesn’t, at least it will be a pleasure, and relief after the previous incumbent, to have him around the place.

Down to the nitty-gritty…

Chairman: And your success bonus will be £100,000 for every place above 18th that we finish.

Claudio: Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong.

Chairman: That’s a yes?

Claudio: Of course, it is a big yes. And my win bonus?

Chairman: Sorry.

Claudio: My win bonus?

Chairman: (slowly) This. Is. Your. Win. Bonus. £100,000 a place for every place above 18th.

Claudio: Very generous, too. And also my bonus for winning the league bonus.

*Chairman looks perplexed. Fishes mobile out of jacket pocket*

Chairman: (whispers to Claudio) Sorry. It’s a must take.

Chairman: (whispers to negotiating team) Follow me.

(We will never know what took place in those fraught moments when the Chairman’s team discussed the matter. Some must have thought the Italian mad: ‘he thinks we’re going to win the fucking thing’; ‘He’s completely tonto’. Others must have been more forgiving: ‘Better a mad man than a grumpy one’; ‘What’s the down side?’ All we do know is that their better natures prevailed and they returned to the negotiating table in positive frame of mind)

Chairman: Claudio we are delighted to offer you a bonus for winning the league bonus of (think of a number double it, double it again, double if for a third time and add a million for good measure) £5 million.

Claudio: Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong.

Chairman: It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.

(Hands are shaken. Claudio exits, beaming.)