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Man of steel, club without balls

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Post  Guest on 2013-09-26, 10:22 am

Paolo di Canio was hired as a man of steel... if only the club had shown some mettle.



So I suppose now we know how fascism begins: they start by taking away the ketchup. I am talking, of course, about Paolo di Canio, sacked this week as head coach of Sunderland for a long list of offences, most of which can be filed under the sub-heading ‘Being Paolo di Canio’.

Under this sub-heading come specific misdemeanours, ranging from ‘not being sufficiently competent or experienced to manage a struggling Premier League side’ to ‘upsetting people by being an intolerant control freak’ and, fatally, ‘being generally unsympathetic to the emotional concerns of mediocre players earning salaries way beyond the merit of their talent’.

Having won only three of 13 games in charge of Sunderland and showing very little sign of improving the ratio, I suppose there was a case for replacing the Italian, as Sunderland’s owner Ellis Short did this week.

The problem is that Short appears to have whacked Di Canio not after a considered period of reflection or even perseverance but after a group of players mutinied, boo-hooing to the club’s chief executive about “brutal” and “vitriolic” criticism. I rather hope the club understand why there are not an awfully large number of excellent candidates lining up to take the job.

As you may recall, when Di Canio was appointed back in April there was the most godawful racket: a hysterical debate about whether “a fascist” should be in charge of an English football club, as though Di Canio was not just quite a severe man with some (private and/or disavowed) right-wing beliefs but a living expression of neo-fascist evil — Mussolini reincarnate, Uncle Jack from Breaking Bad, the very personification of the reason grandpa fought Hitler.

Of course, the point is Di Canio was hired specifically to stamp a bit of fascistic discipline on Sunderland. Some of the greatest managers in the history of football have been defined by their unpleasantly authoritarian approach to management: the ‘hairdryer’, let us say, is not the tool of the progressive liberal left.

Sunderland had decided that since the softly-softly approach of Martin O’Neill was about to catchee relegationy, it was time for something different. This was a shift in management styles, as a character from The Thick Of It once memorably said, “from touchy-feely to smashy-testes”.

And what the club desired, they got. Military discipline, atomic rollickings in public for underperforming players, strict and petty rules, a rigid hierarchy of precedence around the training ground.

It all seems to be summed up by Di Canio’s canteen rules: no coffee, no mobile phones, no Coca-Cola. Apparently, most galling to a group of well-paid athletes, the ketchup (typical sugar content 23 per cent, typical sodium content seven per cent) and mayonnaise (typical fat content 71 per cent) were taken away. In other words, this was six months in boot camp but not like when they go to Barbados on the X Factor.

It turns out that players today do not like being told what to do and told off in public when they don’t do it. At Sunderland they began very swiftly to bleat about the “sanctity of the dressing room” being violated by the televised tellings-off; then ran to the boss’s boss to demand that the nasty man was taken away.

What is wholly bemusing is that the players were given an audience. Chief executive Margaret Byrne and Short appear to have had an attack of the funk and sacked Di Canio for doing exactly what they had employed him to do in the first place. We can leap around and whistle ‘told you so’ as much as we like but it is no good for football when the monkey bites the organ grinder.

No one with an ounce of sense or pride can surely wish to touch the Sunderland job. The club have been through five managers in five years, with no apparent consistency in purpose or vision, and it is stocked with a group of hastily assembled and not enormously good players who have just been shown that they can effect regime change by yelping about their self-esteem.

On the other hand, I guess football is a business swelled by people with considerably less than an ounce of sense and an equal number who find that pride is easily swallowed in return for a nice, fat contract. I’m sure by the time you read this Sunderland will have appointed a new boss, who will be gone within 12 months.

Di Canio, meanwhile, stands alone and bewildered: the professional a******e sacked for being too a******e-ish. I mean, what’s a fella to do?

http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/paolo-di-canio-was-hired-as-a-man-of-steel-if-only-the-club-had-shown-some-mettle-8840903.html
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Post  cyprussyd on 2013-09-26, 10:36 am

Dont agree with all of that but I do agree with a lot of it.

Forget about Di Canio the control freak and think about why anyone was surprised, why employ him hen be surprised what he is like.

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Post  Guest on 2013-09-26, 12:19 pm

pdc was welcomed by the vast majority with open arms even though his cv suggested problems would come our way.i expect our next member to be praised to the hilt even if his cv suggests something different.what about not getting carried away and look at the appointment with realism.lets have no pisitivity bordering on the rediculous.if its poyet then he is untried in the prem which means there would be no reason to be ultra positive.lets just sit back and see what happens.dont forget o'neil was going to take us to hights we have never reached in the premiership and look what happened.if poyet gets us off to a bad start we can agree that its early days and the same if we get off to a good start.be realistic and dont go over the top with praaise or stick
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Post  Guest on 2013-09-26, 12:41 pm

"The club have been through five managers in five years, with no apparent consistency in purpose".

I would have thought the purpose was very apparent - to avoid relegation.  The fact is not one of those managers was able to keep us out of the bottom four or five.  They were allowed to spend millions, and delivered nothing.

It's no good blaming di Canio's sacking on complaining players - according to one Italian reporter, the board had already arranged a meeting to discuss di Canio's position the night before the big bust up happened.  The players' complaints might have helped the decision along a bit - perhaps a big bit - but the board met essentially because of lousy results against Fulham, Crystal Palace and WBA.  The bottom line is we were and still are in serious danger of being cut loose at the bottom.

And now we're told it's all the fault of Byrne and Short?  Is it hell.
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Post  Guest on 2013-09-26, 12:49 pm

Good post Comm
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Post  Guest on 2013-09-26, 6:30 pm

they appointed him and with a little research they could have expected a problem or two.he's been a lose cannon right through his career in football on and off the pitch.he's said from day one at the sol that it was his way or the highway.the buck stops at the top .
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Post  Guest on 2013-09-26, 9:16 pm

safc4eva wrote:they appointed him and with a little research they could have expected a problem or two.he's been a lose cannon right through his career in football on and off the pitch.he's said from day one at the sol that it was his way or the highway.the buck stops at the top .
That depends which top we're talking about.  Since the Drumaville days of Quinn and Keane, no director has interfered with team affairs.  If a manager gets the job, he's always been able to spend a reasonable amount, and has always run team affairs the way he wanted.  SAFC has certainly not been a bad employer.

Team performance is what is letting down a very progressive club right now - and the buck for that stops with the manager.  Di Canio was admittedly an experiment, but it was one driven by the fact that established managers like Bruce and O'Neill had flopped.  O.k. the experiment didn't work out, but Short & co. still have my support because they at least had the balls to try.  The managers who were given free rein and couldn't deliver do not have my sympathy.
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Post  Guest on 2013-09-27, 9:03 am

well i hope the next manager isnt appointed as a experiment.keane was a gamble as he had no management experience.bruceys record as a manager was average yet he was the chosen to taake us to the next level.o'neil had the cv but turned out to be a disaster which no one predicted so i dont think there should be any criticism for that.pdc came with a cv which included a racist incident and other serious problems with players at swindon.if poyet is to be our new manager it would only take a few calls to players and managers to find out what he is really like.ellis and byren need to get a grip and start acting like they know what they are doing because asking the players who they want to be as there next manager is embarassing.
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