Sunderland light the blue touchpaper and stand back

by Iain Swan

Di Canio Sunderland

The real scandal involving the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as Sunderland manager is not whether or not he is a fascist.

Nor was it the inquisition Signor Di Canio faced at the press conference this week by the liberal media  led by the unhinged Dan Roan. One suspects that Mr. Roan is too lazy or uneducated to know that fascism, especially the Italian variant,  originated from left wing politics. Benito Mussonlini, Signor Di Canio’s alleged hero, was a member of the Italian socialists and when in power, his policies appealed to those on both sides of the political divide. His economic policy of government control of business, his  Keynesianism and the idea of” the big machine” chimes rather more  with the collectivist big government, statist outlook  of Mr. Roan’s employers, the B.B.C. than any dastardly right wing nutters that are prone to get the left leaning British media’s sustainable, fair trade  knickers in a twist.

It wasn’t even that Di Canio was forced to return  and abase himself in front of his media accusers and assure them of his bien pensant politically correct credentials that is outrageous; such is the price of being a public figure in  dreary, hysterical, totalitarian Britain these days.

The real scandal is that a famous old club reportedly faces financial ruin if it does not garner enough points to avoid relegation in the remaining seven games of the season  following years of mismanagement by it’s American billionaire owner, Ellis Short.

For most clubs in the Premiership, relegation should be considered an occupational hazard and steps should be taken to minimise the consequences of falling through the trap door leading from the promised land of the Premiership  to the less lucrative Coca Cola Championship. Mr. Short has  now decided the best way of avoiding this is to remove experienced manager  Martin O’Neill and replace him with  a relative novice  in the highly combustible Di Canio.

Does Short really believe it is Martin O’Neill who is to blame for  Sunderland’s current predicament or should he not look more closely at the the over paid and under performing players, few of whom will be willing to take the pay cuts and display the attitude required to stabilise  the club, should they be relegated,and return them to the Premiership?

Does Di Canio have the  composure  required to lead a demoralised group of players through this vital part of the season , can Short be certain that  the Italian’s infamous short fuse  will not blow up in his face? Is Short , who made his money in private equity, even qualified to be making decisions that could well decide the immediate future of a venerable institution?

Di Canio is not without success  in his short  managerial career. He turned around  previous club Swindon in occasionally manic circumstances , winning promotion to League One, before leaving amid typical chaos and acrimony.  But can he keep his cool in the white hot intensity of a relegation battle, starting on Sunday against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge? He would not be the first person many Premiership chairman would think of  when a safe pair of hands was required to steer their club out of the mire.

It could be that Di Canio emulates his compatriot Roberto Di Matteo; who revived Chelsea’s season around this  time last year, but another late season appointment springs to mind;  With eight games remaining of the 2008/9 season, Newcastle, Sunderland’s hated local rivals , turned to club legend Alan Shearer to save them from the plight that now faces the Wearsiders. With no managerial experience, Shearer was only able to muster one win as Magpies boss and his side were relegated.

The next seven weeks will prove whether Ellis Short’s gamble in replacing a tried and trusted manager with a combustible maverick  is a stroke of genius or yet another misguided and reckless action by a billionaire egotist who scandalously  treats his football club like a plaything.

We are told that Mr. Short also owns Skibo Castle in Scotland. If Sunderland fall, he might wish to beat a hasty retreat to the Highlands and raise the drawbridge !

8 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    Do you have any evidence to support the statement that Sunderland will be in financial ruin if relegated? Or the claim Short has put the club through years of mismanagement? Sunderland were getting relegated and Martin O’Neill hadn’t produced a good run of form from the team in 14 months.

    1. Iain Swan Iain Swan says:

      If you read the article, Sir, you will see that I have stated that Sunderland reportedly face financial ruin if they are relegated. The gist of my argument is that the real scandal is that the clubs billionaire owner has gamble on the appointment of the relatively inexperienced and volatile Di Canio to save his club from relegation at the expense of an experienced manager in O’Neill , who has saved Sunderland from relegation previously. Short has gone through four managers in as many years during his involvement with the club: Keane, Sbragia, Bruce and now O’Neill and has taken a major gamble with the fifth, that is the clear statement I make in my article. Di Canio as today’s result shows, may save them from relegation, but is he likely to bring long term stability to the club ? I doubt it.

  2. Chris A says:

    Awful article, full of your opinion and not backed up by any facts.

    1. Iain Swan Iain Swan says:

      Opinion articles tend to be full of opinion. Which facts do you require ?

  3. Neil says:

    Sorry, you cannot be a journalist, writing such crap

  4. Dave says:

    Your comment on the BBC is bizarre.

    Why are you assuming that Roan didn’t know that fascism is a far-left ideology? And why would it matter?

    The BBC’s impartiality is enshrined by the highest powers in the land, your inference that they have a political bias is completely false.

    As for the thrust of your argument, it’s based on an infantile reading of the club’s accounts. Parachute payments would all but wipe out the declared operating loss, but the posted accounts only tell a fraction of the story.

    I assume you don’t have the first clue of how a football club declare’s the implication of transfers, and how amortisation impacts upon it? Also, what data are you using with regards to the club’s fiscal relegation strategy?

    Di Canio is a risk, but the logic leap you’ve embarked on that has survival on one hand and financial meltdown on the other is based on very little at all.

    1. Iain Swan Iain Swan says:

      The B.B.C. could not be impartial if it’s life depended on it. It is a Marxist organisation which repeatedly tries to label fascism as “right wing ” to confuse people as to the origins of the movement.

  5. SG says:

    Underperforming players indeed. Not sure how that’s the owner’s fault though. And if they’re underperforming and it’s evidently clear that the manager can’t rectify the situation – you try and bring in one you think can. The time for debating the new boss’s long term credentials is not now.

    Interested to know how financial ruin is on the cards. Quinn assured the fans a long time ago that measures were put in place to avoid such an outcome. Every player who signs has a significant reduction clause in their salary contracts in the event of relegation.

    Of course, had you researched or had any basic knowledge of your written topic then you would have known this. And if you watched Sunderland on a regular basis then your uneducated opinion on the management situation and the season’s performance critique wouldn’t have been exposed.

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