The secret world of Paolo di Canio

by Pavan Mano

Sunday saw a very animated Paolo di Canio on the touchline as Sunderland romped to a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United. Today, Pavan Mano, tongue-firmly-in-cheek, details what must have been going through di Canio’s mind at various moments during the game.

Pre-match pep-talk: Ok guys, here’s the plan. Last week was not so good, we gave away goals and ended up losing to Chelsea. More importantly, I didn’t get a chance to perform the celebration that I specially rehearsed. But it’s okay, today we should be good in defence. I’ve finally managed to prevent that oaf Titus Bramble from getting on the team bus with us. Distracted him with a pie. So we’re safe today, I don’t think we will concede.

Now, in attack, Stephane Sessegnon, you are my best hope for that celebra–  I mean goal. So here’s what you do. Free-roam. Don’t look so stunned. What’s free-roam? It’s a new term I created. Just means run around and make sure you shoot any time you get a chance. Easy enough, right? Oh and make sure you take on that Steven Taylor too, ok? Dribble at him fast. He looks like he’s been spending too much time with our Titus.

0 mins: I’m so nervous. Wonder when I will get the chance to celebrate and kiss the club crest. Wait, does my shirt have the Sunderland crest? Damn, no. Ah well, was too soon to be kissing badges and crests anyway.

I shall be content with just pumping my fists every time we score. Then again, these guys haven’t been scoring too frequently up till now either. I better treasure every chance I get. Might be my last celebration for a while.

27th min: Ah, here’s my chan– I mean, our chance to score! Come on, Stephane, take a shot. Oh, fantastic goal! Oh, finally, I can celebrate!

28th min: Damn. Knees are really aching from all that intense jumping. Really pounded them on the ground quite hard. I thought grass was supposed to be soft. Silly Newcastle pitch crew.

Hey, why’re my coaches looking at me like that? Haven’t they seen managers celebrate before? In fact, why aren’t they celebrating? Emotionally dead fellas.

74th min: Oh my goodness, Adam Johnson’s actually dribbling. Now he’s beating players. Don’t tell me he’s going to shoot – GOAL! Oh, mio dio, is this real? I get to celebrate again!

75th min: Ouch. Knees hurting big-time. I haven’t done this knee slide thing for a while now. Technique was a little poor – kinda hurled myself into the floor. And awww man, look at my pants, they’re ruined! Never thought sliding in mud would damage them like that! Really gonna get it from the wife tonight. And I was just starting to get comfy in this pair too. Darn. Wonder how Mourinho did it so gracefully in 2004. Must have practised. Right, that does it, I’m coming in to training early tomorrow.

Gee, my shoulders are actually starting to feel a little loose. Has my arm popped out? Let me check. Hmm, no. Not yet. Could it be all that arm pumping? But I only did it 27 times… never mind. I doubt we’ll get a third goal. I should be able to get home without further injuries and then recover from this tough, tough derby game. People weren’t kidding when they said the Tyne-Wear derby was gonna be physically draining.

82nd min: Wait, who’s that? Is that David Vaughan? What’s he doing there? No, why’s he shooting? He’s going to kill someone in the cro– oh wow, what a goal! Er, hmm, well, what do I do? I never planned a third goal, let alone a third celebration. Ok, I need to buy some time. I’ll just bury myself amongst my players first, and then think of something.

83rd min: Ouch, I’m aching all over. Had no idea what to do so I ended up looking at our fans and manically pumping my arms again. And then I tried to impersonate Tarzan with some ferocious chest-whacking. Sheesh, Tarzan must have had a chest made of steel. Mine’s smarting now. Gonna be real sore tomorrow.

And what a spoil sport that fourth official was, quickly ushering me back to my seat in the dug-out. Wet blanket.

96th min: Finally, it’s over! I’m so tired and I’m suffering all over from all that celebrating. No wonder they say being a Premier League manager is tough. But it’s ok, I must still go on the pitch and hug each of my players. They played incredibly well today. Fighting for each other and every ball. I want to congratulate each and every one of them and tell them how much I appreciate their effort today. Top class lads!

And how could I even begin to thank the fans. They’ve really sung their hearts out today and supported the team so much. Let me go over and applaud them. I want to let them know that the players and I appreciate them making the trip here and getting behind us all the way. This victory is above all, for them.

Right, finally we’re done. Whew, can’t wait to get on that team bus and back home. What a win, what a day.

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