So Paolo Di Canio has been appointed the new Sunderland boss.
The Italian has a sign a two-and-a-half year contract at the Stadium of Light.
I asked who would replace Martin O’Neill in yesterday’s editorial. Now we all have the answer and I’m really not sure what to make of it.
They say that all geniuses have a fault in their characters and Di Canio fell into that category as a player.
One minute he was producing a fantastic piece of skill and the next he was pushing over linesmen and berating officials.
You just never knew what you were going to get with the Italian. He was hailed a hero at West Ham because of his passion and his character.
As I wrote yesterday Paolo Di Canio has very little managerial experience. His only managerial job so far has come in League Two and League One with Swindon. Granted his record in the lower leagues as a manager was impressive, but the Premier League is a whole different ball game.
It seems that Di Canio’s appointment has been met with a mixed reception by the Sunderland fans. They know he has a decent record at Swindon, but I’m sure many are questioning his experience, because I certainly would be if I was a Black Cats fan.
I even read a comment from a Swindon Town fan on a forum saying that he can be a hero or villain, as he is sometimes a liability, which really doesn’t bode well for Sunderland.
Paulo Di Canio does bring a certain amount of controversy with him. His political views have been questioned and his appointment has led Labour MP David Milliband to quit his position as vice-chairman and non-executive director of the club.
Di Canio has denied being a racist in the past, but has stated that he is fascist. It’s probably not the best move in the world that Sunderland could have made to help public relations, but the Sunderland board was probably thinking more about Di Canio’s skills as a manager than his political views.
One thing that can’t be questioned about Paulo Di Canio is his passion for the game. You can question his sanity or his political leanings, but you can’t question his love of the beautiful game.
He is a football man through-and-through. He loves football and sometimes his passion has got the better of him, both as a player and as a manager. Touchlines certainly won’t be quiet with the Italian on the sidelines.
His passion and character could spark the players into life and it could be just what Sunderland need. It’s a brave move though.
The Italian has a mammoth job on his hands lifting the players and the supporters for the last seven games of the season. The Black Cats are just one point above the relegation zone and face a trip to Chelsea in their first game under Di Canio.
Sunderland then travel to north east rivals Newcastle in the Tyne-Wear derby. Chelsea are still looking to clinch a Champions League spot and Newcastle are still looking to secure their Premier League status this season.
I’m sure the Magpies would love nothing better than to give their north east rivals a helping hand into the Championship.
I am undecided whether the decision to appoint Di Canio was a stroke of genius or an act of lunacy on the Sunderland board’s part. Only time will decide that, but one thing is for sure the Premier League will be a more colourful place with Di Canio in it.
Sunderland’s relegation rivals QPR travel to rivals Fulham this evening knowing that a defeat will bring them closer to relegation. The Hoops are seven points away from safety with some difficult games to come.
It looks unlikely that they will now escape the drop, despite Harry Redknapp’s best efforts at keeping them up. Fulham are six points clear of the drop zone and another win should secure their place in the top flight for next season.
Elsewhere, Chelsea hosts Manchester United in a quarter-final FA Cup replay at lunchtime. Both sides rested key players at the weekend and it produced mixed results for the respective teams.
The Red Devils strolled to a 1-0 victory at Sunderland, but Chelsea fell 2-1 at Southampton. All those key players are likely to return for this clash, which should be an absolute fire cracker of a game.
Anyway back to Sunderland, is appointing Di Canio madness or genius?
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