Paolo Di Canio is sacked. The preverbial roller coaster ride has abruptly halted as the Sunderland hierarchy feel there is something amiss with its direction. How much of this is down to results and how much of this is down to Di Canio’s relationship with the players will likely be revealed in the coming days – you can’t imagine him keeping schtum like Martin O’Neill.
Alas you can throw justifiable reasons at this with reasonable venom – but all of which are blown out of the water by the fact we are only five games into the new season. To me this makes the only discernible reasons for the sacking are that he did indeed completely lose the dressing room and the mooted training ground bust up was the catalyst. Such is the depressing state of modern (and particularly Premier League) football, players are fast becoming the most powerful employees of clubs and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
Probably one of the best examples of how disastrous this can be is Wolves. After former Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy was sacked after poor results, Terry Connor, Stale Solbakken and Dean Saunders were all systematically hounded out of the club on its slide down to League One as senior players refused to adapt to their methods and philosophies.
Since we returned to top flight football we have had no fewer than five Premier League managers, very soon to be six which off the top of my head only Chelsea can compete with. Whoever replaces him needs to be a man who can add some stability to the club, nurse rather than aggravate our overpaid workshy workforce and ultimately give us a reasonable footballing side that does not lose most games.
I am not quite sure what I find most depressing, the sacking itself or the fact we have to drag this carriage from the middle of the ride and start again. Where do we go from here?
The overwhelming favourite for the bookies is Roberto Di Matteo. Which makes sense, ensuring our strong Italian links are untethered plus he has some pedigree in that he only went and won the Champions League. It’s hard to argue he would be a poor choice with that in mind, but a slight worry that his Premier League tenure with West Brom was short lived and poor.
Checking out ‘Next Permanent Sunderland Manager’ with the bookies makes me shudder in places as the top eight include Steve McClaren, Neil Warnock, Mick McCarthy and Alex McLeish – all of which would have me weeping. In fact, the whole list is compiled of managers which do not exactly fill you with excitement. We are desperate for someone capable of uniting the dressing room and I see very few people who fit that description available right now.
The way the club has been set up now is to ensure managerial changes are nowhere near as disruptive like in previous years. We are not looking for a manager as such, we are looking for another head coach. Kevin Ball really could be the surprise candidate with that in mind, but Di Matteo, Gus Poyet, Henning Berg and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all fit the description. Fact is, we cannot afford another Paolo Di Canio this has to be someone who can settle things down. If he wants it, Di Matteo should be our man.
Whoever and whatever happens, Paolo – we will ALWAYS have 0-3. Thank you, I for one really wish things were so much different.