McCormick’s Craic: Paolo Di Canio and another view

John McCormick: exploring cultural distinctions
John McCormick: exploring cultural distinctions

M Salut writes: Anyone who reads Salut! Sunderland regularly should know that nothing here is cut and dried. There is little by way of cast-in-strong editorial policy beyond passionate support for Sunderland AFC. Often enough, contributors quarrel with one another’s views. That’s as it should be. In the torrent of mainly non-SAFC abuse and bile I received at ESPN for offering my (fairly even-handed) response to the Paolo Di Canio appointment, there was little hint of a coherent counter-argument (honourable exceptions include the reply by Phil Johnson, disagree as we do). Here, John McCormick explores some of the nuances I referred to while admitting that his own head is spinning …

What do I know about football or its management?

Nothing, so I tend to leave comment to others. I kept my misgivings about Steve Bruce to myself. A lion of a winner as a player but I didn’t care much for his statements about “it’s because we’re a small club” while he was manager at Wigan.

They made me think he’d be looking for excuses in the future, wherever he was. And so it proved. I kept quiet, too, about Martin O’Neill. He was a bit old, I thought, but with his pedigree and a three year contract he could leave with honour having established a fine legacy. I’m truly sorry it didn’t come to pass.

It’s different with Di Canio. He’s the right age, he has the belief and the passion. He could be the one but he comes with baggage which makes me think he isn’t. There is so much to go wrong, so much potential for damage.

There is room for hope, however. Can the fascist salute be rationalised? It was made in a highly charged atmosphere, was it any worse than playing an imaginary flute, sniffing imaginary cocaine or many of the unsavoury episodes we’ve seen on the pitch? I don’t know. I do know I’ve done stupid things in the past and I’m not in any position to cast the first stone. Who among us is?

The “I’m a fascist not a racist” quote. Was it made in jest, was something lost in transition between Latin and Anglo-Saxon cultures? The way left-leaning Spain has managed to accommodate a right-wing football legend ( makes me think there’s a subtle difference between the north and south of Europe that we just don’t fully appreciate.

I don’t have to decide whether or not to renew a season ticket. I don’t buy or wear SAFC tops. I don’t have to think about whether or not to boycott matches. I have the luxury of being able to wait and see. Ellis Short doesn’t. Maybe he has taken all of this into account and Di Canio will clear the air.

I hope so. I sincerely hope his utterings will have some foundation in macho sensationalism and ego rather than deeply held convictions. I think that’s the case and Mr Short knows and can deal with it.

Nevertheless, I’m worried. This weekend my world has tilted on its axis and I’m deeply concerned about the welfare of my club.

12 thoughts on “McCormick’s Craic: Paolo Di Canio and another view”

  1. Pathetic people using a half baked facist excuse as a reason to stop supporting your team – is it any wonder we are i trouble with fans like that !!!

  2. I can’t believe how you lot are reacting to the appointment of Paulo di canio I have listened to Swindon supporters and the Swindon chairman on sky today and they are full of praise for him I can’t remember this shit going on when he was Swindon manager politics and football have nothing to do with each other if they do all of you stoupid people need to go to the Houses of Parliament and sit there while us true football people support our club through thick and thin and good and bad Ellis short pays the wages and took us out of the shit we were in who are we to judge who he pays the bill to if you lot want to do that then put your millions into the club until then like it or lump it you fools….

  3. Tell me when its over.What happened to our pride?I will hang my head as walk past the War Memorial.

  4. I’vw been reading up on Di Canio and it does seem he’s not really a political person. Nevertheless a nazi salute carries so many overtones and it’s difficult to reconcile not being a fascist with not being a racist. He’s going to be a very public representative of the club and will attract a lot of opprobrium not to mention ridicule by opposing supporters at matches.
    I don’t think Short has thought this one through and personally will have to think long and hard as to whether I can continue to support the club.

  5. Paulo di canio Paulo di canio Paulo di canio Paulo di canio Paulo di canio Paulo di canio Paulo di canio this is to Bill Taylor stay away then who is bothered nobody keep your judgment to your self you sad little old man I hope he proves to be a excellent manager for us and you stay away with your boring judgment we would have Steve Bruce still there if it was left to you roll on Everton at home with a full house to welcome Paulo di canio as the new manager well done Ellis for acting now and giving us the chance to stay up …

  6. His statement shows no support for fascism and that’s as much as I know about the man from a political stance. Bearing football in mind I think he could be what we need

  7. 8 years ago while playing in Rome he made a mistake, his life since then has portrayed no sign of extreme right wing beliefs. He has had pretty much an unblemished life since then yet he is still being judged. Sir Alex Ferguson a man of working class trade union background attempted to sign Di Canio without questioning his political beliefs. The UK is a society based on tolerance and equality under written by justice, yet a man is being judged on an incident in the melting pot of a Rome derby when he let himself down. It is your right to support the club or not, but it is not your right to judge a man who is not known to you or without hearing his side of the storey. I detest extreme right wing politics but have seen the Afrikaaner Nation change and accept their political views were wrong. The Dutch Reform Church has apoligised for attempting to use theology to justify apartheid. FW de Klerk changed his political ideals and convinced his electorate that it was the way forward. He won the Nobel Peave prize for this. Maturity brings with it tolerance and softening of radical thoughts, has anyone attempted to ask Di Canio what he believes in today. I have lived in Namibia, and know many Rhodesians who have come to the realisation their past political convictions were flawedto “err is human to forgive is Divine”

  8. Fascism is more than simply a political stance, it’s a philosophy of life and an abhorrent one at that. There’s been a lot of hedging of bets here over the last day or so and even what appears to be a bizarre suggestion that Di Canio might be a MODERATE fascist…
    My position is this: I will not support SAFC while this man is connected with the club.

    • Bill Taylor – “I will not support SAFC while this man is connected with the club” good riddance to you Bill Taylor.

      Nothing in this life can ever make me stop supporting the lads.

      You can stop supporting your wife, girlfriend/partner.
      You can stop supporting your religion
      You can stop supporting your politics
      You can stop supporting your job

      But you can’t ever stop supporting your team. It is your PASSION, it is in your DNA.

      I am 54 years old and I know how I have felt inside from the age of 6 years. I could never stop supporting SAFC, If you can then you never supported SAFC in the first place.

  9. I think many of us are in a similar position, but are we right to judge. He appears to be a passionate law abiding citizen. In a democracy do we have aright to say we don’t like your politics and will not allow you to work. What is a fascist and who can he vote for in Sunderland. These are knee jerk reactions which do us little justice.

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