Paolo Di Canio’s sacking: (1) another bites the dust but no Pulis please

'You decide,' Jake used to say. Now Ellis Short has decided for us all
‘You decide,’ Jake used to say. Now Ellis Short has decided for us all

Pete Sixsmith hardly had time to bask in the glory of a deservedly praised piece at the ESPN site’s Sunderland pages – – before he had to start writing again, this time on the news of Paolo Di Canio’s sacking. It kept him up late but he needed to get it off his chest …

And so, we say goodbye to yet another manager (or in Di Canio’s case, head coach). That makes four proper ones and a caretaker in seven years. We have had an iconic former player, a middle ranking Geordie, a man with a glorious history and a man for whom the word volatile could have been created.

The search now begins for another optimist to come and make an attempt to put the club back in with a chance of staying up, because we had no chance with Di Canio in charge. Anyone unfortunate enough to have been at the Hawthorns on Saturday would have seen a collection of players who had little idea of what to do once we went a goal down and whose collective sense of responsibility was sadly lacking.

My feeling was that a change needed to be made sooner rather than later and that Di Canio was out of his depth. Players either need a detailed game plan a la American Football or they need to be trusted to make their own decisions. This Sunderland team had neither game plan nor trust and it appears the players had little time for the constant barrage of criticism that came from the head coach.

The appointment was a response to a miserable period under O’Neill and was an attempt to shake things up. The two games that he won kept us up and none will forget that day at St James’ Park, but the poor stuff that has been served up this season indicated that he had not got a settled side in his head and that he did not rate some of the players who the director of football had brought in.

The story is that players confronted Di Canio when he called them in for a training session on Sunday morning. There was a fiery exchange when their commitment was questioned and it ended up with the head coach being relieved of his position. If that were the case, it was best that he did leave – unhappy players will not get you away from the bottom three and there was nothing that he had done this season which suggested that he would be able to do it without their backing.

So, an inauspicious episode in the 134-year history of the club comes to an end. Some were unhappy with his political views; some doubted his credentials after a brief career in Divisions Two and One. The initial high that a new manager sometimes brings dissipated after the thrashing at Villa Park and the tedious draws against Stoke and Southampton.

This season started badly and got worse, with defeats at Palace and West Brom causing alarm bells to ring in the boardroom and on the terraces. His successor has a disparate squad to work with, one that needs a coach who will talk to them rather than at them. That could be Roberto Di Matteo or Gus Poyet, both of whom are available. So is Tony Pulis, but his appointment would start a stampede away from the Stadium, led by me.

There will be a slew of stories in the next few days which will not show the club, the now departed PDC or the players in a good light. Hopefully a new appointment will be made before the Liverpool game on Sunday, otherwise Bally will have to brush up on his Italian.

Peterborough United must be looking forward to Tuesday night and a spot of “giant” killing.

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18 thoughts on “Paolo Di Canio’s sacking: (1) another bites the dust but no Pulis please”

  1. Let me throw this in the melting pot as an idea.

    Instead of trying to find a high profile, charismatic manager who will do enough to get us to 17th and then commit the club to yet another restructuring programme with a high turn over of players, Short takes his time to find an up and coming young coach, resigning himself to the fact the club will go down this year. The loss of the millions of pounds in revenue, is accepted in favour of a long term appointment with the aim of re-gaining Premiership status and long-term stability.

    High risk strategy perhaps but no more high risk than the last appointment. Any thoughts?

  2. Pearson is the nearly man of English football management. He left Hull because it was apparently a better and bigger club at Leicester. His judgement is questionable and his rise in the ranks at one time considered meteoric. Somewhat short lived. Not for us in my book.

  3. What about Nigel Pearson at Leicester,he has done a good job there for awhile now,He is a better choice than some names that have been mentioned,,,But I dont think Leicester would want him to go,,,but money talks!

  4. How about the manager of the team that played the best football at the the SOL this season (not difficult I know) and frightened the life out of our overpaid wasters. I give you Karl Robinson.

  5. Some of the rubbish been bandied about in the press and by Micky Gray about valid candidates is just depressing.

    Can we not do better than the dross available in the UK?

    If you want an interim manager to restore stability and keep us in the League—Trapatonni (awesome CV)

    If you want the best— Guus Hiddink (he’s available)

    If you want to pinch someone’s manager –Laudrup

    If you want a youngster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

    Before you all say–“he won’t come” its about how persuasive Short, De Fanti can be and how much money they are willing to fork out.

  6. Now that El Duce has gone, who the hell do we go for now,,Pulis! Good God NO!….everyone is saying Di Matio,but I dont think hes strong enough to manage Sunderland.Its going to be a hard choice,When you look at the list of names,no-one stands out,Mclaren is a certain NO!.Poyet,,Hmm maybe,but not really,,,McCoist,he,ll never leave Rangers.Maybe Alex Ferguson wants to come back and build another championship team,,as usual we will have to wait till they appoint who-ever.But who-ever they bring in better be a miracle worker or we are Doomed,doomed I say!

  7. “Pulis would keep us up, I am confident of that. But then Sunderland would turn into a team that I would not want to watch”

    As opposed to scoring goals for fun, swashbuckling, edge of the seat side that we’ve been for the last two years you mean Ian.

    Yeah it would be a shame for us to miss out on that. 🙂

    • Lol! Point taken. The MON team was frustrating to watch. Very defensive with no goal threat. I actually liked what Steve Bruce was doing until he got stabbed in the back from Gyan and Bent.
      PDC’s football seemed to be like 4-2-4 which made for a more open match but unfortunately left us overrun in MF and exposed. The Fulham game was exciting to watch and I thought we were onto a winner.

      But I think I know what you mean. Pulis-type football. Ugh.

  8. Pulis would keep us up, I am confident of that. But then Sunderland would turn into a team that I would not want to watch.
    Di Matteo is the best of the bunch of names I’ve heard. But then again he was sacked at West Brom and Chelsea. I’m not 100% confident he’ll keep us up.

  9. The other thing that I forgot to respond to Joan was the issue of whether they are PL players. I agree that you would reasonably expect decent quality footballers to be able to go out and play as a team. It’s really not as difficult as most of these loafers are making it look.

    I agree. Man management is the major part of it and certainly Bally would appear to have it. I can imagine how he would deal with “shirt swappers.”

  10. The stats for Durban surprised me Pete as I always rated him highly and thought that he was (and still think) that he is the only manager we’ve had who was sacked too early.

    In response to your point about KB, Joan, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that maybe he doesn’t want it. When he has taken the reins in an emergency previously he seemed more than happy to go back to the day job which he is doing very well at. The last thing we need is for a dyed in the wool Sunderland man to be put in charge of first team affairs permanently only to find that it isn’t working out 6 months down the road. We are then looking for another manager and have lost the man guiding the U21s to boot. We would all love to see someone like Bally be the manager and do a great job for the next 20 years before retiring gracefully to a rest home in Eastbourne. At the same time we realise how unlikely a scenario that really is.

    If a student got 17% as a mark in an examination I would be checking to see if their name was spelt correctly. I once had a student so guilty of plagiarism that I had to check to see if she wasn’t pretending to be the girl to her right.

  11. According to the records, it is the shortest of any full time appointee. George Hardwick might have had less days but managed for more games in 64-65..
    The manager with the best win % is Tom Watson who managed us when we first came into the Football League. He won 62.3% of his games, banned the players from having ice in their tonic wine, stopped them using Mrs Miggins Chop Sauce on their pie and chips and banned them from sending telegrams to their TeleG followers.
    The one with the worst record, with a minimum of 100 games, was Alan Durban with a 28.5% win rate.
    PDC’s was 17%; not great.

  12. Question for the anoraks out there. Is this the shortest reign of any permanent manager? We have had caretakers who had a lot more games that PDC. Even the caretakers did better in terms of results however, apart from Spag Bol that is.

  13. Well, anyone who donning a hair shirt at the prospect of Pulis arriving might want to reconsider their position when they take a look at some of the names that appear to have been thrown into the hat.The prospect of McLeish is just too ridiculous and funny to even consider of course and I wouldn’t want to paraphrase anything that erstwhile visiting Villan, Jinksy might have said when the manager’s office was empty at Villa Park.

    People always look to Bally when we are in the most dire of straits. Maybe in the interim Kevin can establish a firm hand on the tiller to navigate the choppy waters against Peterborough (would that be “Posh slosh’?). It’s a shame that Bally just isn’t management material as he’s the lad that everyone would get behind.

    • Interested in why you say Bally couldn’t be manager? Maybe he wouldn’t want the job permanently but he’s a fantastic man manager and I’m beginning to wonder if that isn’t the most important requisite … all this tinkering with systems and tactics doesn’t seem to make much difference. If your players are premier league standard (and we should only be signing players who are .. I know that’s open to debate) then all they need is some simple instructions, to feel part of the team and be motivated. And the crowd would be totally behind Bally – he’s a real hero – his actions speak louder than words – PdC was the opposite.

  14. Wish him well,will forever rememebr that 3-0 at SJP with fond moemories.He has done his job but in reality it was a horrible mistake to keep him here.I do wonder whether this buying system we have works.How much say did Paulo have,besides just monetary limits?

    The fact the like of Huddlestone preferred Hull was a warning that all was not well at the club.Say it quietly but I heard Alex McKliesh was seen at the game Saturday,hopefully he was visiting relatives/friends in the area and fancied to take in a game.

    Kevin Ball should be safe pair of hands till we do get a new manager…or is should that be coach now.And what will be happening to our our “Director of Football” Mr De Fanti?……can’t we just go back to the good ole days when a manager was a manager please?

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