Gareth Barker is half of the dynamic duo that brings you the regular Salut! Sunderland podcast. There is no requirement to go along with a word he now has to say, It is, as he freely acknowledges, a rant. But a rant from the heart …
After much stewing and engagement in argument/discussion across social networking sites, I came to the conclusion I needed to write down all of my thoughts on the sacking of Paolo Di Canio.
Twitter is a tough place to get your full view across. I’ve been trying to do this from the Wise Men Say podcast account since Sunday night, but for things like this 140 characters are just not enough.
Let’s start: the players are not blameless in this. Some level of personal pride needs to be taken in performance. But when someone like John O’Shea turns, you know something is up. Whatever you think about O’Shea as a footballer, he is a true professional. A man who received nothing but praise from possibly the greatest manager every to grace the game, Sir Alex Ferguson.
This is a rant, not too dissimilar from one you’d hear from the man himself. It’s relatively incoherent, rambling, but there’s a point in there somewhere.
So this is more for my benefit then yours. Again this is something Mr Di Canio might identify with.
It’s passionate and honest. I’m sure PDC sympathisers can get on board with that. Here goes …
Just because people get paid “too much”, they do not then become robots. They have confidence issues, pressure to deal with as a result of the over-inflated pay packet we hear so much about, expectation to deliver on the pitch and from the manager, in this case an egotistical megalomaniac.
It’s a manager’s job to work with and gauge his staff in order to get the best out of them. You can’t just go in and wave your one-dimensional magic wand and expect everybody to understand what you’re trying to do. Never mind actually follow through and do it.
The old wages and working class attitudes argument does not wash with me. No relevance whatsoever. Having said that, Di Canio and his staff will never have to work again after they’ve had their massive pay out for being equally incompetent. I doubt they’ll get another chance anyway.
Also, the players didn’t go “crying” to the CEO because they couldn’t have tomato ketchup and ice in their coke. They went to speak to the people at the top because Di Canio acted unprofessionally. You can’t just do what you want because you have “Manager” or “Head Coach” written on your office door.
If frustrates me to see the “player power is ruining the game” argument being trotted out. This instance has nothing to do with that. It’s to do with a lack of the appreciation for mutual respect from one party only.
It’s been stated that many of these players have survived three managers. That is very true. However, why did PDC decide to rotate the so called “rubbish” players who had let so many other managers down? Why pick Cabral all pre-season, first game of the season, then bomb him out completely? Not because he’s too slow, but because he answered his phone on the team bus (reputedly why he was dropped for the Southampton game)! None of the things PDC said were consistent with his actions.
The most interesting element of it all is that when he first came in he stated he toned himself down for the transitional period. We looked far more organised, more compact. Looked solid as a team – bar that Villa result – yet unspectacular. This season, since he’s gone full pelt with his “regime”, we’ve looked an absolute shambles. Disorganised, shapeless, clueless and rigid: 4-4-2 every game with different centre backs and central midfielders nearly every game.
And he won’t pick systems to fit the opposition. As a result we play with a plethora of central midfield changes and get cut to pieces every week through the middle.
Makes substitutions at half time in four of his six games this season. In one game, he makes a change in the 47th minute. Why? He’s picking the wrong team, every week.
Hauling Giaccherini off at half time against West Brom. An Italian international who has won Serie A two seasons in a row. You’re telling me he can’t play better if given the chance to do so? No, take him off at half time. Then Fletcher gets injured and he’s made all his subs before the 70-minute mark. Cardinal sin of management. Compound it by blaming Giaccherini for the defeat after the game.
Why not pop a cyanide-soaked rotten cherry on an already crumbling cake by singling out Lee Cattermole too. You’ve just brought him back into the fold. It would be unfair on all the other central midfielders not to alienate Catts as well, no?
“I want to win a trophy, I won’t make many changes”. Against MK Dons? Six changes.
Ji: rejects big money for him as he rates him. Picks him. Ji lets him down. Hauls him off two minutes into second half against MK Dons to jeers. Picks him next game, lad is demoralised and plays dreadfully. Questions his heart on national television.
“Another player, Cabral and Larsson are my first choice. N’Diaye left because he wanted to play regularly and I can’t guarantee it.” Six weeks later, Vaughan has played more than any of them and he wasn’t on that top three list. Gardner is back. Cattermole is back. Larsson and Vaughan dropped from the squad and Cabral binned for the reserves. He played N’Diaye in every game he managed last season ahead of Vaughan et al and now N’Diaye’s in Turkey. Cabral looks totally shell-shocked as the U21s go down 5-2 at Anfield.
That stupid bloody song when he comes out at the end of the game and waves to the crowd despite the fact we’ve been garbage. Going up to the fans and giving it the big one because he loves the attention.
Saying “it’s my fault” then blaming everything under the sun but himself.
The training thing. We don’t look any fitter in reality, do we?
After we win one of our only five pre-season games, against MK Midtjylland, he has a go at everyone for it. He then claims there’s no value in playing teams like Hartlepool as you learn nothing. Our first pre-season game? We win 11-0 or something against a pub team. The second game we play some Swiss second division team. What will he learn from those games?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not what’s in the papers. It’s fact. All of these things happened. If you do all of this, then start calling other people’s professionalism into question, then if it was me on the receiving I’d likely stand up and crack the bloke myself. Managers need to earn respect. He had none for his players and as soon as you go in with that attitude you won’t get any back.
Why were so many still ready to believe in PDC? Why do they love him? Why do they sing his name? Give him time? Time to do what? There was no evidence of any of his methods on the pitch. We looked a shell of a side. Players looking forlornly at one another – “what the hell are we doing out here?” Shoulders slumped as they trudge back to the half way line to set up from a goal kick, the numbing inevitability of squandering possession looming.
It’s blind faith in a bloke who has proved nothing apart from the fact that his methods do not work at the top level. He’s embarrassed himself and Sunderland Association Football Club and he’ll more than likely never get a job again.