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 (https://safc.blog/2012/07/real-madrid-spains-civil-war-and-a-homage-to-an-improbable-hero/) 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.