PDC’s Sacking: (5) ‘he’s gone but I’m not coming back’


Monsieur Salut writes: On April Fools’ Day, Bill Taylor, who has Sunderland blood running through his veins but has lived on the other side of the Atlantic most of his adult life, declared here: ‘My position is this: I will not support SAFC while this man is connected with the club.’ So, the cause of his disenchantment safely gone, we should be welcoming Bill back to the fold. Er, no. There may be only so many times you can employ the word ‘appalled’ but Bill, using up his quota, is sufficiently so to stay away. I wondered whether it would be right to allow his thoughts to be aired here and am still unsure I’ve made the right decision, but a commitment to free expression – even an article with so many assumptions I consider wrong – triumphed, in the end, over any self-righteous temptation to censor. I have, however, relegated it to yesterday’s sequence of PDC Sacking postings because the rest of us are moving on …

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck …

Turns out Paulo Di Canio WAS a fascist all along. On and off the field. And while his off-the-field credo wasn’t enough to keep him from defaming the Stadium of Light, his self-proclaimed team “regime” – a fascist word if ever there was one – did him in.

An autocratic, ask-no-questions style; ruling by edict; treating the players like recalcitrant children, with public floggings thrown in; and crude attempts at crowd manipulation. Yes, indeed. Mussolini – the man whose portrait Di Canio has tattooed on his back, with other fascist imagery – was reborn at Sunderland.

From the moment his name was mentioned as a possible replacement for Martin O’Neill, I was appalled.

Appalled that Ellis Short could be gulled into hiring such a character… a caricature, almost.

A man who has called Mussolini “basically a very principled, ethical individual… deeply misunderstood”. A man who brazenly gave the fascist salute “because it gives me a sense of belonging to my people … I saluted my people with what for me is a sign of belonging to a group that holds true values, values of civility against the standardisation that this society imposes upon us.”

A man who gave that salute at the funeral in 2010 of his friend Paolo Signorelli – Di Canio was a frequent visitor to his home – a far-right activist involved in the 1980 Bologna station terrorist attack that killed 85 people.

A man who, so many apologists insisted after his Sunderland appointment was announced, “wasn’t REALLY a fascist,” partly because he’d said that while he actually WAS, he wasn’t a racist. And that seemed to make everything all right in a lot of minds.

That was appalling, too – the number of people who said, “Let’s keep politics out of football,” disregarding the fact that fascism is far more than a political movement. It’s a totalitarian, authoritarian ideology that emphasizes ultra-nationalism and martial values. The strong survive, the weak go to the wall and a powerful leader is all-important.

Which is where Di Canio slipped up. He’s a poor leader at best, a man who talks a good game … though no, actually, he doesn’t do that very well, either.

But an appalling number of people were prepared to forgive him anything as long as he could produce results at the Stadium of Light. Which, of course, he couldn’t. There was never any chance that he would. He was out of his league before he even stepped into it. In the Premiership where the strong do indeed survive and the weak go to the wall, Di Canio took the heart, soul and guts out of the team.

What was Ellis Short thinking? We’ll probably never know.

What will be going through the mind of whoever Short hires next to try and salvage this train wreck? They’ll probably be wondering how they got themselves into such a desperate situation that they’d be prepared to take on such an uphill task.

There’s nothing like starting a job with a positive attitude. How anyone will bring a positive attitude to this job is beyond me.

Beyond that, the appalling fact remains that Ellis Short hired a fascist and a great many of the fans were happy to close their eyes to that as long as Di Canio kept Sunderland out of the Championship.

I opted out as soon as the appointment was announced. Now that Di Canio is gone, I’m staying out. I’ll still follow Sunderland’s fortunes, I’ll always regard them as my team, I’ll always wish them well.

But I’ll do it in my own way and I’ll never feel quite the same about the club. For one thing, and this is in spite of a friendship with Colin Randall that spans about half a century, I’m done with public forums such as this one. And unlike some who have left and just as quickly returned, I’m not simply saying that.

I won’t be back tomorrow.

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24 thoughts on “PDC’s Sacking: (5) ‘he’s gone but I’m not coming back’”

  1. Bill, hope you’re still reading at least. I said, on Sunday I think, that 90% of me “no longer gives a shit”. I now know this to be untrue. I still listened from my SE England exile on Tuesday. I was still overjoyed when we scored and then won. I was delighted that Oooooh Bally Bally had been placed in charge for a couple of games. I await the next managerial appointment with trepidation. I just want MY team to bumble along in mid table, without any crises, and give me something, anything, to look forward to on match days. Not too much to ask after 53 years as a fan is it?

  2. Bill, methinks thou doth protest too much. Football is littered with idiots. Always has been and always will.
    DiCanio was an awful appointment, and the owner must be cringing to think that he santioned it. However he had the courage and the sense to swiftly rectify the situation. Now he must concentrate his mind to ensure that his next manager is credible and, hopefully, successful.
    Agonising about things dosen’t help.

  3. I attended games pre , during and now post DiCanio. I support S.A.F.C and I don’t like extremists from either the right or left, I can’t tell the difference between them, maybe in not enlightened enough in the ways of moral superiority . But what I do know is Di Canio is now history and we as a club , heal if that’s what’s needed and move on.

  4. No one on here gets my sense of humour , mind you none of my last 8 wives did either

    All i can say really about the author – is that so called educated folks are only as good as the fools who write the text books

    • So called educated folks….?? Fools who write the books…FFS…..?? Can’t stand such anti-intellectual BS. If we’re going to be unintelligent we might as well switch allegiance to those up the road. Safc have always had a knowledgable crowd. Attacking knowledge and educated folks fits in nicely with dodgy boilers throughout the centuries. Taylor’s polemic was obviously heartfelt. As a community we’re better with him in the tent that outside. Doesn’t mean I agree with him. Just want to be able to counter his views.

      CSB…I hope you’re joking about the US. If not you’re miles off the mark. We should look closer to home before we knock others

      The politics and sport don’t mix is utter nonsense. Having the Monkwearmouth Colliery banner was a political statement. Why was Bardsley pilloried? Not football…political naivety. Far too many cases to cite here…..must get back to writing my book….this PhD won’t write itself

      • Neil, my response was to one individual, I suggest that you really need to take your rose tinted blinkers off with regard to the USA and do some serious reading regarding American government backed activities both home and abroad.

        Additionally I am, being quite well read and educated, well aware of the short comings of the British Isles. If you are suggesting that because of my background I am unable to pass comment on any one else then that is just plain stupid and, although I hesitate to use this term, fascist.

        Football for me is an escapism from the very dull and boring political landscape of the UK and therefore do not want it intruding into this aspect of my life, politics has no place, should not have a place or any relevance to any aspect of sport.

        The Monkwearmouth banner is a recognition of the clubs past and association with the people of the region and where they came from. It is not an endorsement of the NUM or the pillocks that still spout the same pathetic mantra of an age gone by.

        Politics by its very nature is divisive and Mr Taylor using it as a means of abandoning SAFC is up to him. SAFC is a means where by ordinary people can pull together, it levels the playing field and allows a group of folk from a diverse set of backgrounds to join together for a common good and to live the highs and lows (and very very lows where Sunderland are concerned). The Club do not always get it right on or off the pitch,

        Di Canio a fascist, I couldn’t care less, my only concern is what happens to the Club I have supported for 53 years, all else is merely transient and will come and go, be subject to whims and trends, only SAFC remains the constant.

      • Rose tinted blinkers? Really?? Fairly well read myself. US is easy pickings and yet responsible for much that is good…music, arts, literature, cinema, civil rights. Every time there’s a catastrophe around the world, the US is the first to aid on the ground. The people are generous and not the caricature portrayed in the press.

        No idea what your background is…not interested…can’t blame everything on background

        First time I’ve been called fascistic….quite a revelation for a working class lad who believes in the advance of socialism through democratic means

        Uk polititcs dull…really?? I think it’s fascinating

        Pillocks & age gone by….hmmm….what were you saying about others and their views??

        “PDC is a fascist”…..I care a lot..symbolism is important…are you saying there are no boundaries a person could cross, if they were Safc’s manager, you’d overlook them all?? Really??

        No politics in sport ….really?? Maybe party politics….but no politics?? What about the Council’s donation of the land to build the SoL? That’s political?

      • Didn’t call you fascist, I said those type of sentiments were slightly fascist, please read what is on the page.

        Your love affair with the USA is your own affair, and to use your own sentiments, I don’t care and I doubt anybody else does.

        Background has nothing to do with it, its the ability to see what is real despite your own feelings or prejudices that seperates people and as this exchange adequately illustrates politics is devisive despite myself being non political but fairly scathing and dissmissive of those who wear their political allegiances on their sleeve and try to bring it in to every facet of life..

        Whether De Canio is a fascist or not i don’t know, he has said he is not, but obviously you know better.

        People get wound up about Facisim due its conatations with WWII however in reality communisim slaughtered more in WWII than the German or Italian fascists put together and the Chinese have been bearing the torch in a similar manner since.

        Extremes in any political party is unpalatable, as is politics in sport.

  5. Martin – there really is no limit to my tactical-nous

    CSB – I gave you a thumbs up – whatever is the matter with Glenn Hoddle and Eileen Drewery – we do well with ex Swindon managers – do we not !!!!!

  6. Maybe fans just wanted to watch a football match from time to time and follow their local team. A local team, in most of our cases, that is a big part of our lives.

    It brings friends together. It brings families together. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t see my Dad anywhere near as much if it wasn’t for the fact we went to the match together.

    It makes you hug strangers, it gives us plenty to talk about, it gives you moments of ecstasy that can’t be replicated. Remembering a Ji last minute winner against Manchester City can make the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

    A lot of people weren’t willing to sacrifice this, like myself. Why should I? Why should we? Especially for a guy who was always going to be a dot on the landscape when it comes to our history.

    If you want to sacrifice those things, then fine. But don’t belittle others who weren’t willing to subscribe to your moral position.

  7. Well Mr Taylor, bearing in mind how principled you are, please tell us when you will be leaving the shores of the bastion of double standards, underhand tricks, the deceitful and manipulating good old US of A?

    As Davey says ‘it a game for gods sake’ and that’s the second time in a week that I have agreed with him…..I still gave him a thumbs down though!

  8. Incidentally Davey – that’s a very apt description of how Sunderland play football “22 men running around a field chasing a ball” it could very well be their epitaph!

  9. I don’t know what makes me happier. Di Canio’s sacking or not having to read any more of Taylor’s moaning negativity. I stopped blogging due in part to the intensity of my antipathy towards his fickle disloyalty and his constant glass half empty tidings. I see your true colours shining through. I always did!

    Whether or not Ellis Short was naive in hiring Di Cannio and let’s face it, he was, Politics should never come into football. He was hired to do a job which he failed to do. He was sacked because of his swashbuckling aggression and his inability to manage men.

    SAFC are in my heart, my soul and my skin. I would never chuck me teddies because of the alleged inappropriateness of a managerial appointment!! Sunderland could well do without a manager like DiCannio. In he same breath they could well do without the fickle, sing when you’re winning, disloyal support of Mr Bill Taylor. Peace and out

  10. It’s a game of football for God’s sake !!! 22 men runnung around a field chasing a ball
    We have been pretty crap so far this season with PDC , lets hope we improve now
    Nothing to do with fascists , Mussolini , racists etc etc , get a grip man and follow the lads

    • Although I disagree with Bill Taylor’s views and analysis of the Di Canio episode, some of the reactions here make me sympathise with him!
      I will say that to fire someone after a few games after you’ve let them rebuild your squad is absolutely crazy. I agree with Messrs. Shearer and Allardyce on this one.
      P.S. I’d be happy to write a rebuttal to Taylor’s piece…. HST

  11. Bill, your beliefs are held no stronger than mine. I vowed to exile myself whist PDC was at the helm refusing to put one penny in his pocket. He’s gone. We need some reconciliation from the club ie Short needs to own up to his naively appointing PDC as being problematic on a number of fronts. Also Byrne desn’t seem to get it.

    That said I implore you to keep blogging. If you don’t it’s a victory for those who stymie alternative views. It’s a broad church … being a Safc follower isn’t easy. A bit like the SDP in the 80s it’s better to stay in and fight your ground.

    I’ve tried, and failed, to raise the debate at times. Just makes me more determined. I’m a relatively new contributor to this site and my view is it’s strength comes from its plurality. We’re a bunch of mongrels……but we all know mongrels are the strongest genetically. To paraphrase a Russian diplomat, in terms success we’re a little club who no one listens to….and yet the quality of debate on this site is often of the highest standard. If you leave we are all diminished

    Please reconsider

  12. It seems to me Bill that you were just looking for an excuse that allowed your waning interest, in SAFC, to be attributed to it.

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