The Paolo Di Canio ‘revolution’ at Sunderland is in danger of falling apart before it’s even started.
As a lifelong fan, I’m still waiting to be convinced that is the equipped to take the club forward.
Right now, I’m not even convinced that he can keep us in the Premier League, or that he’ll still by the end of the season.
I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me just what his credentials were for getting the job in the first place.
To me, it looked like a reckless punt from club owner Ellis Short back then and nothing that has happened since has altered my thinking.
A League Two championship win and a series of run-ins with players and club officials at Swindon is hardly the sort of stuff to make a manager worthy of taking on a top flight side that is back in the habit of flirting with relegation.
Di Canio’s overhauled Sunderland have made a fairly disastrous start to the season, failing to pick up maximum points in any of their first three matches – eminently winnable fixtures against Fulham, Southampton and Crystal Palace.
It gets worse – a practice match between the
Perhaps that bodes well for the club’s future, or perhaps it’s a sign that the senior squad is woefully inadequate and that the manager is struggling to get them to implement his ideas.
There’s been plenty of noise made about Di Canio rebuilding the team and ushering in a spectacular new era.
But at Selhurst Park ten days ago, his preferred central midfield duo was Sebastian Larsson and David Vaughan, both players bought by Steve Bruce, the club’s manager before last.
What’s more, it was a powder puff pairing that Bruce would almost certainly have never fielded; he would have opted instead for the steel and grit offered by Lee Cattermole and Lorik Cana.
Cattermole is still at the club but seems to have been frozen out, leaving the team short of a ball-winner in the middle of the park.
New signing Cabral looked set to take on that role, but he has also been ostracised, consigned to the bench since the first day of the season.
Not surprisingly, that midfield was outfought against Palace, and we remain winless after three games.
In spite of fans saying that we should be patient, it’s a serious situation. Our next seven home matches are against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham.
Then comes Norwich at home, four days before Christmas, but we could be well adrift at the bottom of the table by then – and still striving to reach double figures points wise.
Unless the team’s fortunes can be transformed and we can dig out two or three home wins from that nightmarish run, we could find ourselves in a tailspin, with confidence shot and Di Canio’s blood pressure rising higher with every game we play.
He’s already shown that he isn’t scared to blast his players publicly, only a few days after substituting him three minutes into the second half against MK Dons, to a crescendo of boos from the stands.
I’m no man-management expert but if Di Canio wanted to spare his player the fans’ ire, he should have subbed him at half-time and avoided the public humiliation.
The manager’s decision to bring on a striker with ten minutes left at Southampton and with Sunderland defending a one-goal lead is one that had me scratching my head as well.
Sunderland fans might not be that impressed to learn that Di Canio has had a WORSE start to his managerial career than our former, widely-lampooned boss Howard Wilkinson, if you look at their record over their first ten matches in charge.
The baffling managerial decisions need to stop now and we need to get some points on the board as soon as possible – but Saturday’s home match against Mesut Ozil and Arsenal isn’t the perfect place to start.
Maybe Di Canio needs to spark a REAL revolution at the Stadium Of Light and field the club’s under-21s.