Sunderland have appointed Paolo Di Canio following the sacking of Martin O’Neil on Saturday night.
It is a very interesting selection from Sunderland owner Ellis Short for various reasons, but the whole situation raises various questions. I personally felt the sacking of O’Neil is not such a shock, he had a decent squad but gradually they slipped down the league standings following just two wins in their last 10 games.
But the timing is bizarre. Why sack a manager who has worked with the squad for a solid period of time and claims to have had a ‘steely determination’ to survive the threats of the drop? More so, with just seven games remaining in the league table, disruption at this stage is surely a hindrance and something that you’d like to avoid at all costs, and instead just focus on battling for those vital points.
It suggests a mindset from the men ‘upstairs’ of desperation. But the most confusing aspect of this all is the appointment of Di Canio as their new manager. Di Canio had a very successful time with Swindon Town, winning the League 2 title before a strong push for League 1 promotion, but that is as far as his managerial experience goes. I fail to see the positives in firing an experienced top-flight manager for a fairly volatile and dramatic manager with no experience of manager at the highest level at all.
Di Canio may well keep Sunderland up, as he possess a strong character and determination, but I can’t currently see the justification is sacking a good manager in O’Neil at this moment in the season; Sunderland still have their fate in their own hands, and replacing him with virtually a beginner is odd. It is partly the name and past events that Di Canio has attached to himself that has landed him the job.
Sunderland clearly had the replacement already planned, but again at this moment in time makes little sense. But, we’ll see.