As a football fan, it is normally evident to see the impact that a change in manager can do to any club that is not having a great time of it.
But you will also see in a large number of cases, that this effect can be extremely short-lived. There are also the occasional instances where a football club can uncover a managerial gem. This gem could be a great man manager like Harry Redknapp, or an up and coming tactical genius like Andre Villas-Boas.
It can be strongly debated that this is the case at Sunderland AFC. Some may argue that, in Paolo Di Canio, Sunderland have uncovered a gem. There is no denying that Di Canio’s ‘passionate’ and animated demeanour makes for entertaining viewing. Tactically, Di Canio is still learning, but his passion and desire is starting to rub off on his players, and this was out on show for the world to see during Sunderland’s 1-1 draw against Stoke City at the Stadium of Light on Monday evening.
Having gone 1-0 down in the game, and then having a man sent off, most teams would have gradually been ripped apart by a very strong and physical Stoke side. This was not the case for Sunderland, because whatever Di Canio said or did in the dressing room had the desired effect. Despite being a man light, Sunderland were by far the better team after half time. They got a deserved equaliser, and were perhaps unlucky not to win the game in the end.
It may be early in his managerial career, but the early signs are that Paolo Di Canio has clearly got the motivational skills to be a big success at Sunderland. He will obviously continue to learn as a coach, but provided the players continue to back him, I would expect Sunderland fans to be able to spend next season looking up the Premier League table with hope, rather than down the table with fear.