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The curse of West Bromwich Albion strikes again – Sunderland sack Di Canio

26 September 2013 by

So yet again another Premier League manager has lost his job after a some what humiliating defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion. The first manager casualty occurred when Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has his contract terminated that shocked the football world after 3-1 defeat at the Hawthorns. I believe that it was very harsh on Hughton who in my view, and many Magpie fans, did his job successfully.

The big one in terms of Albion fans happened to Mick McCarthy following a damaging rout at home with the final score 1-5, a day that both sets of supporters will remember for different reasons. I think part of the reason that the board at Molineux opted to axe McCarthy, regardless of the fact that they were in a dogfight to avoid relegation, was that it was a degrading defeat to the club’s bitterest rival that ultimately identified the severe gap in quality between two sides at the wrong end of the league table.

The third sacking came after Chelsea visited the Hawthorns that finalised Andre Villas Boas’ short reign as boss after he suffered a shock 1-0 loss. The young manager was brought in my Roman Abramovich to finally bring stability to the club that it so desperately needed to emulate the success at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, but unsurprisingly the Portuguese coach lasted under a season.

Villas Boas’ replacement Roberto Di Matteo was given his marching orders shortly after a defeat at his former club. Technically he was fired after a 3-0 defeat to Juventus in the Champions League, but his final league game came in the Midlands.

Then it was the turn of the mad Italian Paolo Di Canio who, as you may have heard, has become the first Premiership manager of the season to be dismissed of his position. Stephane Sessegnon opened the scoring at the weekend, which made matters all the worse for Di Canio after allowing the attacking midfielder to depart under the new revolution. His last match in charge of the Black Cats ended with the scoreline 3-0 in the favour of the Baggies that both teams needed to win.

However, I would find it highly unlikely that the Italian was purely sacked for that loss, it was just the final hurdle in a eventful yet short spell in charge of his first top tier club.

From the very beginning of his reign, it wasn’t expected to be a long term appointment with controversy before he even started his tenure in the North East. He was repeatedly questioned by the media over his fascist beliefs, which led Di Canio to believe he wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to manage at the top level. He reportedly asked the board if it was in the best interests of both parties if they were to part ways with mutual respect to avoid any criticism, but Sunderland stood by him, and he became an instant favourite with the fans after a memorable 3-0 demolition of arch rivals Newcastle in their own backyard in his second game in charge. That game won’t be remembered for any of the goals, expect for maybe David Vaughan’s cracker, it will be remembered for the pure emotion Di Canio expressed when his side scored with knee slides on the touchline.

Even before that game though, he was slammed by the press for his strict regime which completely overhauled pretty much anything that was put in place under Martin O’Neill. He altered the diet, discipline, training sessions, the lot all to apparently improved the players’ poor fitness levels.

Part of the new diet included not being allowed to have ketchup, mayonnaise, no caffeine on a match day or any sweets prior to kick off. He believed the club were far too lenient in their approach and that he came in to revolutionise the club which also involved banning mobile phones.

A memorable part of his man management skills, if that is what you wanted to call them, is when he blasted Phil Bardsley for a photo he was in that was posted online of the defender in a casino with money surrounding him a day before a game. He came put publicly to show his disapproval of Bardsley’s behaviour and further expressed his disappointment of the club’s rules.

He did keep Sunderland in the top division, which was his only objective, last season an was then given the funds and power to sign basically a new starting eleven. He signed 14 players who expected to play for Paolo but now they are lost because I expect that they were promised to work under him at least for one season.

The board allowed him all of this power over the summer for zip. The new foreign additions, who speak little English, are now expected to gel without knowing who their new manager will be although Roberto Di Matteo is the big favourite.

The rest of the stars have all been given bad press in some sort of form and that that is one of the main reasons why the former Swindon boss was sacked for causing chaos in the dressing room.

This leads me onto the point that Ellis Short has to take some blame for actually hiring the furious Di Canio. Short must have done his homework on his new club manager and he knew what he bargained for after his fist spell as a manager at Swindon when he frequently argued with his players and caused a rift between him and mainly his goalkeeper.

Unless, as expected, he appointed Paolo for just the end of last season to spark a reaction in the players after a run of disappointing performances. However, it didn’t work for long because in the aftermath of his sacking; we have learnt that a player rebellion took place therefore the board felt under even more pressure with the majority of the employees refusing to work for Di Canio.

Now that is player power.

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