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Will Sunderland Fans Stick With Di Canio's Madness?
Paolo Di Canio's plans to rebuild will likely bring positivity and excitement to Wearside, where Martin O'Neill's squad looked not just second-rate, but a majority appeared to have lost the passion for the fight.
However, his history with Swindon Town suggests this should in fact fill the Sunderland fans with dread.
By the end of his first transfer window in the summer of 2011, Di Canio had signed 15 players for the first team; only three of those are still at Swindon (four if you count Oliver Risser who was at loan with Aldershot who finished bottom of the football league).
Fortunately Di Canio was backed financially by Swindon to be able to ship those players out, bring in some more and correct the situation well enough to win promotion from League Two.
At Sunderland, however, no matter how well backed he may be, the prices of players at the highest level will not allow him the financial breathing room to recover from that kind of failure percentage in the transfer market.
Apart from his questionable transfer success, there is of course his excitable, almost manic, antics in the dug-out and the technical area.
There is no question they have been well received by Sunderland fans, especially his knee slide on the St James’ Park turf during the 3-0 win against the Mags.
Sunderland fans had become far too accustomed to the almost resigned nature of O’Neill towards the end of his reign.
However, as a former football manager who was scouting as Swindon two years ago told me: “It seems good fun for the first 15 minutes but then you realise the guy is just crazy.”
How long will it be before the impact of how up front and emotional the Italian is becomes either tiring or just plain fades into background noise due to its regularity?
As seen by the brewing row with the PFA, his approach almost makes as many enemies as it does friends among players in his dressing room.
The only player of the 12 ‘failed’ signings to still be playing at a similar level to Swindon is Leon Clarke who is now with Coventry.
He was released after an on pitch argument in his second game at the club – the second game at Swindon for both player and manager. Once again, if he manages to alienate players that he brings into Sunderland, they will be much harder and much more expensive to replace than they were at Swindon.
So while Di Canio’s initial impact was impressive, as a long-term solution it looks a worrying time for Sunderland fans.
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