VITAL SWINDON HALL OF SHAME: Paolo Di Canio
In our inaugural Vital Swindon Town Hall Of Shame Article we would like to induct our first member. None other than former Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio. We understand that it will be a controversial choice and perhaps viewed as sour grapes but, we will outline our reasons why below.
Following relegation form League One and the departure of the completely inept Paul Hart, Town needed something to galvanise the side and to get the buzz back at the County Ground, Enter madcap West Ham Paolo Di Canio who stepped into the breaches of management for the first time.
Don`t get us wrong, Under Paolo we had some great times, the win against Wigan, the call to arms following the Oxford away loss, the win against Stoke, a JPT Final appearance, the League Two title however we also had some unsavoury and to be honest cringe worthy moments.
Di Canio arrived and was set with the task of getting a side together to compete for League Two promotion. With most of the squad from the relegation season before bottling it and running with their tail between their legs, the task was huge.
Di Canio went along and signed Italians, Alberto Comazzi, Mattia Lanzano and Alesasndro Cibocchi as well as Medhi Kerrouche, Oliver Risser, Ibrahim Itiku and Etienne Esajas. Town fans were a bit perplexed due to the lack of names that had Football League experience but Comazzi looked a belting signing having played in the upper echelons of Italian Football.
It wasn`t long before the fans realised that most of these players were pants and would never do anything in English football. Di Canio eventually changed tact and brought in players with experience in the English Leagues with Alan Connell, Alan McCormack, Joe Devera, Raffa De Vita and Leon Clarke joining the fray.
The English Players apart from Clarke all made a good impression whilst Town were spending stupid amounts of money to buy success. The board at the time, wanting to make amends would do anything Di Canio wanted. They knew he was good to get Town in the papers and on the telly but Di Canio had a knack of falling out with his own players who didn`t do as he said and when he said.
Such was the inability of Di Canio to spot a good player when he arrived, Town actually ended up paying off most of the players contracts whom he had signed in pre-season. Ibrahim Itiku who signed a 2 year contract with Town NEVER played a game for Swindon. Comazzi was clumsy and got red carded on his debut and Leon Clarke was just a man who would rather moan more than Karl Pilington abroad. Di Canio would go on to fall out with cult hero, top goal scorer Kerrouche and have a famous incident with petulant cry baby striker Leon Clarke.
Town would go on to win League Two in their first season after bringing in Luke Rooney, Paul Benson and Wesley Foderingham which made him a hero among the Town faithful for getting the job done first time,
Di Canio looking to get Town to the Championship, went out and spent a load more money the following pre-season bringing in Gary Roberts who would go on to be absolutely rubbish, James Collins, who would be Town`s top goal scorer despite hardly starting, Tommy Miller who arrived at games on a zimmer frame, Alan Navarro who has a season ticket in the medical room, Andy Williams who couldn`t hit the side of a barn and Troy Archibald-Henville who has been crocked ever since arriving at the County Ground.
Prior to the season it transpire that Di Canio fell out with captain Paul Caddis and publically humiliated him despite singing his praises for leading the side to the League Two titl just weeks earlier. Caddis sadly would never play for Town again and was shipped out on a season long loan to Birmingham where he blossomed.
Shortly thereafter in the first months of the season, Di Canio demanded more loan players but launched into a tirade about the famous "EMBARGO" that Town had over them for what it seemed like forever due to constant reminders from the Italian. Paolo Di Canio had a set budget for the season, he had spent it within 3 months of the season starting. Ok we will be fair he didn`t expect to have to shell out the level of compensation due to James Collins and Troy Archibald-Henville.
During this time he would fall out with Alan Connell, Paul Benson and Luke Rooney, all whom were sent packing on loan or permanent deals.
Bizzarely Di Canio would fall out with Wes Foderingham his star signing at Preston and continue to moan about the transfer embargo that he said "changed the plan and moved the goal posts". Di Canio would stay preaching loyalty to the fans and the club but that would all change when Andrew Black the clubs majority shareholder replaced Di Canio ally Jeremy Wray with diplomat Sir William Patey.
Di Canio would continue to go mental in the press complaining about the lack of funds available to him despite spending millions since his arrival to the club.
The final straw for Di Canio was when he agreed to bring Marlon Pack and Bradley Wright-Phillips to the County Ground on transfer deadline day and the deals fell through as the new ownership of the club hadn`t been completed.
News then filtered through that Swindon Town were near administration due to Di Canio`s spending and star winger Matt Ritchie was sold for a paltry £500,000 just to keep the club going. Di Canio was raging and quit shortly after saying his contract had been breached and that he was leaving as he had been disrespected and not consulted on the sale of Ritchie. All this despite fans pleading with PDC to stay, he took his ball and ran as the money dried up despite saying how loyal he was.
Shortly after his departure, and with the club being top of League One, Paolo returned to the County Ground at night and cleared his office out with his assistant manager Fabrizio Piccaretta, giving Paolo one last piece of publicity he so craves.
Due to his spending which nearly bankrupt the club and lack of loyalty despite demanding it from the players and fans alike, we enter Paolo Di Canio into our hall of shame despite his achievements on the pitch.
Since leaving Swindon the Paolo Di Canio circus has moved to Sunderland. They are rock bottom of the Premier League as Paolo once again continued his tradition of high player turn over and falling out with players and is making a right cock up of that club who looked destined for the Championship should things carry on as they are.