Inspired? Disastrous? A Swindon Town Fan On Paolo Di Canio

My beloved Swindon Town were awful this season, but will next term under Paolo Di Canio be controversial, inspired, disastrous or all three? I can't wait to find out....
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
8
My beloved Swindon Town were awful this season, but will next term under Paolo Di Canio be controversial, inspired, disastrous or all three? I can't wait to find out....

My beloved Swindon Town were awful this season, but will next term under Paolo Di Canio be controversial, inspired, disastrous or all three? I can't wait to find out...

The reaction in the office said it all. “Legend!” shouted one. “Incredible lunacy,” said another. “He’ll be great on the right wing,” quipped someone else. Two more simply laughed.

This is what happens when your football team appoints Paolo Di Canio as manager.

The revelation of Di Canio’s arrival ended weeks of speculation following the welcomed separation between Swindon Town and temporary manager Paul Hart, the man who eventually took us down after a dismal season under Danny Wilson. Former Bristol Rovers manager Paul Trollope, whose dad holds the number of record appearances at the County Ground, was widely tipped to be a shoe-in to replace him. He was even spotted at our last few games taking notes – must have read: ‘this lot are terrible’ – but a reshuffling in the boardroom has seen caution make way for a more maverick approach.

The club welcomed other applicants, which has served us well in the past. Lou Macari, Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, Dennis Wise and, er, Maurice Malpas have all cut their teeth in SN1, and the calibre of names that threw their hat into the ring – a Fedora? – suggests the job is a still a decent gig, despite our League Two status.

The club should have paraded all the applicants like housemates entering Big Brother. Some would have received the obligatory boos (Graham Rix) and cheers (Glenn Hoddle). Some, like Dietmar Hamann, would receive excitable claps. Di Canio? ‘We’re live on TV, please do not swear’.

Di Canio seems the greatest risk (Hamann has at least coached in the Football League), but I’ve played enough terrible poker to know that the bigger the risk, the greater the reward. And you only have to see ‘Swindon Town’ trending on Twitter to see what sort of interest and reaction he has generated already, and not just in Wiltshire.

As one fan tweeted this morning: “Controversial? Yes. Inspired? Possibly. Disastrous? Again, possibly. Dull? Very definitely not. God bless Swindon Town.”

Most fans are excited. Me too. I think. Is this how it feels to do a bungee jump? I’m excited and petrified in equal measure. It could be amazing, but what if it goes wrong?

All I know is that last season was so humourless, gutless and uninspiring it was like watching an episode of Hollyoaks. A big shake up was needed, and Di Canio’s arrival will be like splashing cold water in the face.

Can he manage? Who knows, but he certainly seems to think so – he has ‘Dux’, Latin for ‘leader’, tattooed on his arm – and while he lacks experience, there’s no question he will command respect in the dressing room (would you mess with him?)

He’s passionate, he has great contacts, he has inspired some (ask Mark Noble) and has a penchant for hard work. There’ll be no room for cliques or shirkers. I’m hoping he’ll not only galvanise a group of players who underperformed last year but also persuade key players thinking they’re too good for League Two to right last season’s wrongs. It goes without saying we’re expecting some interesting signings, too. And Christ knows how excitable he’ll be when we play Oxford. Oh, and he can sing.

Putting aside what he’ll make of Crawley or Morecambe on a Tuesday night, his extreme political beliefs don’t sit well with some, yet I wonder how those fans would have reacted had Hoddle returned? I suspect Di Canio’s arrival will put more bums on seats at Swindon Town than the other way around. The board has said they’re not worried, but the appointment won’t be met with universal approval.

I’m more worried about short-term success and Di Canio heading East along the M4 to east London at the first opportunity. He’s made no secret of wanting the Hammers’ hotseat to himself.

As one fan tweeted this morning: “Controversial? Yes. Inspired? Possibly. Disastrous? Again, possibly. Dull? Very definitely not. God bless Swindon Town.”

Amen, brother.

Click here for more Swindon Town stories

Click here for more Football and Sport stories

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook