Last night fiery Italian Paolo Di Canio resigned from Swindon Town citing off-the-field events and “broken promises” as reasons behind his decision. With the League One club fighting a £9m unsecured debt a number of developments are said to have angered Di Canio with concerns for the clubs future.
The catalyst speeding up rumours of Di Canio’s resignation is thought to have been Sir William Patey’s decision to put the club up for sale just over three months after becoming the club’s Chairman. On January 7th Di Canio had publicly stated that he would invest £30,000 of his own money to keep the players that he had signed on loan. Barely 27 days later and Swindon Town FC were sold to a local consortium, subject to Football League approval.
The beginning of the end for Di Canio appeared to have occurred on the same day, when star winger Matt Ritchie was sold to Bournemouth for £500,000. A transfer that was never communicated to the manager. One day later Di Canio’s attempts to sign three players were blocked by the Football League. It sparked Di Canio to announce that he was “considering his future” at the club. A statement confirmed by the Swindon Advertiser on Monday, when Di Canio said: "Last Tuesday, February 12, I formally confirmed my resignation as manager of Swindon Town Football Club with immediate effect.
"In my previous press statement on February 1, I said that I was considering my future, as my position with the club had become untenable, after I found out that Matt Ritchie had been sold without my consent.
"As I had previously stated, there have been a number of broken promises made by the club over the time that I have been manager of Swindon Town.”
Despite that statement the Italian claimed to have since had a change of heart, following discussions with his representatives regarding the clubs future. Apparently Di Canio had decided that he would stay at Swindon if the Football League agreed to the purchase of the club by new owners by 17:00 GMT (Monday.)
As such an agreement was not reached causing Di Canio to confirm his notice. "I've been told approval has not been granted yet and therefore my temporary arrangement has ended and my resignation stands."
Di Canio’s resignation will signal a sad loss for the English Football League. The fiery Italian had made a very successful, if not tumultuous start to life as a manager. Di Canio took over the Robins in May 2011, following their relegation to League Two. He lead them to promotion as champions last season, guided them to the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, and they are currently sixth in League One with 55 points. As is always the case with Di Canio there have also been moments verging on the ridiculous, including very public spats with his players, threats to fine his entire team, and buying pizza’s for fans that helped clear the clubs pitch of snow.
With such a noticeable beginning to his managerial career it is certain that Di Canio won’t be jobless for long. One team that he will inevitably become linked with him will be former club West Ham United. To most Hammers fans Di Canio is a tattooed right-wing god after scoring 48 times in 118 appearances for the London club. Football can be a fickle game, despite ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce overseeing promotion back to the Premier League and almost certainly attaining Premiership safety, it would only take a bad run of results before West Ham fans begin chanting the name of their former hero louder than ever before.
‘Big Sam’ will not admit any immediate fear of Di Canio’s future arrival at West Ham but, surely it’s only a matter of time? In my eyes Allardyce would be foolish not to be worried, or at the very least excreting a small amount of perspiration from his heavily surrounded arm pits.
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