Does Di Canio's Sunderland reign resemble a certain comic character?

Paolo Di Canio At Upton Park

For some people, Di Canio's reign could be regarded as comical.

How can Paulo Di Canio’s role as Sunderland manager be summed up? Wild? Bonkers? Mad? All of those mentioned and more?

It really is hard to put into words. You can talk about his record that the two wins after his arrival managed to secure Premier League status for Sunderland, the catalogue of players that have been signed and let go by the Italian, or the retched start to the season that means the Black Cats are firmly rooted to the foot of the table.

Yet one can’t help but draw a couple of parallels with a film, Mike Bassett: England Manager – and the TV series that followed it.

For those who haven’t seen the film a) why haven’t you? and b) this does contain spoilers.

Bassett was an entertaining character that did a few odd things.

Whatever you say about Di Canio’s management, a lot of people will say his character is an entertaining one in that he has done some incredibly odd things. He has told a referee to send him off, his goal celebrations have been nothing short of hilarious, and he has done some odd things off the pitch.

Though he has stopped short of stealing the stoppage time board from the fourth official to indicate the final whistle should be blown, nor has he secured something resembling the Mr Clutch Cup.

Yet after the final whistle of what proved to be his last game as Sunderland boss, a 3-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion, he went over to the travelling supporters to communicate with them, akin to Bassett before the England team coach departed the stadium after a 0-0 draw with Egypt in the film.

Di Canio seemed to have run out of ideas, he may have wanted to hear something constructive from his fans. Did he get it? We don’t know, but at least he didn’t throw a certain expletive towards the fans like Bassett after asking the question “Do you think it’s clever swearing and shouting at people?”

Have we seen unusual press conferences that have been funny to watch? Yes. Has he had a fit of rage at half time despite being 2-0 down to a side that he thinks they should be beating? If there are such tales they could be revealed in the newspapers over the coming days and weeks.

It has a reign that aside from the football has been produced a lot of amusement, but maybe not for the Sunderland fans, and not for Di Canio himself as his chance to turn things around has been denied.

image: © Hilton Teper

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