As Paolo Di Canio waits for his next job, Vincent Ralph asks if he can be the short-term fix many clubs need throughout the season.
There are two types of football manager – short-term fixes and long-term solutions.
During his brief but eventful spell at the Stadium of Light, Paolo Di Canio proved himself to be a perfect example of the former. He was a fire fighter, a motivator, a man who ingratiated himself to his team by giving the persona of being one of the boys.
He ran down the touchline, sliding on the knees of suit trousers not designed for such things, joining team bundles and playing the 12th man to perfection.
And it worked, as Sunderland avoided relegation and the Mackems found a new managerial hero. And yet there had already been glimpses of the temperament that made him such a good footballer but such an unpredictable boss.
Given free rein to sign a selection of players best described as ‘miscellaneous’, Di Canio replaced those he deemed unprofessional or inappropriate, and watched as they fell to the bottom of the league once his job description had changed from saviour to team-builder.
While his motivation was undoubtedly vital in inspiring last season’s victories over Newcastle United and Everton, the gloss had since worn off.
So where next for the short-term fix; because you sense he is far from finished in the game, and there will be plenty of teams in desperate need of someone who can shake off the lethargy and shake up the troops.
Championship side Bolton Wanderers could soon be considering alternatives to Dougie Freedman, as they find themselves deep in an early but not-to-be-ignored relegation scrap. While Sunderland’s Premier League rivals Fulham continue to wobble, and may need a short sharp shock in the form of the feisty Italian.
He may surprise us all and stick with a job for the long haul, building a successful side for the future and waiting around to watch his efforts unfold.
Or he may continue to be the emergency contact of frantic chairmen, saving the day but next time leaving before the sun sets on an admirable but fleeting achievement.
What do you think the future holds for the Italian?
image: © Hilton Teper