Paolo Di Canio appointed Sunderland manager, what can we expect?
In one of the season's stranger appointments, Sunderland have looked to the charismatic Paolo Di Canio to get them out of trouble.
By Adrian Collins
While the sacking of Martin O'Neill came as a shock to some, clearly the Sunderland board had their man in mind when they made the decision.
By Sunday evening Sunderland had selected the charismatic Paolo Di Canio to replace O'Neill, despite the fact that the Italian only has managerial experience at the lower level with Swindon Town, who he left earlier this season after a huge public argument with the new owners.
He's certainly a combustible character, and his managerial style will either really push certain players on, or completely rub them up the wrong way.
In September of 2012, he subbed off his own goalkeeper, Wes Foderingham, in the 21st minute of a game against Preston after he conceded twice, and added that he was “the worst player I've ever seen in a football match”. Motivational stuff clearly, as Wes clearly shows by his reaction in this video.
We all heard the tales of Roy Keane in his time in charge at Sunderland leaving players behind after they were late for the bus, but Di Canio takes a different approach when a member of the squad does something he's not happy with: He fights them.
While this type of behaviour is obviously brilliant for us to talk about, it might not have the desired effect on a bunch of players who have greater technical skill and require more precise coaching than those at Swindon Town would.
Even those inside the club are not entirely happy, as Sunderland board member David Miliband has left the club as a result of the move to hire Di Canio, citing his previous political statements and views showing his admiration for Benito Mussolini as the main reason behind his resignation.
Still, those inside the club have gambled that the short-term motivational impact of appointing someone like Di Canio will give Sunderland the impetus to pull clear of the relegation zone, which is quite a gamble on their part.
In short, what can we expect from the Italian's time in charge? A bloody interesting last seven games of Sunderland's season we imagine, with a few bizarre press conferences thrown in for good measure. Maybe we can even expect the odd song out of him.