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Fired: Sunderland ‘has parted company’ with Paolo Di Canio

Sep 22, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT


Confirming the inevitable, Sunderland announced via their Twitter feed late Sunday that manager Paolo Di Canio has been fired, ending a 12-game run that saw the former Swindon Town boss win only two of his Premier League matches with the club.

With the Black Cats off to a 0-4-1 start (leaving Di Canio 2-7-3 since being hired late last season), this moved was destined to happen, especially after Saturday’s 3-0 loss at previous winless West Bromwich Albion. As Di Canio spent his time post-match interacting via hand signals with Sunderland’s beleaguered traveling support, it was hard to imagine Di Canio surviving the club’s deteriorating situation. After five rounds, the team was in last place, their -8 goal difference double that of the league’s next-worst side.

On Sunday, the club decided to take swift action:

The club simultaneously posted a statement on its web site announcing Kevin Ball will assume interim responsibilities:

Sunderland AFC confirms that it has parted company with head coach Paolo Di Canio this evening.

Kevin Ball will take charge of the squad ahead of Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup game against Peterborough United and an announcement will be made in due course regarding a permanent successor.

The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paolo and his staff and wishes them well for the future.

Between his behavior as a player and his authoritarian ways as a coach, Di Canio was always a controversial hire. His fascist political leanings also complicated matters, alienating many of the club’s support. There were no extra-competitive reasons to keep the controversial Italian.

Still, when he managed to keep Sunderland in the Premier League last season, it seemed Di Canio would have more time than this. He completely overhauled the squad this summer, with seven of the 14 players used on Saturday new to the club. Unfortunately, that overhaul produced the league’s worst defense, with the Black Cats’ three goals tying them for worst attack in the Premier League.

With the club’s terrible start, Ellis Short and Margaret Byrn couldn’t wait. And who can blame them? There were no indications the situation would get better. And as a result, the Black Cats are now in search of a coach.

  1. kirielson - Sep 22, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Should have put money on who was leaving first on Di Canio.

    Anyway, Hopefully, Altidore can get better and help out, or else move to a new place.

  2. hjworton46 - Sep 22, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    THe idea that 12 games is enough to judge the work of a manager is ludicrous. Shame on Sunderland, they’ll be relegated anyway.

  3. hildezero - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Sky Bet’s oddsmakers have three coaches that American soccer fans are familiar with of taking the job at Sunderland. Jürgen Klinnsman, Bob Bradley, and the one with the most chances, Bruce Arena. I doubt that any of these coaches would leave for a hard job.

    • talgrath - Sep 22, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      I could see Bruce taking the job if the money was right and they were willing to wait until the MLS season, but at this point, no.

    • braxtonrob - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:29 AM

      Sky Bet is on CRACK. Klinsmann and Bradley are the LEAST likely to leave (Nat’l. Team jobs) for Sunderland.
      Also, Bruce Arena has (in addition to MLS playoffs?) Champions League (likely through next year); I SERIOUSLY doubt he’s going to leave MLS for Sunderland at this time. {I agree he can be tempted, but I don’t see him going for it.}

  4. pjbowmaster - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Klinsmann is not going anywhere. Why would he leave now having qualified for the World Cup? Bradley would go for sure if Egypt are eliminated. Arena??? I think that ship has sailed.

  5. mdac1012 - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    I don’t see Sutherland really having any interest in Arena or Bradley. Klinnsman, sure, but I don’t think he would leave the USMNT with the WC next year and for Sutherland. After the cup, I would think Klimnsman, having coached Bayern Munich, and two high profile national teams would hold out for a “bigger” job.

    • mdac1012 - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      (sic) Sunderland not Sutherland. Damn auto spell!

    • braxtonrob - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:35 AM

      Arena is the most decorated coach in MLS history (albeit short). If they don’t have interest then they’re simply not aware of him (which would be pathetic if they purport an int’l. scope when looking).

      You’re exactly right about Klinsmann, although I think there is actually ZERO chance of him going to the EPL (or BPL, or whatever you want to call it).
      He’s from Germany and has an American wife; why again would he go to England?!?

      • mdac1012 - Sep 23, 2013 at 6:53 AM

        Being the most decorated coach in MLS history doesn’t carry much weight in England. MLS is viewed as as a second rate league by them. If guys like Beckham and Keane come out and support Arena that might mean something, but I think Sunderland is looking at Europe when they refer to international search, not the US.

      • schmutzdeck - Sep 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Arena is 6 feet tall. That is not short.

        The owner, the guy who fired Paolo, is an American and is very likely to be aware of Bruce. But I doubt the Galaxy would let Arena go without a big fight.

        Also taking over for Di Canio now is a poisoned chalice. The transfer window is closed and the team is in the middle of a makeover. By the time January rolls around Sunderland could be done.

        There are a lot of downsides to this particular job.

  6. dalecooperscoffee - Sep 22, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I agree with hjworton. It’s disgusting to think they they would sack a manager – that they appointed – after only 12 games.

    They made the decision to retain him for this season, backed him in the transfer market and sacked him so early in the season. Disgraceful.

    • danielofthedale - Sep 22, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      The only thing worse than making a bad hire is to stick with him after you realize what a mistake you made. The season is not lost yet and di Canio was never the man for the job and has proven it.

      I mean if you hire a pizza chef and he burns every pizza for a solid week you don’t need to give him here more weeks to keep burinf pizza. You fire him as soon as you know it’s not going to work. That’s all Sunderland have done.

  7. braxtonrob - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    Somebody in MLS please hire this guy, he’s WAY too much fun to watch to be without a job right now.

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