Skip to content

Sunderland player revolt prompted the firing of Paolo Di Canio

Sep 23, 2013, 8:55 AM EDT

Paolo Di Canio's departure was not a huge surprise. What now for Sunderland? Paolo Di Canio's departure was not a huge surprise. What now for Sunderland?

Details are emerging that Sunderland’s decision to sack Paolo Di Canio came after a player revolt on the training ground.

The Guardian reports that Di Canio called a meeting at the Sunderland practice facilities on Sunday morning to discuss the prior day’s 3-0 loss at West Bromwich Albion.

At the meeting Di Canio is said to have launched into one of his infamous criticisms of players when he was forcefully brought to a halt by the words of Lee Cattermole. The midfielder, who Di Canio stripped of his captaincy as well as his No. 6 shirt this past summer, told the manager that he was the one to blame and that the players had lost faith in his controversial methods.

Details of the ensuing row have yet to come to light but one can imagine it was not a pretty sight. One way or another, details of the bust up were relayed on to Sunderland owner Ellis Short and upon hearing the news, the American decided pull the plug on Di Canio.

Di Canio’s dubious methods have been well publicized.

In addition to a complete overhaul of the squad that brought in 14 new faces, Di Canio attempted to revolutionize the culture at Wearside by dramatically intervening in his players’ training ground routine.


Lee Cattermole, stripped of his captaincy, had seen enough of Paolo Di Canio.

Di Canio wanted his club to be the fittest in the league and was known to put his players through grueling fitness sessions during which the Italian manager had been known to do just about anything – bark, scream, play himself as the striker, referee and play practical jokes.

Lifestyle and unique dietary restrictions were also implemented as Di Canio banned cell phones, ketchup, mayonnaise, ice in coca-cola and singing.”This is a complete revolution,” Di Canio said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph this past August. “It’s not just in the way we play, but in how we approach everything. ”

Di Canio was under the impression that his methods were being heeded. “Maybe one or two will never understand,” he admitted, “[but] in general, the players are getting the message.”

And so, five matches into the season and stuck at the bottom of the Premier League table on a single point, it seems the Sunderland players have, indeed, gotten the message.

It just wasn’t the one Di Canio was preaching.

  1. midtec2005 - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Interesting… hopefully this will lead to some more cohesive play. Jozy has been on an island the few times I’ve watched.

  2. godsholytrousers - Sep 23, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Oh what a horrible mistake Jozy made hitching his rising star to this sinking ship.

    • mikeevergreen - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      That would depend upon who they choose to replace Dick Anio with. This town could stand an American managing…Jason Kreis contract with RSL is up at the end of the season.

  3. player169 - Sep 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    The 4-4-1-1 looked extremely ugly. The midfield is unable to move the ball and the back line is weak. Jozy and Adam Johnson are the only talent in the lineup (when he was in the lineup). Jozy has had majority of the dangerous opportunities they’ve had this season, so he has until the Jan transfer window to lock down the starting spot. They really need to get more talent in their midfield and at least play a 4-4-2, so that Jozy isn’t on an island (as mentioned). He can’t provide any pressure up top when on defense because he is alone and he is constantly having to come back into his own half just to attempt to provide an outlet…

    It’s ugly…

  4. David Eric Cummins - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I didn’t expect Di Canio to last the season, but I never thought he’d be sacked after five games.

  5. hildezero - Sep 23, 2013 at 1:37 PM


    I don’t think Kreis would like to go to Sunderland right now especially when he’s already spoken with Manchester City to become the coach for NYCFC in future.

  6. talgrath - Sep 23, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    A fascist that is obsessed with controlling diet and behavior? Huh, who would have thought of that? Sure, you always hear kooky things about foreign coaches in the EPL, but usually it is tabloid trash; I guess Di Canio really was a control freak. Can Sunderland bounce back with a new manager on short notice? The season is young, but finding a good manager mid season in Europe is difficult. More importantly for US fans, can Jozy Altidore finally get the support he needs to put the ball in the net?

    • schmutzdeck - Sep 23, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      You may remember that the Sporting News reported the same situation occurring with the USMNT and JK, though there apparently was no open revolt.

      I guess the USMNT players are more chickensh++t than their entitled BPL counterparts.

      Cattermole? Interesting name and mediocre player.

      Hopefully the next manager is a real hard ass, which is what this lame bunch needs.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Analyzing PL clubs in the transfer window