Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughDi Canio blocks his own route to the top (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Di Canio blocks his own route to the top (Video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Di Canio blocks his own route to the top (Video)

It should be of no surprise that Swindon Town’s hot-headed manager Paolo Di Canio has been in the headlines this week, the Italian courting controversy and talking-point like no other in the usually humdrum world of League One.

It can be said that lower league domestic football has rarely encountered a manager as confrontational as Di Canio, his year and a bit at the County Ground being ultimately succesful but unfortunately, and rather predictably from the openly-named fascist, littered with a series of misdemeanours that will eventually block off the fledgling manager’s natural route to the top.

His touchline spat with player Leon Clarke, accusations of racism from loanee Jonathon Tehoue and the odd dugout ban have all preceded this season’s whirlwind that has demoted Swindon’s decent opening season form in League One. Paul Caddis, Swindon’s highly rated right-back, managed to give an insight into the Italian’s short fuse that seemed to be operating shorter than normal in his second season.

Caddis had the unfortunate honour of falling on his manager’s bad side in pre-season and he was immediately packed off to Birmingham City on loan, but if that was a warning to other players that Di Canio would leave absolutely no margin for poor standards, then it has failed to be heeded.

In the Robin’s fourth game, last Saturday at Preston, Di Canio took exception to 21 year old goalkeeper Wes Foderingham’s concession of the first goal to Akpo Sodje. He was substituted straight away with the first half not even half-way gone and Swindon went on to lose 4-1. The manager was inevitably fuming, taking to the public hemisphere to call Foderingham “the worst professional” he has ever seen, amongst other barbs, as well as asking for an apology from his goalkeeper in exchange for his route back into the team.

The damage was done, Di Canio, the notorious volatile character, had handed another stick for those who target his spiky nature from the stands every week; every news outlet and every newspaper was broadcasting his extraordinary outburst all because of his reluctance to deal with matters in-house. One would be tempted to type “disciplinary” before matters in that sentence, but it would feel a rather bizarre way of describing something so trivial as conceding a simple goal. 

If Clarke and Caddis had given the prelude to case Foderingham, then it would be of no greater evidence of what will eventually hold Di Canio back in his attempts to climb the ladder. A promotion in his debut year as a manager suggests the talent is well in abundance, but the level headedness is not; a reflection of Di Canio as a player in truth, capable of a sublime volley against Wimbleodn for West Ham one minute, capable of pushing referee Paul Alcock down the next. Di Canio is simply too much of a sensitive issue for top level employees who pride the running of their clubs on a settled assurdness.

For a man who is passionately ingrained in politics and aware enough to win the fair play award when back at West Ham, surely the notion would not be lost on him that top level bosses would look to stay clear of such madness and erratic behaviour. Sir Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce and even Jose Mourinho have experienced success at the top level despite being controversial men, for they operate on the golden rule that squad disruptions must be sorted out of the view of the public eye. As long as Di Canio persists with the lunacy, then the risk becomes to great for a Premier League or even Championship chairman to lower the rope and elevate the ex-West Ham man back up to the top in a managerial capacity.

Four days after the Foderingham episode, Swindon travelled to rivals Oxford for a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie and Di Canio was at it again. In losing 1-0, the manager was not content to just go home and discuss matters in silence, instead he went on record to lay the blame at one of his players’ doors, again. This time, defender Aden Flint took the hit, “we lost because of him” being the words Di Canio used in a line that would deflate any hope that man-management is one of the Italian coach’s strengths.

Supporters at the County Ground may get fortunate in that Di Canio cutting off his own routes of progression may keep him at the Robins for a chance for him to climb the ladder with the League One club, yet with the frequency the manager overhauls his squad, chairman Jeremy Wray may even grow impatient with the constant attraction of headlines to his club and jettison the contentious manager himself.

It is certainly fun to watch is the Di Canio show at Swindon, but it’s cancerous to his ambitions. Whether he is too busy shouting enough to realise that is anybody’s guess.

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