Yet another managerial dismissal was seen this week as Martin O’Neill was sacked by Sunderland after their 1-0 loss on Saturday to Manchester United.
The decision to get rid of O’Neill with so few games remaining in the season seems a strange one; is it possible for a new manager to turn the fortunes of a side around in suck a short space of time?
Just a few short hours later the club announced that they had appointed former Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio as their head coach on a two-and-a-half year deal.
This is the Italian’s second managerial job after he guided Swindon to promotion from League Two and was flying high with them in League One before leaving the club earlier this year.
Di Canio has received a reputation of being a larger than life manager with a fiery temperament who is not afraid to speak his mind, much like he was as a player. And I assume it is the hope of the board at Sunderland that his appointment will fire up the players and get them to dish out strong enough performances to see them survive the relegation battle this season.
The problem I have with this appointment is simply this; what would bring a club to the stage where they would consider a manager whose only achievement thus far is winning League Two. Is that really an achievement that makes a manager worthy of a job in the top flight? There are so many managers that are out of work at the moment with far more impressive credentials than Di Canio – Brian McDermott and Alex Mcleish are two names that spring to mind immediately.
There is no denying the amount of trouble the Black Cats find themselves in at this stage in the season – they are just a point off of safety – and face tough opposition down at the bottom from Wigan and Aston Villa, and perhaps Reading and QPR on a lesser scale but in my opinion they are all but relegated now.
Now I may be wrong, Di Canio may be a revelation at Sunderland and keep them up before taking them to new heights next season, but it’s something I just can’t see happening.
The club have also lost former Labour Party MP David Miliband who has stepped down from his position at Sunderland after the appointment of Di Canio as the elder Miliband brother does not agree with the Italian’s political ideas.
With so much changed caused by the dismissal of O’Neill the thing that will be interesting to see is if there are any side effects from so much change occurring at one time, especially such a stressful time in the season.
In my opinion Sunderland would have been better off keeping O’Neill until the end of the season and then accessing his position once it was clear where they would finish.
So what do you Black Cats fans think? Was getting rid of O’Neill the right decision or should they have kept hold of him? And were there any managers you would have preferred to see in charge?
One thing that Sunderland fans can be guaranteed with Di Canio in charge is that the North-East is about to get a whole lot more entertaining.