I CAN’T help but think that some time soon it’s all going to kick-off at the Stadium of Light.
I genuinely hope that I’m wrong, but sooner or later something has got to give and Paolo Di Canio’s disciplinarian approach means it’s going to end in tears for one or both sides.
Di Canio deserves to be applauded for some of what he has achieved during his time on Wearside, and there’s no doubt his knee-sliding, fist-pumping passion has won over many supporters.
You can understand why many fans are delighted by his passionate, no-nonsense views on how to change their beloved club from the bottom up.
But you have to wonder just how far he can keep going.
As a journalist, there’s an argument that I should be lapping it up.
Paolo’s rants make for great headlines, and great copy. However, I can’t help but think he could do with toning it down a bit.
You can’t deny the passion Di Canio feels for his job and for football, and that is something many supporters can identify with.
After another miserable season, Sunderland fans want to hear what is going to be done to put things right, and laying down the law to what they see as “overpaid” and “over-pampered” stars was always going to go down well with them.
I’m not saying Di Canio is wrong to want to put things right or to take a tough line with the players.
But apart from making headlines, and pleasing fans, what does washing your dirty linen in public achieve?
If players need to be told some cold hard truths then he can do that on the training pitch or in the changing rooms not through the back pages.
Like I say, as a professional journalist maybe I should celebrating such a fine source of copy, but that only benefits me, not the men and women who pay their hard-earned cash to back their club.
Apparently, Di Canio’s approach has already upset some of the players, and while no one is suggesting mutiny or revolution on Wearside, how long can he continue to publicly blast his team before he loses the dressing room?
I want Di Canio to be a success at Sunderland, and if he has to rule with an iron fist to do so, fair enough.
But I don’t repeatedly want to hear what’s not good enough.
I want to see what he’s done to change it, and how it’s paying off.
Seeing Sunderland in the headlines for performing on the pitch would be a far better legacy for Di Canio than a few well-meant passionate rants.
- GARY FOSTER