Paolo di Canio: head coach as fascist

One of my sons is a Sunderland fan. Since he’s in New York, I haven’t had a chance yet to ask him what he thinks of the appointment of Paolo di Canio as the team’s head coach. I know what David Milliband thinks of it, since, although he’s about to depart for New York himself, he was since 2011 a director on the Sunderland board. Now he’s resigned over “past political statements” that di Canio has made.
Which were? Well, Virginia, Paolo has declared himself to be a fascist. When he played for Lazio, he was pictured giving a Nazi salute to adoring fans.  He has made no bones about being “a fascist but not a racist”.  And he has received support from an unlikely quarter – Stan Collymore, former star of Nottingham Forest and other clubs. According to today’s Guardian, Collymore has tweeted : 
“Faux outrage as always on twitter. No Italian ex footballer ever called me N*****. Just plenty from the wonderful UK shires.”
Odd, the sources from which sane comment comes. 
Which leads me to ask when it was the great British public started judging their sporting men and women by their political stance (di Canio)? Or private life (John Terry/George Best)? Or drinking habits? (Paul Gasgoine, Best again) or their belief in reincarnation (Glen Hoddle)? The defence is that these sporting heroes are models for youngsters,. True enough. But they’re modelled for their playing skills – not for their wife-beating or thoughts on the after-life. If a brain surgeon is operating on me, I just want him to be really good with that scalpel or drill. His views on other matters are his affair. 
Paolo di Canio will be judged (I hope) on whether he can perform the miracle of keeping Sunderland from dropping into a lower division next season. That’s it – not, as Collymore puts it, “faux outrage”.

17 Responses to Paolo di Canio: head coach as fascist

  1. Anonymous April 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    The brits are a strange bunch. You stick yer mitt in the air and your a devil,mutilate children in Afghanistan and your a hero.

  2. cathy mcallister April 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Cannot believe I am actually responding to a post about footy!I am bored by football-possibly the only thing more dull would be celebs/reality TV. However,while this boyo has been given the task to manage some footballers and this is what he should be judged on I also think that he needs to keep his politics off the pitch. He did give the Nazi salute to fans on the pitch so if he doesn't want people bringing his political views into play then he should leave them in the locker room. All these football types are paid too much and spend too much time crying/throwing their toys outta the pram. Poor wee loves!

  3. giordanobruno April 1, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    You have to feel sorry for the Sunderland fans though.
    No matter how you dress it, up your manager thinks Mussolini was a pretty cool guy.
    There is no way to put a good spin on that.

  4. cathy mcallister April 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Yeah-glad I'm not a fan! Like it or not lots of people do look up to footballers so when they are in involved in racism, misogynistic behaviour or violence it is unpalatable. I know strictly speaking he is a manager but wouldn't want a team I played for or supported to be linked.
    The reality is that these people are not merely judged on their skills with a ball. Unlike the heart surgeon who works in anonymity they demonstrate their skill in front of the world's gaze and do are judged on note then that.

  5. cathy mcallister April 2, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Lol -that last line should be,'and so are judged on more than that.' Bloody predictive text!

  6. Anonymous April 2, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    As much as I detest Fascism I must say this guy David Milliband might have more moral authority if he wasn't instrumental trying to have the law in the UK changed so no Israeli politican or IDF member could be arrested on UK soil for war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza even after the Chief UN Investigator Richard Goldstone found that they were guilty in 2008.Milliband at the time said the government is “urgently” looking into reforming the law after a UK court issued an arrest warrant for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Israel was a “close friend” of the UK's and stressed he was keen to “avoid this sort of situation arising again”. Israel of course denied claims by human rights groups and the UN investigator Richard Goldstone that its forces committed war crimes during the Gaza operation .Livni changed her mind about going to the UK so the change in law wasn't necessary but you could hardly see him do that for any other country.Like one eminent judge once said “when you come to court looking for justice you must also have clean hands”

  7. giordanobruno April 2, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    I suppose one could argue there is a difference between opinions and behaviour.
    He can believe whatever he wants, but when he starts trying to march across the River Wear to invade Newcastle then we should be concerned.
    Anon 10:58
    Any thoughts on Di Canio or would you rather rant about David Milliband?

  8. Anonymous April 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Is this the same Labour Party that used to scream blue murder about the blacklisting of left-wing activists by the Economic League. The Economic League used to keep thousands of files on what they called subversives. These files were then made available to employers so they could decide if they wanted to employ someone or not. Gordon Brown and about 40 Labour MP's all had files kept on them by the Economic League.

  9. Anonymous April 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    To be fair to Mr Hoddle it wasn't his belief in reincarnation that got him into trouble. It was his belief than people who are disabled are being punished for crimes they may have committed in a former life.

  10. Anonymous April 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    No and yes.

  11. Anonymous April 3, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    You don't have to be an Einstein to understand my theory of relativity on this matter unless that is you are willfully ignorant.Not only is it hard to know which is worse a modern day adherent to Fascist thought or a would be enabler of war criminals to evade justice,both should hang their heads in shame and do some mea culpas.

  12. Anonymous April 3, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    For a good explanation of Di Canio and his past, i recommend this week's Guardian Football Weekly Podcast and the Times 'Game' Podcast.


  13. cathy mcallister April 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    You can indeed argue that and he is entitled to hold whatever opinion he wishes no matter how odious others find it. What irritated me about Di Canio was that he was acting all wounded that people were bringing his alleged political views into his appointment and that he felt like the two were unrelated. That would be OK had he not made that salute on the pitch during or after a match. HE was the one that chose to bring his politics into it by doing this so I don't really think he can whinge a about it now. Don't think an invasion is imminent!

  14. giordanobruno April 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Anon 06:40
    I'd hate to be out for a pint with you.
    “Nasty weather today”
    “Compared to what the U.S.did to Hiroshima it is nothing”
    “Did you see the match last night?”
    “How can you discuss football when Tony Blair has yet to be tried for his war crimes?”
    etc etc.

  15. Anonymous April 4, 2013 at 1:21 am #

    I will have you know Mr Brunus Nolanus that I am the best of craic even with obscurants like yourself although it might take more than a pint for you to recognise the error of your ways and speaking of Tony Blair if there was justice in this world he definitely would be heading for the International Court in the Hague.I will be returning to Ireland for the month of May holding court in McGrory's in Culdaff if you're not averse to some enlightenment, pro bono in your case ;)….

  16. giordanobruno April 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Obscurant indeed! I'm outraged.
    I'm simply pleading for people to stick to the point otherwise we will never put the world to rights.
    Sufficient onto the day is the evil thereof.
    If I make it to Culdaff will the refreshments be pro bono too?

  17. Anonymous April 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Of course,I would see it as a public service and bring the corner boy with you.