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Di Canio out as Sunderland manager

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio holds his hands up in apology to fans

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Just five games into the 2013/2014 Premier League season, Sunderland have decided that’s it’s time for a change.

Sunderland announced on Sunday afternoon that they have parted ways with Paolo Di Canio, one day after a third successive loss that left the club bottom of the table with only one point this season. Reserve team coach Kevin Ball will manage the side on Tuesday when the Black Cats face Peterborough United in the League Cup.

Following the 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Di Canio walked over to the traveling Sunderland support and made a few gestures towards the fans, seeming to tell them to keep their chins up and continue supporting the club, while acknowledging that the team hadn’t played well this season. It’s likely that these actions, in addition with his other antics while manager, accelerated his departure from the club.

The former Lazio and Italy striker brought in 14 players including U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore this summer after saving the club late last season from relegation to the Championship.

Altidore has made four Premier League appearances so far this season, three of them starts, though his only goal in a Sunderland shirt came in the last round of the League Cup.


What do you think of this news? Are you surprised that Sunderland fired Di Canio so quickly? What does this mean for Altidore’s future at the club?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I have no idea whether this is good or bad for Jozy-depends on new manager and his own health/play, but at least I don’t have to implicitly support a fa$ci$t by hoping for Jozy to do well….

    on a side note, is it me or is “Americans Abroad” = lots of injured+lots of benched+ handful actually getting playing time…. the core of USMNT abroad not exactly in tip top shape right now

  2. It’s too bad that Bob Bradley is probably too focused on getting Egypt to the World Cup. He would be a great choice for Sunderland as he would bring stability and sanity. I think he might be the exact opposite of Di Canio in every way except for hairstyle.

  3. My thoughts:

    1) Better that it happened now than later;
    2) I think anyone that was hopeful about this situation was crossing their fingers that we would get the same same results from an eccentric Di Canio that we got from an eccentric Verbeek, did not happen, oh well
    3) It’s so early, if they make a smart hire, and are smart in January, they will be fine, but definitely some work to do;
    4) Next guy needs to do this…..


    Start pumping Jozy with the ball……….

  4. Jozy has already scored once (called back wrongly) and drawn a penalty (not called wrongly), so give it some time. Maybe a new philosophy more in line with coaching the players and less about baiting the fans and attending I-miss-Mussolini meetings will turn Sunderland around. There are a lot of new pieces at Sunderland, and you have to do work to get them together as a team. Obviously Di Canio didn’t do that.

  5. Nitpicking with the article a bit– Di Canio never played for the full men’s National Team. He is one of the highest profile players from that era that went uncapped.

  6. There were a lot of factors in Altidore’s decision to go to Sunderland… They paid the amount that AZ wanted and they put pressure on Altidore to take the deal. Az wanted to cash out on Altidore.

    The fact that De Canio is not a good coach has been obvious since he took the rains at Sunderland.

    My big beef and I have said this to the board many times. Di Canio had Altidore playing as a lone forward, up front, back to the goal with LITTLE support and service. Much like his stint at Hull.

    Altidore is best when he runs at goal. You look at his best goals at AZ and the are all runs into the box. There are some lay-offs and give and go’s, but he works very well with speedy wingers, smaller or withdrawn forwards or even two other strikers. But he does not and has not, played the striker/forward up top role, very well.

    Di Canio refused to change the formation. Sundeland kept loosing and now he’s history.

    Let’s hope the next coach actually goes and looks at AZ Alkmaar’s game films.

    • bottlcaps,

      So are you saying Sunderland has the personnel to not only replicate how AZ plays but can win in the EPL playing that way?

      Weren’t there a host of critics whining about how Dutch defenses were swiss cheese and that you couldn’t play the way AZ plays in a league with real defenders like they have in the EPL?

      • Sorry but making the move to a struggling EPL side on the eve of the World Cup was a disastrous move by Jozy. All those people saying he would score 15 goals were idiots or they never saw Sunderland play last year. There’s not many people who could score 15 on this squad unless they are a real individual creator and that is simply not Jozy’s game. If he and Fletcher were healthy they’d still struggle because of that midfield!

    • Unfortunately Sunderland’s midfield is so bad that playing 2 strikers means that they have to concede the middle of the pitch to the opposition.

  7. Can’t believe people are already judging Altidore’s move to Sunderland. It’s been five games! If he goes and scores in his next two or three games then the pendulum is going to swing all the way back. Let’s see what happens. I don’t expect whoever comes in to sit Jozy on the bench. I’m sure that whatever happens, he’s going to learn and grow as a player. People forget this now, but that otherwise terrible year at Hull is actually where Jozy started to develop holdup skills, which he really didn’t have before – his game was all about facing the goal before then.

    • It’s fair tp judge the move now….the results are clearly opposite to how we have seen him play….in addition, it is clear that sunderland is not a team that is built to jozy’s capabilities….this team has no midfield, thus no service….this was painfully obvious after one game….the only potential playmaker was sessegnon and sunderland let him go, then he turns around and scores against sunderland……

      • SD,

        You are making a good argument for firing Di Canio.

        That is not the same thing as judging Jozy’s move.

        It is way too early for that.

        Unless Di Canio was holding out, Jozy is clearly Sunderland’s best forward option and closest thing they have to a Christian Benteke.
        The transfer window is closed and there are still quite a few games before the next transfer window.

        So unless there is a better option to Jozy that Sunderland can either get on loan or who is out of contract, whoever is in charge next will be forced to figure out a way to get Jozy the help he needs to score goals, if they want to survive.

        At this point if Jozy can prove that he can score consistently in the BPL, then the move is a success.

    • 5 games is enough to judge a bust…take a look at the “Deuce is not playing against Galaxy” thread from yesterday. The posts there prove it.

    • I think it’s fair to judge the move. Going to an unstable situation with a crazy manager for a team fighting relegation is not a good move in the year before the World Cup. Throw in the fact that people like Tony Pulis are being linked to the job and it’s not a good thing (although Di Matteo is favorite and I think he’s a solid manager).

  8. I’m not too worried about Jozy. I didn’t want to see him in a relegation fight, which is where Sunderland were going to end up regardless of who was managing the club, but dude was scoring against Spain in the Confederations Cup when he was getting no playing time and having trouble finding the back of the net for the USMNT when he was scoring every week for his club. He’s a beast, will getatleast two goals in the World Cup and will be a top ten goal scorer in whatever league he plays in next year. He’s still a kid, already has great experience, and with Bradley has a huge upside for 2 more cycles.

  9. Holy Cr@p!! I know he’s a fascist lunatic., but you knew that before the season began. I know the team is awful right now but you knew it would take time to gel when you let that fascist lunatic sign 14 players in the off season. Not sure what changed here. Keep your coins up? That got him fired? Of Al the crazy $hit he’s said, THATS what got him fired? Odd. Not sure of this is good or bad for jozy. We will have to wait and see.

  10. A move from a team that barely survived relegation in the Eredivisie vs. a team that may barely survive in the EPL is a move up. Duh. Hope Jozy gets a few goals (that are allowed) this season and either that Sunderland hire a manager with his head further from his ass than PDC or Jozy gets a look from some of the folks he is playing against this year. Sunderland could use a good midfielder/distributor and I think a couple guys from MLS ought to get a look.

    • You are joking right? AZ finished 10th and we’re not in a regulation fight. They also qualified for Europa league, that would have been big to get Jozy into a tournament with AZ against non-Dutch defenses. Sunderland was only a step up because they are willing to pay more for the chance to win nothing than AZ are.

      • AZ finished in 10th place..6 points ahead of the relegation and only got to the Europa League because you won the Dutch Cup.

      • 6 points out of relegation compared to Sunderland’s 1. AZ had trouble last year but they are typically near the top of the table and in Europa League, which is more than Sunderland could ever hope for.

      • From what I remember, relegation was a real threat to AZ last year. 6 points ( 2 wins from relegation) is prima facie evidence of that statement. They went into Europa because they won the domestic. Don’t forget that Wigan won the domestic cup, but was still relegation fodder.

        I was not big on the Sunderland move, but although a few clubs had expressed interest in Jozy, only Sunderland (from what I read) made concrete bids (early). There might have been other suitors later ( i was hoping for Everton, Swansea in the EPL or the interest he had in Italy. Correct me if I am wrong, but I distinctly remember reading a while back that he preferred to go back to Spain.

      • To add some perspective.

        AZ were 10th, 6 points and 6 places ahead of relegation and only 3 points away from being in the Europa League qualification playoffs.

        Stoke City, for example, were 6 points and 5 places (i.e., much closer) from relegation and 19 points from having the slimmest possibility of qualifying for Europe due to league position.

        Sunderland were 3 points and 1 place from relegation last year.

        Summary: In the Dutch league last year, only 6 points separated 7th from 15th – it was tight in the middle, but saying AZ were in a relegation fight is like saying WBA were in a relegation fight last year in the prem. They were only, after all, 13 points and 10 places from 18th, in the midst of (albeit at the top of) the tight middle 9 teams separated by only 10 points.

        By any standards, Sunderland were in far worse shape.

  11. if sunderland get roberto di matteo in to replace PDC then jozy will be fine. it’s actually a good thing for jozy that sunderland are sacking PDC this early before things got too far out of control.

  12. As a Newcastle fan, I cringed when I heard Altidore was going to Scumberland. Was not looking forward to them having tons of new American fans. Hopefully he gets outta that cesspool.

    • Maybe not quite as bad, but we’re probably looking at a season where he scores less than five goals in all competitions. He just can’t get any quality service from Sunderland. All the passes to him in the matches I’ve seen had Jozy holding the ball and trying to pass to one of his teammates. The wing play from Sunderland is third rate. I thought Adam Johnson was supposed to be a good player. His crosses are never on the mark and he hogs the ball and shoots too much (never hitting the target to boot). The defense gives up possession and the midfielders constantly make poor decisions.

    • Yup. It’s not necessarily better for US players to move to the EPL. Yes, the level of competition is better, but if a player winds up at a club where the manager doesn’t help him improve tactically or put him in a position to succeed, there’s a very real chance that player will backslide into bad habits. Not that other EPL clubs were necessarily interested, but Swansea, for example, would’ve been a much better place to develop.

    • Too bad he did not see the Hull situation as a learning point when looking at Sunderland. I would have bolted to the Bundesliga given the chance (or Italy).

      • Chart Michael Bradley from Holland, Germany, and now Italy. Lesson’s well learned by MB and look at him now. There is as good example as any.

      • Yes Bradley has developed a great deal but will most likely have to make another move next transfer if he wants to see any starting minutes before next summer.

      • Bradley isn’t starting over DDR, Strootman, or Pjanic. Those are the three spots in Roma’s midfield. Sadly he’s a squad player, even though realistically Bradley provides about the same as DDR at 1/6th of the cost.

        Plus Roma is top of the table now – if you were the manager would you be changing things up? Don’t think so.

      • That is quite an assumption to make given the quality Mount if playing time Bradley was seeing before his injury.

  13. Yes he is a fascist. Yes he is a raving lunatic. BUT he was my favorite fascist and raving lunatic! I hope he gets a job somewhere soon. God knows I need a good laugh!

      • You clearly have no idea what he did at Swindon if you’re making a comment like that. I’m seriously amazed that anyone thought moving to Sunderland would be good for Jozy, especially with this nut at the helm.

      • I was under the impression they got promoted…. That’s all I know…. Normally this is considered a good thing.

        I don’t normally pay attention to random teams in the 4 division of English football. But instead of telling me what he did, you mock me. Thanks.

      • Isn’t that what the Internet is for? Anyway, he didn’t understand the financial structure of the club or the lower divisions and blamed the board for not getting him better players. Di Canio cares about one person, and you can take a guess about who that is. Having him in charge is akin to an MLS team hiring Wynalda as coach. It may work for a little while, but his true colors will eventually show.

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