Well, I go away to the mountains for a week and it all happens. I posted last week that I couldn't see a club managed by O'Neill being relegated, and the Black Cats promptly sack him after a defeat at home to Man Utd, courtesy of a cruel deflection. Mad or what?
But that as just the beginning! The appointment of Il Duce Di Canio to replace him was nothing short of surreal! This is Sunderland! This is Old Labour heartland. This is a club with a Milliband on the Board - or a club that used to have a Milliband on the Board! And they appoint Di Canio who might have confused Black Cats with Black Shirts when he jumped at the job!
And look how long it has taken Di Canio to deny that he is a fascist! The no comment approach was tried. The "I am not in the House of Parliament" approach failed. And only when he was backed into a lamp post did the straight arm saluting, self declared admirer of Mussolini offer a categorical declaration of his political allegiance. But then we all know how fascists remain true to their word don't we? I'm surprised Di Canio didn't hand a piece of paper to the British Prime Minister declaring he is not a fascist and promising peace in our time into the bargain!
Most laughable of all was Di Canio's claim that some of his best mates at West Ham were black! As if that isn't the familiar protest of all racists! Not that anybody has accused Di Canio of being a racist anyway. Fascists do not have to be racist and, on a technical point, it is Jews rather than black skinned people who are generally the object of their hatred. Perhaps Di Canio will cite his Jewish friends as his next line of defence.
Thank God we never appointed him. The focus since his appointment has been on his politics and if Di Canio drops a black player now, imagine the mutterings in the dressing room. Rival fans could well have a field day and a terrace full of black shirts is the very least Di Canio and the Sunderland Board deserve.
Yes we adored Di Canio the player but Di Canio the man has very severe limitations. His reign at Sunderland has started in predictable fashion and I, for one, hope it ends in tears. With English fans under the microscope for alleged racism during the San Marino game, the appointment of Di Canio to manage an English Premier League club is unfortunate in the extreme. He can say what he likes, but that salute to the Lazio fans and his infamous tattoo are all the evidence needed to show that this man should not be managing a club in the top division of English football.