Right wing? I thought he was a striker.

Recently Premier League club Sunderland appointed Paulo Di Canio as their manager, and this is causing a great deal of fuss.

Di Canio during his time playing at West Ham

Di Canio during his time playing at West Ham

The reason for this is that Di Canio is open about his Fascist beliefs, and many feel he should not be given such a high profile role in mainstream football as a result.

I have to say, I used to have a bit of a soft spot for Di Canio in his playing days. He was one of a breed of footballing madmen, a loud, cocky eccentric on the field, like a poor man’s Eric Cantona- he had the same madness, but not the same skill as the Frenchman.

Of course, this faded when he started doing fascist salutes, especially given the weak “Roman salute” excuse.

I have no time for fascists, and find their whole belief system repellent, but I find myself defending Di Canio, or at the very least finding myself opposing the outpouring of scorn on Sunderland and the questions he’s being asked.

No other manager in football is asked about their political beliefs, which may be for the best, and if anything Di Canio can serve as an illustration at the darker elements at work in the beautiful game and the work that needs to be done to clean up the sport.

And refusing to employ him would make him some kind of heroic victim to those who share his beliefs, and also an uncomfortable attack on his right to free speech, even if what he says is loathsome. So let him have the job and lead Sunderland to relegation, and slink out of the English game a failure. That would be the way to deal with him.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


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