Sunderland AFC vice-president David Miliband has resigned from his post in protest against Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as the manager.
Things have gone from bad to worse in the past 48 hours for Sunderland. Their home defeat to Manchester United was followed by the sacking of Martin O’Neill from the managerial post. If sacking your manager with only eight matches remaining, and the team facing a relegation battle, wasn’t surprising enough, Ellis Short’s decision to appoint Paolo Di Canio as O’Neill’s replacement must have sent shock waves across the Sunderland community.
‘Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him. He is passionate, driven and raring to get started. The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status. I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with Paolo joining us.
‘Our fans have shown tremendous patience and understanding this season. They have continued to back the team in huge numbers, both home and away, and that is something that continues to inspire all of us in our drive to give them the successful club they deserve.’ – The Sunderland Chairman was quoted in press after Di Canio’s appointment.
But Ellis Short couldn’t have predicted the after effects of this appointment. Sunderland vice-president David Miliband has resigned from his post in protest against the appointment of someone like Di Canio who is infamous for his fascist views. David Miliband, who is a former labour party member, stated that Di Canio’s past political statements was the reason for his resignation.
‘In the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right to step down.’ – Miliband was quoted in press.
The former Lazio forward was known as a troubled genius during his playing days. He perhaps made more headlines for his off the pitch incidents rather than his on field display. He has always been open and proud about being someone of fascist political ideology and even managed to get a suspension during his playing career for a straight arm salute to the Lazio fans.
The fact that someone with fascist political views will manage Sunderland, a club which has socialist background, hasn’t gone down too well with the fans. After Miliband resigned from his post, Sunderland supporters club’s Chairman Dave Bowman has also stepped down from his post in protest and has vowed to never return to the stadium till Di Canio is in charge of the club.
‘It feels like a bereavement. The backbone of the support is working class and this is an appalling appointment.’ – Bowman told the press.
Sunderland are now likely to face massive protest from fans during their home matches, something which can possibly affect their bid for survival in the Premier League. Di Canio’s appointment, someone who has no previous experience of managing a Premier League club, is a gamble by Ellis Short to say the least. Di Canio’s record, both as a player and a manager, is filled with bust-ups with team mates and club management and how he will affect the Sunderland dressing room, which is low on confidence and belief at the moment, is yet to be seen.