Di Canio the first major casualty of sack race as season kicks into gear
The new football season may only be a few weeks old but already we are starting to see some movements on the ‘Managerial Merry-go-Round’.
We are not even in October yet but Paolo Di Canio has already become the first major casualty in the Premier League having been given the sack as manager of Sunderland. The board took action following a poor start to the season for the Back Cats which saw them pick up just one point from their first five games and Di Canio has paid the ultimate price for that poor form.
The Italian was only appointed at the Stadium of Light back in March but despite saving them from relegation, he never really settled into life in the North East.
The final straw for Di Canio came last weekend following a disastrous 3-0 defeat to West Brom with the players clearly looking for a new man to come into the club.
Reports have suggested that the Italian lost the dressing room at Sunderland, which left very little option but to relieve the former Swindon gaffer of his duties.
And can you blame the players? It is reported that the former Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham striker banned his squad from using mobile phones at the training ground, drinking coffee, putting ice in their drinks, singing before games and squeezing a bit of ketchup or mayonnaise on their sandwiches!
Attention now turns to who will replace Di Canio, with Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet touted as the early favourites in the betting to occupy the vacancy.
Whoever comes into the Stadium of Light will have a tough task on their hands with Sunderland in such terrible form. Di Canio bought a virtually new team during the summer and the new gaffer will have to work with those players until the transfer window re-opens at the start of January.
The other managerial departure during September took place at the start of the month when Greg Abbott was given the elbow as manager of Carlisle United. That followed a terrible start to the season for the Cumbrians, which saw them fail to win any of their first six League One games of the season, with just two points picked up during that time.
Abbott had been at the helm at Brunton Park since November 2008, but he paid the price for a poor start to the campaign and was replaced by Graham Kavanagh on a caretaker basis. So far that has proven to be a shrewd choice, with Kavanagh leading Carlisle to a mid-table spot. It would be no surprise to see the Irishman given the job on a full-time basis if that trend continues.
It is also worth pointing out one or two managers who have started to come under pressure over the past few weeks and, as always, there is no shortage of bosses under the kosh right now. In the Premier League, we have seen both Chris Hughton at Norwich and Martin Jol at Fulham struggle so far and according to the odds, they are the next two in line for the axe.
Hughton is a popular man in East Anglia but they did spend big money in the summer by their standards and the board will expect results to pick up soon after just one win from their first five games.
Martin Jol is in a similar situation at Craven Cottage with Fulham picking up just one win so far this season and the fans are starting to get a little bit anxious. New American owners came into the club during the summer and the feeling is that they may be ready to pull the trigger on Jol’s two-year tenure in west London if things don’t improve sharpish.
There is no doubt though that Paolo Di Canio has been the big story during September when it comes to the Sack Race. The fiery Italian hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons with his outspoken attitude bringing about his downfall and it remains open to question whether any club in England will be prepared to give him a chance or whether it was just too much too soon for the Lazio legend.