It had to happen sooner or later, Paulo di Canio’s relationship with whichever consortium thinks it is managing Swindon Town these days has broken down irretrievably. It had become a bad marriage and di Canio has quit with immediate effect. Selling a key player behind the manager’s back really is like shagging the wife’s best friend. It was game over at that point.
Di Canio achieved wonders at Swindon and will, I guess kick his heels for a while not wishing to rush into a jon with the sort of club that sacks its manager at this point in the season – i.e. one heading for relegation. But come May the contract of Mr Sam Allardyce expires at West Ham. Even the biggest Fat Sam admirer must now recognise that this season is starting to look like a bit of a painful experience. We are on 30 points – still three wins away from probable safety and for from almost certain safety. I look at the fixture list and, I suppose, hope for 6 points from Reading and Wigan at home but frankly I cannot really plot a clear course to safety.
For all the money spent we will have 2 early cup exits and a league finish of 12th- 18th to show for it. That is why Fat Sam is now at 10/1 the bookies favourite for the next Premiership managerial P45 – although it is probably about time for Chelski to sack someone again.
My reason for wanting di Canio is that what West Ham needs more than anything is another man whose veins flow claret and blue and who will happily serve a long stint at the club offering stability, supporting the Academy and reaching out to the community in East London and Essex so that even for shitty Capital One cup ties against Rotherham the corporate boxes are sold out and the stands are full. So that kids in what should be the West Ham heartlands grow up asking their dads if they can get a West Ham shirt for Christmas not a Man United or Chelski one. If we want to be a big club we need a manager with commitment and charisma because this is a money game. Paulo can reach out in a way that no-one else could. He has shown that at Swindon and he would do so again but on a far grander scale at the Boleyn.
Being a manager is more than just getting results on the park – something Paulo has shown he can deliver and which West Ham has not delivered this year. I hope Paulo kicks his heels for a while and takes a good break and that allows Fat Sam to see out his contract, try to avoid relegation and leave with dignity. But come May if our board has true ambition they know who to call. There is no alternative.