Paolo Di Canio is a real tour de force. You’ve got to hand it to the guy. He leapt blindly into football management last summer, largely derided and dismissed by most sports journalists as a great player who wouldn’t cut it in the dugout. His ego would get in the way and his naivety of management in the lower leagues of English football would see him back in Rome before the New Year, commentators said. Yet he sat there, all bravura and gusto, and proclaimed that he’d be a success without the slightest hesitation. He was right and sceptics were wrong.
Swindon Town are waltzing towards the League Two title and promotion could be assured by Easter. Before that, though, it’s more than likely that Di Canio’s team will beat Chesterfield at Wembley this weekend to lift the Football League Trophy (JPT) – the club’s first piece of silverware for sixteen years. It’s not exactly the Champions League or FA Cup but as Di Canio says, it’s the only Cup Swindon can realistically lift, so it matters. His press conference for this final lasted a good 40 minutes, during which time he talked non-stop & declared that his Swindon are “like the Barcelona of League Two” and that they’ll win because they’re “the best”. He sees this final as the first step on the way to greatness as a manager. Every utterance is like a war cry, an affirmation of his talent. He is his own one-man propaganda machine and loves that we hang on his every word.
For the sheer courage of his convictions, I can only liken Di Canio to Jose Mourinho. When such confidence or arrogance is well placed, as it is with the ‘Special One’, it can only be admired. There’s a lot of hot air but it’s lifting the Swindon Town balloon up, up an away. Swindon has found its Special One and it needs to hang to him for as long as possible, win or lose at Wembley.
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