A lot has been reported regarding why he was fired. Unfortunately, no matter how outrageous some of the claims are, when it comes to Di Canio it isn’t difficult to imagine any of them being the case.
The main thing to take from the failed experiment that was Di Canio as Sunderland boss is that a manager must be hired for the right reasons if there is to be any chance of them succeeding.
Sunderland were in trouble at the business end of last season and made the decision to replace Martin O’Neill with someone they felt would breathe new life into the season and prevent relegation in 2013.
Di Canio has that sort of charisma, the ambition, the drive to be able to do just that, and he succeeded. The problem is he doesn’t quite have a grasp on how to run a Premier League side for the long run, as I feared he wouldn’t back in March.
He came to the fore as a manager by taking a down-on-their-luck Swindon side and reviving them, bringing them back to the third tier and making plans to take them to the Championship.
But Sunderland were a completely different animal. They were already in the top flight, and required strengthening as a Premier League entity. Di Canio’s magic was a suitable tonic to avoid the drop in his first few weeks, but little else.
Ultimately, his defiant and often belittling handling of his own players was his downfall. Managers have come and gone with that kind of attitude, and in the modern game very few are able to sustain anything more than short-term success.
Sunderland allowed him to invest in a host of new players over the summer, and now they must find someone completely different to get the best out of them. Many blame chairmen for the rapid turnover of football managers in the modern game, but for me that is an over-simplification of the issue.
If a board are hasty in their selection criteria for the next man to take charge of their team’s footballing operations, they are almost guaranteed to be just as hasty the second things go awry.
And this is why I feel David Moyes will weather his current criticism and, eventually, do a good job as Manchester United boss.
Unlike Di Canio, Moyes was very carefully selected and groomed to replace the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. Following Fergie and running a team who are used to annual instalments of silverware comes with far more pressure than consolidating Sunderland as top-flight mainstays, but that’s why I do not see the board panicking and doing to Moyes what the Black Cats did to the Italian.
It’s important to remember that United’s squad has had its issues for some time now. Even when they won the league at a canter last season, they were entering some of their weakest performances in years – a combination of Robin van Persie’s superb form and every other potential title rival being even weaker that campaign masked a lot of issues that still need to be addressed.
Moyes is capable of addressing them, but whether United fans can handle it or not, it could take as much as two years for that to happen - and United might not be the same force of old in the intervening time.
There will no doubt be some more results as tough to digest as the 4-1 defeat at Man City along the way, but the last thing any United fan will want is for their club to make a knee-jerk reaction. It would betray the long-term plan that the board have seemingly put into place, not to mention make them just as bad as the likes of Sunderland when it comes to picking bosses.
For a club who previously picked one of the best managers of all time for the position – and stuck by him through a slow start to life at the helm – to begin behaving like Sunderland and countless other clubs who fail to apply the appropriate amount of thought and planning to appointing a manager would truly be a sad sight.