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Brave decision to sack Di Canio, but is it right?
FOR six months Sunderland have been in the spotlight. Rightly or wrongly, for whatever reason, Paolo Di Canio was box office.
Already his time in charge at the Stadium of Light is over and there will be plenty of people lining up to say 'I told you so'.
Di Canio was always going to find it hard. The Italian has courted controversy, so his time on Wearside was likely to be no different.
Spend time in the 45-year-old's company and his beliefs on how football management should work and his philosophy on taking Sunderland forward made sense.
His opinions might have been strong, but more often than not what he actually said struck a chord with supporters.
Why should he not be able to highlight a mistake from his own man when 500m fans from around the world watched it take place on TV?
Or why should he allow the players to have the power inside the dressing room?
But football has moved on. However strongly you might disagree, it is hard to imagine millionaire Premier League footballers being happy to accept public condemnation from the man sending them out to play.
Di Canio has experienced just that and fallen short. The problem Sunderland are now faced with is securing the results to lift them off the foot of the division with the same group of players he had at his disposal.
It will not be easy for Roberto DI Matteo, Gus Poyet or whoever Di Canio's successor will be. The new man will inherit a group of players which includes 14 new arrivals during the summer.
How long will those players take to gel with one another? Or are they actually better than the men O'Neill and Di Canio had at their disposal last season.
Time is already running out to find out. Sunderland need results and quickly - and that remains the case with or without Di Canio.
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