SUNDERLAND fans seem split over whether yet another managerial dismissal is the best way forward for their beloved club.
The sacking of Paolo Di Canio leaves American owner Ellis Short looking for his fifth boss in six years.
Since his appointment as manager earlier this year, the 45-year-old has been a controversial figure, often dividing opinion among supporters.
While his apparent fascist political beliefs created a media storm when he took on the job, sparking the resignation of SAFC director David Miliband from the board, his style of “management by fear” has also split fans at the Stadium of Light.
Following a 3-0 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park, he guided the team to Premiership safety.
But after the Black Cats slumped to a 3-0 defeat at West Brom on Saturday, Di Canio had a bizarre stand-off with the travelling supporters following the final whistle, staring at them when some fans made abusive gestures.
Mal Robinson, editor of fanzine Seventy3, said: “I can see both sides of the argument in the dismissal of Di Canio. On one hand you can not wash your dirty clothes in public, which Paolo did criticising the players week in week out.
“However, 13 games in charge and you get the sack is crazy and having spent millions in the summer.
“We will of course never forget dirty knees at St James’, but you can’t live off one game either.
“He wore his heart on his sleeve and this may have been his downfall.”
Martyn McFadden, editor of fanzine A Love Supreme, said: “I think it’s pretty much a sign of the times that managers are given such a short space of time to turn things around.
“Ellis Short is not a man to let the grass grow under his feet and if it isn’t working then he’ll make changes. I just hope the rest of the season goes a lot better.”
Other fans on the streets of Sunderland are also split.
What the fans said:
•Retired tanker driver Jim Smith, 66, from Fulwell, said: “They should have given him a lot longer. But I think there is more to it than what we appear to know at the minute. It’s more to do with the way he’s gone about things. He might have upset too many people.”
•Tattooist Gary Roach, 47, from Sunderland, said: “No, he shouldn’t have been given more time. He’s just made too many bad decisions and they’ve caught up with him. I just hope the team do enough to stay up.”
•Former fitter Don Watson, 80, from Fulwell, said: “I don’t like the way he treated some of the players. He showed a lack of respect to some of them.”
•Mum Laura Ferguson, 29, Fulwell, said: “He was always a colourful character and when you saw him after the games he’d always be entertaining. It’s what went before that, that was the problem. He lost too many matches.”
•Student Callum Christie, 20, from Roker, said: “I don’t agree with his sacking. We’re only a few games into the season and he’s gone.”
•Security officer Gary Thompson, 51, Springwell, said: “It went wrong when he brought all of these new players in. It was too much, too soon. He needed to slow things down and make the changes more slowly.”
•Carolyn Cameron, who runs Calla Lily’s Florists, in Fulwell, said the players also need to take some responsibility.
“The players need to take some of the blame. They are the ones on the pitch. If they don’t like it, they should try working in the real world like us.”
•Retired transport manager Frank Hunter, 65, from Seaburn, said: “He’s too excitable to be a manager. I don’t think he should have been appointed. It’s hard to see former chairman Bob Murray making a decision like that, but that’s another story. I’m not sad to see him go.”
•Nissan worker Christopher Crowe, 41, from Seaburn, said: “He has brought in a lot of players who don’t seem to be gelling.
“We’ve some very difficult games coming up. I just don’t know where the next points are going to come from.”
•Former shipyard worker Arthur Payne, 74, from Whitburn, said: “He always seems to come across as the right kind of man in interviews, but the results haven’t been good.”
•Retired road worker David Polley, 68, from Monkwearmouth, said: “He didn’t do himself any favours with his behaviour sometimes. Bringing in all of the players at the same time. He gave himself a difficult job. You can’t create a whole new team overnight.”
•Student Jonny Jenkins, 20, from Seaburn, said: “He hasn’t been given long enough. He needed more time to change things and make a difference.”