Sunderland legends call for stability at club

MICHAEL GRAY ... believes Paulo Di Canio should have been given more time.
MICHAEL GRAY ... believes Paulo Di Canio should have been given more time.
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FORMER Black Cats are still giving their reaction to the sacking of Di Canio.

The Italian won only three of his 13 matches after being appointed in March and took just one point from five top-flight games this campaign.

Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn

Black Cats legend Micky Horswill, who helped the club win the FA Cup in 1973, said the news of Di Canio’s departure came as a shock.

“It’s a strange one,” he said. “I was surprised when he was appointed in the first place, but it was clear from the start he was a very volatile character.

“The performances weren’t there and I’ve always said that if you’re going to manage one of the North-East teams, you need to connect with the fans.

“I don’t think he did and I don’t think he was ever going to. He’s not that type of person.”

Mickey Horswill

Mickey Horswill

Ex-Sunderland winger Kevin Kilbane added: “It was a huge gamble to give Di Canio the job in the first place. The gamble was that there were seven games to go and they needed to stay in the Premier League.

“They wanted an impact and he managed to keep them up last season.

“But it was a short-term appointment, not a long-term one.

“Di Canio questioned the players’ diet, their desire and their heart. He questioned them as players and as people, so it’s no surprise if they are unhappy.”

Former Sunderland chairman and striker Niall Quinn said: “They’ve made a very brave decision to appoint him, they got what they wanted out of him, and now they’ve made a brave decision for him to go. It wouldn’t have been my style. I think I would probably have tried to give people as much time as possible.”

Ex-Sunderland captain Michael Gray, who spent more than 10 years with the Wearsiders, said whoever takes over the reins will need to be given time to turn things around.

“We need stability at Sunderland now,” he said. “There was Martin O’Neill, who didn’t get that long at the club, and now we’re talking about Paolo Di Canio, who has lost his job after just 13 games.”