What happens when you put any incumbent Sunderland manager into a match played on the famous pitch at St, James’ Park? Boos, boos and more boos – especially when the character is as provocative as Paolo Di Canio.
In response to the somewhat lukewarm reception, the Italian boss blew kisses towards the crowd. Di Canio was lining up for an AC Milan legends XI against their Newcastle counterparts for Geordie legend Steve Harper’s testimonial. One of the players Harper called upon was Joey Barton, and the former Newcastle man wasted no time in giving Di Canio a very tough tackle from behind in an act that probably made his own reception from the crowd warmer.
An enemy’s enemy is a friend and the crowd firmly adopted this philosophy. However, Di Canio may be one of the best things to happen to Newcastle if his management continues to go the way it has done in the opening few games.
Sunderland look like they could struggle this season and with Di Canio blasting his players for their loss at Crystal Palace, maybe he should dust his own boots down and show them how it’s done. One thing is clear – Di Canio still looks much more competent as a player than a manager.