No manager, no owners and no backroom staff at Swindon Town
12:05pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Sport
SO, it’s arriverderci Paolo Di Canio after 21 months of almost unbroken success in his first managerial role at League One Swindon Town.
Drama has never been far away from the Italian during a colourful career that began in Rome nearly 30 years ago, and he wrote another chapter of his story on Monday when he released a statement saying he had resigned from his post.
The 44-year-old, who guided the Robins to the League Two title and promotion last term, has grown increasingly tetchy about the boardroom goings-on at the County Ground and decided on Monday night that enough was enough.
Town have been the subject of a protracted takeover bid from a consortium headed by Jed McCrory, owner of non league Banbury United, after Swindon Town’s majority shareholder Andrew Black said he no longer wished to bankroll the club.
Di Canio claimed to have first tendered his resignation last Tuesday, but had pledged to stay if the takeover deal was ratified by the Football League on Monday.
No transaction was confirmed, though, and the former West Ham striker issued a statement through his agent, Phil Spencer, confirming he had quit.
Di Canio claimed in his statement: “There have been a number of broken promises made by the club over the time that I have been manager of Swindon Town.
“Despite these problems, I have delivered everything and more that was asked of me, by achieving promotion last year as champions and competing this season for promotion to the Championship.
“My representatives put forward a proposal that would secure my future at the club until at least the end of the season and quite possibly beyond as well.
“This proposal actually reduced the club’s contractual liabilities to me in the interest of saving Swindon Town FC. At a meeting last Friday, the proposed new owners accepted and said they were very happy with the new terms.
“I entered into a temporary arrangement with the proposed new owners to continue in my role as manager but all this was agreed subject to Football League approval for the purchase of the club being granted by 5pm on Monday, February 18.
“At the time of issuing this statement, I have had no further contact from the proposed new owners and I have been told that unfortunately Football League approval has not been granted yet and therefore my temporary arrangement has ended and my resignation stands.”
Di Canio has become an increasingly isolated figure since the October sacking as chairman of Jeremy Wray, the man who brought him to Swindon and was his greatest supporter.
One of Di Canio’s principal bugbears was the sale of his best player Matt Ritchie to title rivals Bournemouth without his consent.
Wray told BBC Sport: “As I understand it, Ritchie was sold without anyone communicating it to Paolo. To hear it first from the player is unforgivable.”
Swindon Town may have no manager, no owners and no technical staff – after Di Canio’s assistant Fabrizio Piccareta insisted on Tuesday night that he and the rest of the backroom team would be following their boss away from Swindon.
Ironically, his view was aired in the aftermath of a tremendous 3-1 victory at title rivals Tranmere which took the club to the top of the League One table for the first time in ten years.
Statistically, Di Canio has been one of the most successful Swindon Town managers in the club’s history with 54 wins and 18 draws from his 95 games in charge.
His exit has been met with almost universal disapproval from the vast majority of Town fans, who have taken the Italian to their hearts, not least because of his extraordinary passion and professionalism.
A typical Monday post on a fans’ forum read: “Who will be able to replicate what he (Di Canio) has achieved. Whoever they may be will have some massive shoes to fill. Gutted!”