TOWN FLIER is the weekly fans' blog on all matters at Swindon Town FC
SAD though it will be when Paolo Di Canio inevitably moves on from Swindon Town to manage in the Premiership, it will be fascinating to see how he copes with a dressing room full of 11 egos as big as his own.
Players rule in the Premier League – as even managerial giants like Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini in their relatively recent respective clashes with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez must testify.
Further down the food chain in League One, Paolo Di Canio can, in an intemperate tirade in the media, call his immensely promising young goalkeeper ‘crappy’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘arrogant’ – and it is the shot stopper who has to apologise.
After Wes Foderingham’s ‘apology’, all and sundry have called for everyone to move on. That’s not as easy as it sounds given the stinging remarks, which probably should have been left in the dressing room.
You would think that Wes, who had not played a minute of League football before Paolo brought him to Swindon, yet kept 28 clean sheets in 47 appearances, might have been cut a bit of slack when his first-ever serious Swindon Town mistake resulted in a goal at Deepdale.
This season in the opening four competitive games he had kept four more clean sheets.
You could argue that he was hesitant for the Kenwyne Jones headed goal at Stoke – and that seems to have festered in the manager’s mind.
Early in the Preston game, an attempted Foderingham clearance (on his wrong foot) was blocked, but even so Alan McCormack could have got his keeper out of jail had he not been so flat footed in challenging the scorer Sodje.
One ill-judged throw-out later and Wes was humiliatingly subbed – and later fined. Of course, he was ill-advised to shout at the manager, kick a water bottle and go off to sulk alone in the stands. But his reaction was no more heat-of-the-moment than the manager’s.
It is a brutal regime at SN1 if you can’t make a mistake. Has the boss been fined for spending £448,506 of the club’s money on agents’ fees for players, the majority of whom are no longer at the club 12 months on? This is the second Di Canio outburst of the League term and we are only four games in.
I actually believe it represents the first real crisis of his managerial career – and how Swindon Town come through the next six games will provide us with a major clue as to how the season may pan out.
Even before this newspaper hits the streets we will have gleaned some serious evidence from the Wednesday night Johnstone’s Paint Trophy fixture at Oxford.
What a place to have to go to in the wake of the abject display in losing 4-1 at Preston on Saturday – and with the promise of wholesale changes in the team.
In the days between the truly magnificent League Cup victory at Stoke and the less-than-magnificent display at Preston, Swindon’s popular young captain Paul Caddis was shipped out to Birmingham in the Championship – where he earned the man of the match award on his debut – and five new players from higher divisions joined the squad.
All fans crave activity in the transfer window and we certainly got it. On paper, the Swindon squad is now astonishingly strong for League One level. Di Canio’s skills will now be focused on re-moulding a team because the influx of new blood and the still-not-adequately-explained departure of Caddis have the potential to be very unsettling.
Hopefully, Di Canio will work his truly unorthodox magic and the end will justify the means in the difficult task of maintaining momentum after last season’s first flush of success.
In stark relief to the ongoing wonders of the Paralympics, we’ve seen the ugly side of the beautiful game in the last few days at Swindon – with mutual respect the loser.
And, if they didn’t know before, Town’s players must now realise there is only room for one star at Swindon Town – and he does not wear a number on his back.