Paolo di Canio in as Sunderland boss

Harry Engels

Sunderland's managerial vacancy didn't last very long. Less than a day after losing 1-0 at home to Manchester United and firing Martin O'Neill, the Black Cats have appointed Paolo di Canio in an attempt to lead the embattled squad to safety.

More from our team blogs: SAFC blog Roker Report

Unsurprisingly, the move's caused controversy, as Paolo di Canio is a controversial man. His managerial acumen isn't in question, but rather his apparent political beliefs -- he's long been linked to far-right wing politics and, as many would have it, is an admirer of Benito Mussolini. As a professional sportswriter, I'm obviously not remotely qualified to comment on the subtleties of di Canio's political beliefs or psyche, but it will not have escaped the astute reader's attention that the UK football media has an unfortunate habit of generating their own spurious narratives out of thin air in order to court attention.

What matters, as far as Sunderland are concerned, is whether or not di Canio is capable of leading a squad without their only remotely threatening goalscorer out of the relegation battle over the course of the next seven matches. I'm inclined to say it's not going to happen. But time will tell.

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