My considered opinion is, I was right about the man management concerns.
There's a load of stuff coming out about the regime at Sunderland under di Canio and it makes for grim reading. I've had the misfortune to actually work for someone with a very similar man management style to di Canio. His only management technique was to kick ass. It made no odds whether it was going like a house on fire or you did sweet F.A. You just got your ass kicked either way. For me, I just took the view - "Right! I'll have you and I don't care how long it takes..." He was a bloke for whom the C-word was invented. I'm sure. It actually took five years... not a mere seven months as has been the case for Sunderland.
I reckon I was pretty right when I stated that there was probably an element of "Who's the daddy" in the dressing room and that some players (Cattermole mainly) probably weren't bothered if they got their chance under di Canio or not. It wouldn't surprise me if they were thinking "Wer'e gonna get you, di Canio..."
I'm wondering whether di Canio can change. My long time ex boss now used to say "It always worked in the past so it should work now". Well I had to take issue with that assertion. He never really did change in five years. So perhaps di Canio can't change. He needs to soften up a bit, if only to get another job.
Most of the post mortems seem to think di Canio was an accident waiting to happen. His inflexibility certainly hastened his demise. Losing the dressing room, finished him off. Problem is, he seemed to think there is only one way to keep the dressing room - with a fist of iron. It just isn't the case. Noone really commands respect. Respect is always earnt. Everyone is different, so to earn everyone's respect needs different things for different people. The trick of management is working out what you have to do to motivate everyone individually and getting the best out of each individual. Sue you can motivate someone short term by kicking their ass, but its not a viable long term tool and it causes a bit of damage every time you use it.
I see things like Sunderland is broken beyond repair. I assume they mean the relationship between di Canio and the Sunderland squad is broken beyond repair. There's nothing wrong with the squad bar a few psychological scars:-) Now di Canio has gone they're just lingering memories of how it is if it isn't right. Am I damaged beyond repair? Nope (althouggh some may disagree). The relationship with my ex boss is though, to such an extent I wouldn't even contemplate working for the same company if they were employing him even as a floor sweeper...
Was di Canio a success? It's easy to no. But there was one aim when he was appointed. Keep Sunderland in the Premiership. He did that. Admirably. And with the win over Newcastle thrown in for good measure, memorably. Was this down to di Canio, a bounce effect, pure chance? Take your pick. Di Canio had some influence, I'm sure. Some would say that you could have appointed Mickey Mouse (some will say that Sunderland DID appoint Mickey Mouse) and they'd have got the same result. But that's harsh. O'Neill may have kept Sunderland up, but the evidence wasn't there. I understand the guy had other things on his plate - his wife's illness - which as a family man myself, I think exonerates him a bit.
Has di Canio built a good squad over the summer? We ought to be careful what we mean here... Did di Canio or di Fanti build this squad? Either way, again, it's easy to say no. People whinge about losing Mignolet, Rose and Sessegnon. Mignolet wanted out. Full stop. Rose was justifiably recalled to Tottenham. Full stop That only leaves Sess with a question mark over him. Too early to tell if it was a bad call. Not brilliant I suspect, but not necessarily bad either. It certainly makes the books look better (balance and wage bill). Are the best of the new recruits no good? Surely they're OK. We're talking internationals here. People who wanted to come to Sunderland. In theory, people who wanted to play for di Canio. They certainly did when they signed up. They still want to play for Sunderland (evidenced in the Capital cup) and some of them have a point to prove about playing in the Premiership. I don't think the summer business was rubbish. Average age went down, wage bill went down, there is quality there, desire and competition. I think there's longer term prospects there too.
Has di Canio formed a fit squad? Not half, for sure... Cattermole who hasn't 'benefited' from the preseason regime looks a bit tired, whereas the rest of t hem do look pretty fit...
At the start of the reign, di Canio sold a new plan to many of the new squad. The pre-season suggests that it was going in the right direction. The loss of the players' confidence obviously makes di Canio's reign end in failure.
Did di Canio have the tactical nous to play in the Premiership? I don't know. I don't follow the tactics. But he was generally for all out attack and defence seemed like an afterthought. Against weaker teams, this is probably perfectly fine and will prrsumably lead to exciting looking matches, but against stronger teams it looks as though there'd be an element of suicide in it. Tactical naievety is the phrase that springs to mind.
I think it's fair to say di Canio was a partial success. It ended in igominious failure. Live by the sword, die by the sword. I think his departure is the best decision. He was never going to regain the dressing room. I don't think the damage is irreparable. Sunderland can flourish with this squad. Di Canio WILL be back. I can't wait.
I think a new manager with the right man management skills and the ability to be more impartial and not sideline players for minor failures and a more mature tactical awareness will easily be able to recoax the pre-season form back out of this squad. I don't see all doom and gloom at all. (Mind, I've called it wrong before now. The trick is to call it right more than you call it wrong).
There's a fair bit of criticism of Byrne and Short. Perhaps not vetting di Canio as they should have. This is something I alluded to in my first post. I don't know if they did or not. I'm still desperately keen to know by what process di Canio came about in the first place. Was it as I've previously surmised by suggestion of di Fanti? I really have no idea. Personally, I think Short is beyond reproach. It's his club. He can do what he likes with it. At least he's recognized a management mistake and he's rectified it. An he's still the owner of a Premiership club. Sounds like he's going to do some due diligence on the next manager. There's even the possibility of Ball pulling a shock result or two out of the bag before the decision is made. I wouldn't judge Ball harshly if he loses against Liverpool and Man U, but I feel there's a point or more to be had there with the new 'unleashed' squad. And a squad who will have no fear now, come what may.
We live in interesting times.