O'Shea: Players Kicked Di Canio Into Touch

Laurence Griffiths

Did the rumoured players revolt against Paolo Di Canio happen? Apparently so, says the skipper.

Sunderland captain John O'Shea has confirmed it was the players who lobbied for Paolo Di Canio's sacking in September.

There were rumours at the time of a player revolt which were quickly denied by Di Canio after his dismissal (what else was he going to say?), but now in some pretty stunning quotes to the Daily Mail, O'Shea has lifted the lid, slightly, on what went on.

[Did the players issue an ultimatum to the board?] Yeah, something along those lines, something along those lines.

It was very strange, but it was something that just had to be done. Something had come to a head and it was plainly obvious there was only one way things could go forward.

The timing of it was needed. Yeah, without a doubt.

It had come to a point over a couple of months build up that something was going to happen. It was incredible. The couple of days when it did happen, it was mindboggling. Football is football. Management, playing, being involved and being an older and experienced player, it was definitely an eye opener of what goes on.

I’d love to tell you lots of stuff but we’re under restrictions of what we can say. It was just everything. The environment that had been created just wasn’t working so something was going to give.

It is no real surprise, and despite restrictions it was always likely to come out in little dribs and drabs.

It is probably a mark of how low the players' collective stock with the fans was at that time that many - perhaps most - sided with Di Canio over the alleged confrontation.

It has definitely worked out for the best, though, so credit to the players for doing what was necessary. Gus Poyet is in a totally different league to his predecessor.

It really does make you wonder what was going on though to make apparently quite passive and agreeable characters like John O'Shea snap and take action. I'm sure it will all come out in the fullness of time via autobiographies and stuff if nothing else, so that's something to look forward to.

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