Paolo Di Canio has been given a warning by PFA Chief Gordon Taylor after some members of the Sunderland squad complained about the hefty fines being handed out by the Italian. This comes after Di Canio publicly criticised several players for their unprofessionalism after the side's 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane in a 20 minute monologue on Sunday.
Taylor criticised Di Canio, stating:
We are aware of the situation and of Paolo Di Canio's comments. It is something we had to deal with at Swindon as well.
One hopes he will be respectful of the position, and our rules of discipline which are agreed with the Premier League and Football Association. We expect him to abide by these.
He cannot be a law unto himself. We are aware of player unrest at some comments made publicly, and other situations. No club is a law unto itself. The rules are agreed. Paolo benefited from the same rules when he was a player and a member of the PFA.
A number of players are involved. I don't want to be confrontational but we expect him, and Sunderland as members of the Premier League, to abide by the rules agreed along with the PFA, and FA.
It is believed that one of the players who has complained is Phil Bardsley, the man at the centre of a recent controversy after he was photographed in a casino in the early hours covered in a pile of £50 notes, and the main target of Di Canio's ire on Sunday. Both he and fellow defender Matt Kilgallon were fined two weeks ages for their involvement in the incident, along with five other players for separate events.
According to Luke Edwards of The Daily Telegraph, one senior member of the squad was fined for leaving training early, while another left the training ground with an 'infection', turning his phone off so no-one could reach him. The players are also annoyed that Di Canio has come out in public to have a go at them.
I for one hail the players' bravery in coming out and going to their union. In publicly criticising his players and plotting to get rid of them, Di Canio has once again shown he can't get away from his fascist beliefs. For the players to speak out against his regime, they risk feeling the wrath of the Italian's death squads, and they can only be praised for their courage.
This is especially true when you consider just how harsh Di Canio's time as manager as been thus far. Several of the players are unhappy about the effect their long training sessions are having on their personal lives; time that could be better spent getting drunk in a casino snapchatting pictures of themselves covered in all the glorious money they have to be seen by all of their working class supporters, rather than sticking around the training ground trying to become better at their jobs.
It's not just the players bravery that demands recognition. Phil Bardsley's partner Tanya Robinson also came out on Twitter and criticised Di Canio's harsh regime, appearing to accuse the Sunderland boss of being a 'psycho drama queen'. Though she was later (presumably) forced to deny that the insult was aimed at Di Canio, Robinson should be commended for risking her own safety for the good of her footballing partner.
She also claimed Bardsley later gave the money to charity, excusing him for turning up to training hungover the following day, and that he hadn't 'raped or killed anyone'. I must remember to use that one the next time I turn up late for university.
Sunderland are set to release Matt Kilgallon when his contract runs out next month, and it's certain that Phil Bardsley will join him out of the door, with Hull and Stoke being strong linked to the right back.