Emirates Stadium

Next Game

Arsenal v Man City

Saturday, 13 September 2014, 12:45

Barclays Prem

The King Power Stadium

Last Game

Leicester 1 - 1 Arsenal

Sunday, 31 August 2014, 16:00

Barclays Prem

Monday Moan: Di Canio views irrelevant

Mark Holmes blasts the Paolo Di Canio character assassination, the groans of the Britannia crowd and the Fair Play table in his latest Moan.

Last Updated: 09/04/13 at 08:20 Post Comment

Paolo Di Canio: Political views of no relevance

Paolo Di Canio: Political views of no relevance

Di Canio views of no relevance

As a player, Paolo Di Canio made close to 200 Premier League appearances. He was a controversial figure then, and he has remained a controversial figure since moving into management.

There was some furore when he took over as Swindon manager in 2011 - trade union GMB ended its sponsorship of the team in protest at his appointment, saying "he has openly voiced support for [Benito] Mussolini".

Beyond that, though, there was little outcry from the general public about his presence in the English game, just as there had not been one during his playing days.

Since taking over at Sunderland last week, though, Di Canio's political views have seemingly become a great problem to a good number of commentators.

He has been forced to release a statement confirming he is "not a racist" and was even asked whether he would like to apologise for his views in his first press conference.

Quite what he was being asked to apologise for is unclear. We live in a country where freedom of speech is valued highly, yet it seems even freedom of thought is not allowed in Di Canio's case.

Had he said something truly controversial at Swindon or after taking over at Sunderland, the furore would be understandable. Had some of his former players or team-mates come out to say that his views can be a problem at a football club, the furore would be understandable.

But neither of those things have happened. As Di Canio said himself, he is a football man and not a politician. He should be judged on how he performs and behaves as a manager, and he should not have been subjected to the character assassination he has had to put up with in the past week.

So long as he behaves as the manager of a Premier League football club should do, what he believes in his own head should not be of any interest to anybody.

Stoke fans need to stay behind the team

Blackburn fans on this website have still not forgiven me for my criticisms of their barracking of Steve Kean last season.

I was similarly critical of the 'welcome' Chelsea fans gave Rafa Benitez when he was appointed earlier this season, but I stand by my view. Both sets of supporters had reasons to feel aggrieved, but their chants, banners and abuse of the two managers simply were not helpful to the team.

Unfortunately, discontent has now reached the stands at the Britannia Stadium. Again, fans' grievances are perfectly understandable - it is inexcusable that the team finds itself in a relegation battle after being eighth halfway through the season - but the players should be supported on a match day.

A big reason for Stoke's achievements over the past five seasons has been the fantastic support shown at the Britannia Stadium, but Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert said in the build-up to Saturday's game that he thought his side could silence the home crowd.

That was impossible to do a few seasons ago but, after a raucous opening, the atmosphere turned sour after Gabriel Agbonlahor's opener for the visitors on Saturday.

There is no denying Stoke's performance was awful, but that does not excuse the loud groans that greeted every misplaced pass or the ironic cheers local lad Ryan Shotton received when he was withdrawn towards the end of the game after a poor display.

The criticism Tony Pulis is receiving from supporters at the moment is completely justified, but he and his players have the same aim as those in the stands - to keep the club in the Premier League.

No matter how much fans disagree with Pulis' team selection, tactics or substitutions, and no matter how badly the players are performing, they need the same level of support from the stands that they received back in the 2008/09 season when that incredible Britannia atmosphere helped Stoke to defy the odds to stay up.

If the moans and groans continue to be audible, however, players will find it even more difficult to produce the performances they are capable of.

With six games remaining to save themselves, Stoke need their 12th man more than ever.

Fair Play table not fair at all

Aston Villa Paul Lambert has recently been defending his side against claims that they are dirty, with the Villans bottom of the Premier League Fair Play table.

First of all, irrespective of how many yellow and red cards they have received this season, anybody that watches Villa on a regular basis will attest they are not a dirty team.

A young team battling against relegation is always going to give away a decent amount of fouls, but there isn't a malicious or persistently dirty player in the Villa squad. There is nothing for Lambert to defend.

The Fair Play table is a joke anyway. You might assume that it is calculated solely on yellow and red cards, or perhaps the amount of fouls a team concedes, but the latter is not taken into consideration at all, while the former is only one of six criterion which decides a team's placing in the table.

Also taken into account is the respect shown towards the opposition and the referee, which is justifiable, but also 'positive play' and 'behaviour of the public'.

Teams gain points in the Fair Play table for 'using attacking tactics' and 'continuing to push for goals when in a winning position' but lose them for 'slowing down the game'. In other words, Villa will have lost points this season for attempting to hold onto crucial leads in games.

Even more ludicrous, though, is that teams can lose points if their fans use 'persistent foul and abusive language' or persistently abuse the officials' decisions. To put that into context, you could cost your side a place in Europe for calling the referee a rude name.

The Fair Play league is the most unfair league of all time.

You can follow me on Twitter @Homzy to see what I moan about from Tuesday to Sunday.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Transfer news: QPR boss Harry Redknapp confirms ongoing deals for Sandro and Fabio Borini

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has confirmed deals are ongoing for Tottenham's Sandro and Liverpool's Fabio Borini.

Transfer news: Swansea striker Wilfried Bony set to stay amid Monaco interest

Swansea striker Wilfried Bony is set to stay at the club despite late interest from Monaco.

Transfer news: Mohamed Diame has signed a three-year deal at Hull

Midfielder Mohamed Diame has joined Hull City on a three-year deal.

Mail Box

It's That Time Again: 'Wenger Out'

Are Arsenal fans the ficklest in the Premier League? That's one question in the mailbox as Gooners call for Wenger to leave (again). Plus, plenty of reaction to Falcao...

Wenger: The Most Stubborn Manager Going

Arsenal fans would quite like their club to sign a striker thank you very much, whilst someone is excited about Jim White et al. Plus, Klose to Arsenal please...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property