TWENTY-ONE months ago former Town chairman Jeremy Wray took a massive gamble.
He hired an unproven manager whose job wasn’t just achieving promotion, but to lift the spirits of an entire football club.
Thankfully, Paolo Di Canio was more than capable of the job, and as it turned out, he became an icon at Town in a very short space of time.
So it’s with real sadness I’m already writing about Di Canio’s departure from Swindon Town.
He’s a unique and flamboyant character in a game packed with people full of football clichés and tired opinions.
He not only brought a breath of fresh air with him to Swindon, but also to the entire Football League.
Over Town’s 134-year history, the club has been blessed with some great managers – Danny Williams, Lou Macari, Ossie Ardiles and Glenn Hoddle are some of the most recognisable.
Does Di Canio deserve to be revered as much as those famous names from the past?
His record at Town is impressive, a win ratio of 67 per cent, a league title and coming 90 minutes away from winning the Football League Trophy at Wembley.
Because of his character and style he really is in a league of his own.
He also built a fantastic rapport with the Town faithful – a simple gesture of holding up his scarf after games has become an iconic image of his tenure at the club.
It’s a real testimony to the man that he leaves the club top of the League One table, a position Town haven’t occupied in more than 10 years.
Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, the takeover of the club would have been approved and they can begin the search for a new manager.
When the new board finally get their feet under the table they know their first task has to be the ideal appointment.
it would be pointless trying to find another Di Canio, in my opinion the new owners have to reach out to somebody who is nearly the opposite – a calm, relaxing influence on players but also proven in the game.
My first choice would be Paul Tisdale. He’s got plenty of experience having been a manager since 2001 at Team Bath and now Exeter City.
Unfortunately with the Grecians aiming for promotion from League Two, they would more than likely block any approach.
Despite his unsuccessful time at Bristol City, Derek McInnes is still highly thought of due to his successful time in Scotland, and I think could do a good job.
- Follow me on Twitter @danjohnson_stfc