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SWINDON TOWN: I'm no big spender - Di Canio
PAOLO Di Canio has launched an impassioned defence of his spending during his time as Swindon Town manager.
In the wake of criticism and comment from across the football world following the revelations last week that Town have been placed under a transfer embargo for breaching financial fair play legislation, Di Canio took it upon himself to emphasise that Swindon’s expenditure over the course of the 16 months he has been in charge is little more than “normal”.
In a fiery interview, the Italian suggested that at least two unnamed League One clubs have spent more than double what he has in the same timeframe, while he stressed that he and the Town board have turned a “zero-value” playing staff into an impressive set of assets in less than a year and a half.
“I don’t want to mention one club in our league but people speak about how we spend and what we spend – we come from League Two, to reduce the gap a bit we have to spend a bit more than the others this year to reduce the gap,” he said.
“There is one club this year that stays in the bottom of the table in League One that spent three times more money than us between last year and this year, but they were already in League One last year.
“They are in League One this year with an expectation to stay there, but I don’t want to follow this example.
“They spent for sure double money if you compared the two seasons. I don’t want to say another club that went up last year because otherwise we open the conversation. The money they spent last year is nearly double than what we have spent this year.
“To compare the two seasons, they have spent more than double in two years.
“Now we have value. Two years ago this team with 12 players in had zero value. Now you’ve got free transfers of Gary Roberts, Andy Williams.
“(Matt) Ritchie you know how much they offered us for him last year and for sure in the summer. I open the conversation because otherwise I get angry.
“I read rumours. It’s not my opinion. Sixteen months ago this club had zero value in terms of players, zero. Don’t mention the youngest because the youngest had zero value. They were relegated, nobody came in in the summer to have this player or this player, nobody – I was in here.
“Nobody said to me, with all respect, £100,000 for Ritchie, even £100,000. No one. It’s not my opinion.
“Is it my opinion or is it a fact that in January they came with £800,000? Now this team has got value, even in the way we brought in some players in the summer.
“Our spending is normal, not big, normal. Last year one team, to reach the final not straight away to go up, spent nearly double than us to compare League One last year to us now.
“To compare the two seasons it is three times more, and nobody said it was a scandal. We have spent the normal amount and we have stayed close there.
“It is easy to judge and speak and anyway, for what we have spent, we have already done a fantastic job – over the prediction in my opinion.”
Di Canio also approached the topic of having to pay off individuals he deemed not good enough to perform to his required levels this season.
He revealed that players were offered two-year deals at the County Ground despite him fully expecting only to use them for a single term.
“Many good players that we had last year were not capable to play for win in League One. We have to be honest,” he said.
“We were obliged to spend for two years because otherwise they wouldn’t join us and we were obliged to give two years to players that we were sure a season later wouldn’t be good enough to win the league.
“Otherwise we have to open the conversation. Tell me, of the players we sent out that last year finished as champions, which clubs came for them? How do they play? Where do they play? What position are they in League Two?
“With all respect, they did a fantastic job for me last year but not in League One, in League Two.”
Furthermore, Di Canio insisted that rumours of a sky-high wage bill at SN1 are nonsense although he did admit that, in order to secure top quality, the club had to offer a little more temptation by way of salaries.
“We give normal wages. I know the other wages,” he said.
“I know the wages of a player we wanted to sign and then he left and signed for another club on 25 per cent more than my best and my highest wages in here. In a club that stays behind us.
“The people read the numbers how they want. Gary Roberts came as a free agent, Andy Williams as a free agent. Now if we put them on the transfer market, I’m sure they are going to be £300,000, £400,000. They have value. We brought in zero. That is crucial.
“Now I have become the real manager who is speaking about money, numbers and also I am one of the best coaches.
“If you want to bring in Gary Roberts for nothing you have to give something. Another three clubs, even in the Championship, wanted him. “I don’t know how much this club is worth, for sure it is much more than zero.
“If the club decided to sell all the players now they will have a very good income. Sixteen months ago when I signed to jump up to this ferry it was zero.”