Football - Paper Round: Di Canio, coup or fascist outrage?

One big story dominates all the back pages on Monday: the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as Sunderland manager.

Football - Paper Round: Di Canio, coup or fascist outrage?

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Paolo Di Canio - papers April 1

The controversial Italian was announced as the new Black Cats manager late on Easter Sunday, but not late enough to catch out the papers.

"You've got Di job - Paolo has seven games to save Black Cats" is the Daily Star's headline, with the story calling the appointment a "desperate late bid to save the club from relegation."

Inside, the paper's Ian Murtagh hails the choice as a coup for the club: "Sunderland is hardly a club associated with footballing success but they certainly win prizes for their managerial ­appointments. And the arrival of Paolo Di Canio matches the bold decision seven years ago to give Roy Keane his big break."

The Daily Telegraph takes a similar line on the front of its sports section, with reporter Luke Edwards also enthused by the choice of Sunderland chairman Ellis Short:

"Di Canio is the polar opposite to O’Neill. Having gone for an established name with vast experience and been disappointed, Short has replaced him with a young and vibrant manager with potential. Di Canio is not the safe pair of hands O’Neill was supposed to be after Sunderland spent almost seven years trying to appoint him, but he will bring a sense of excitement."

The Sun's David Coverdale has a more negative take, predicting chaos and saying that "the Di Canio effect began immediately — with David Miliband MP resigning from his role as vice-chairman."

Coverdale then writes off Di Canio as a "huge risk" and suggests that's he's little more than a "cheap option" for the Black Cats, who will be stung by a compensation payment to O'Neill.

The Daily Mail goes even further, doing its level best to provoke outrage by prominently featuring pictures of all of Di Canio's worst moments - including Nazi salutes, kicking injured opponents while they're down and shoving a referee to the turf.

Here at Paper Round we're no fans of the Mail's quite staggering hypocrisy. But this time you have to wonder if they and Miliband haven't got it right this time: in Greece a promising young player has been banned from representing his country for a Nazi salute. In Britain, a man who has performed a fascist salute, amongst many other moments of madness, has just been handed one of the biggest managerial jobs in the country. And all that despite his only achievement as a manager coming as he returned a club who should have never been relegated back to its rightful spot in the English third tier.

There are one or two bits of transfer gossip to round-up: the Mirror reports that Newcastle want to sign Celtic defender Kevin Wilson, and also that new Reading boss Nigel Adkins will "raid former club Southampton" for striker Billy Sharp.

And finally, the Daily Mail runs a story after Brian McDermott finally spoke out about his sacking by Reading after 13 years with the Royals, in which he went from scout to promotion-winning manager. Amazingly, he is anything but bitter.

"It came as a shock - a real shock. I can’t say I agree with (owner Anton Zingarevich's) decision but I will never have a problem with Reading football club," he said. "He is the custodian for the fans and he is doing what he thinks is right for them."

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