Si Ferry, host of the Open Goal podcast, has backed Paolo Di Canio for the Celtic job, should it become available.

Speaking on the December 1st episode of ‘Keeping The Ball On The Ground’, Ferry said:

“One guy I know would be a good short-term fix would be Di Canio. Not long-term but short-term, he would love it. See all the pressure and that? It wouldn’t bother him.

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“See that making mistakes over and over, he would have you on the training ground for 5 hours until it was better, and that’s what I think this team needs. You wouldn’t leave Lennoxtown until it was the way he wanted it.

We’d still be sitting there at half 4 some days watching videos. See when you watch Celtic especially defending, he’s massive on not not having the ball. That’s what Celtic need.

For the first six months you love him because he’s funny, charming, enthusiastic, knows the game inside out.”

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Di Canio celebrates for West Ham / (Laurence Griffiths/ALLSPORT)

Di Canio’s spotty record

Paolo Di Canio spent the 96-97 season at Celtic, scoring 12 goals in 26 league outings. In a playing career, he dazzled with his technical ability for clubs like Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton Athletic and West Ham United.

During his time on the pitch, he won a FIFA Fair Play Award but was sentenced to an 11-game suspension for pushing referee Paul Alcock.


As a manager, he won promotion to League 1 with Swindon Town, where he managed Si Ferry. However, his emotional antics alienated some players, including Wes Foderingham, who was substituted after 22 minutes in a game against Preston North End in 2012.

Di Canio then took the reins at Sunderland in 2013. His promising start, including wins against Newcastle United and Premier League safety, fell away after players became disillusioned with his approach. Before he left the club, players met with former Chief Executive Margaret Byrne who described Di Canio as “brutal and vitriolic”.

Lazio's forward Paolo Di Canio gestures

No thanks. / (Photo credit should read PAOLO COCCO/AFP via Getty Images)

A difficult man

Speculation about Di Canio also brings another ugly element of his character to the fore. Di Canio is either a self-avowed fascist or “not a fascist” depending on which day you ask him.

His politics were enough for former Labour leadership candidate David Milliband to leave the Sunderland board.

If Celtic truly are a club “open to all”, then it wouldn’t go within tectonic plates of a manager who has given a “Roman salute” to fans while playing for Lazio.

A history of praising brutal dictator Benito Mussolini should disqualify you from any modern football club. Never mind one formed as a charity, with strong links to immigration and left-wing politics.

We understand where Si Ferry is coming from to a degree. However, we definitely don’t think the tempestuous and politically dubious Di Canio should be in the running.


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