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Pilgrim, priest and ponderer. European living in North East England. Retired parish priest, theological educator, cathedral precentor and dean.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Update on Open Letter to Paolo di Canio

Today, Paolo di Canio has issued the following statement.
“I have clearly stated that I do not wish to speak about matters other than football, however, I have been deeply hurt by the attacks on the football club.

“This is a historic, proud and ethical club and to read and hear some of the vicious and personal accusations is painful. I am an honest man, my values and principles come from my family and my upbringing. 

"I feel that I should not have to continually justify myself to people who do not understand this, however I will say one thing only - I am not the man that some people like to portray.

“I am not political, I do not affiliate myself to any organisation, I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism. I respect everyone.

“I am a football man and this and my family are my focus.  Now I will speak only of football.” 
My open letter to Paolo di Canio was written out of concerns that I know many shared.  I wrote it with care, trying to voice what I thought were the important questions that needed asking.  Mr Di Canio’s statement has provided these answers and I warmly welcome that.  This will allow everyone to move forward and focus on football at Sunderland, and the job to be done at one of the North East’s great clubs.


  1. This info was in the public domain for some years anyway. It as just a matter of looking for it.


  2. Just to add to Mumpy's comment. Di Canio has clarified his political beliefs in the past, his reluctance to discuss them in the interview was likely due to stubbornness about having to repeat the same opinions, rather than anything sinister.

    He is quoted in the Italian newspaper Repubblica http://bit.ly/Xdjb96, in December 2005, as saying;

    "The Roman salute, I do it because it is a greeting from a comrade to comrades, is addressed to my people (referring to the Lazio fans). With that arm's length do not want to incite violence, nor to racial hatred. I'm crazy, out of this world, I am truly appalled. Fact is I have not ever said 'I am not racist, I'm fascist', I only ever experienced that as a greeting to all, however, did often with two hands, has a value not only political, but they belong to sports.

    Then in 2002 he featured in a book called 'West Ham: Irons in the Soul' and said;

    “I never said I was a fan of Mussolini but for the media it is more easy to make the polemic. I said that after Mussolini no one political man was a patriot or a nationalist because nationalism is not equal to being a Nazi. English people are very proud of their nationalism too; my nationalism means you are proud because you are Italian…

    “In Italy if the right or left win the election they don’t think in three or four years time we will give the people a better society… They don’t think tomorrow we are going to work for the people, they think tomorrow we start the publicity for the next election. They have no vision. With Mussolini I’m sure we would have had a better situation, but not in a wrong way, not with a union with the Nazis because I am not a Fascist. Then was a different time, nobody wants war, now we want peace…”

    “Black or white or yellow people, gay people, men or women, they can come to my house and be my friend because I am not xenophobic.”

  3. Unbelievable how quickly people are willing to jump onto a sensationalist bandwagon without any attempt to find out the truth themselves, only to have to backpeddle like fury when their questions / comments / statements are proven to be wrong. Will the same people now be issuing an apology to SAFC and Mr Di Canio for what amounts to a witch hunt? I won't be holding my breath for that.

  4. of course, the political leanings of a random middle aged football manager must be deeply troubling for you.

    i await your next blog regarding paedophilia in the church, whch of course, must 'shake your foundations' and question what kind of organisation you are really working for, that routinely services and assists known child abusers.

  5. The Durham Miners' Association, which is rightly demanding the return of the Wearmouth Miners' Lodge Banner that hangs in the Stadium of Light over the former mineshaft, is not short of a bob or two.

    It continues to put on the Gala every year, and it co-owns the Morning Star, which still comes out as a daily paper despite also publishing its entire content on the Internet.

    Watch that space.

    Meanwhile, Sunderland was part of County Durham in September 1943, when the Durham Light Infantry, whose regimental chapel is of course a side chapel of Durham Cathedral, was part of the army that landed at Salerno, Reggio and Taranto, thereby beginning the liberation of Italy. They were in Italy all the way up to VE Day.

    That city's football club therefore has until 3rd September 2013, the seventieth anniversary of the start of the Italian Campaign, to be rid of this person.

    Or let all hell break loose from the Tyne to the Tees two months later on Remembrance Sunday.