Paolo Di Canio had to make do with what he had when he took over Sunderland near the end of last season. This summer, however, he's been able to take full control. He's signed 10 new players and now he's instituting some very specific new rules for his squad.
From the Telegraph:
“This is a complete revolution,” he said as Sunderland prepare to host Fulham on Saturday. “It’s not just in the way we play, but in how we approach everything. It’s been difficult.
“We’ve focused on changing the whole dressing-room environment. Imagine if for years your habit is to use the phone when you’re having a massage on the bed, even one minute before going out to train? For 25 days I accepted this, because my first priority was to work on the field. However, I’ve said that from now if someone comes inside with a mobile phone, even in their bag, I’ll throw it in the North Sea. They’re banned. [...]
“We need to have lectures about why we can’t have every day things like mayonnaise, ketchup and coke.
“They can cause chemical problems to the liver, to the stomach. If you have ice with coke you can have indigestion. I know players who’ve had ice with their coke the night before a game and then couldn’t play. Even coffee can be a problem. You can have one when you get up, but not an hour before you go out training or playing. We give the players diet sheets to follow.
I'm pretty sure having ice in Coke is what did in QPR last season.
In addition to the regulations on phones, coffee, mayonnaise ketchup and, of course, ice in coke, the man with a large Mussolini tattoo on his back has also ruled out singing in dressing room showers so as not to disturb anyone concentration. It's unclear if he has started filling positions in his secret police force yet, though.
To mark the end of the gift of song in the Sunderland dressing room, here's Di Canio himself singing "Dancing in the Moonlight" with Toploader in Swindon last year...
- Paolo Di Canio