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By Chris Wilkerson, London24’s West Ham blogger
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Our Hammers blogger explains why calls for Paolo Di Canio’s return are nothing but nonsense.
Name: Chris Wilkerson
Twitter handle: @The_Wilkerson
Favourite player: Mark Noble or Winston Reid
Most memorable game: Playoff Final
Predicted finish: 12th
Paolo Di Canio is one of my favourite ever footballers. Many West Ham fans loved Paolo and as a man of only 23 years I missed out on many of the Hammers greats. Players like Paolo had one hell of an impression on the young football fan I was.
He was totally barmy, we all know that, but he was majestic, passionate and a wonderful football player.
The volley against Wimbledon remains the best goal in Premier League history, while his volleyed screamer against Chelsea was not half bad either.
There was also the FIFA Fair Play award he won after stopping play with an open goal gaping as Everton’s goalkeeper lay injured in the penalty area.
Of course, there were frequent strops too, but it was all part of the Di Canio show.
A show that was enjoyable to watch from the stands when he was mainly under the control of other authorities.
After resigning from his managerial post at Swindon Town there have been calls for Paolo Di Canio to “come home” to Upton Park and manage West Ham United like it is his and our destiny.
The show that was once rather humorous would be a rollercoaster ride with the Italian at the helm here.
I understand the calls, he is generally, although not universally, loved by the West Ham faithful.
But it undermines the work of Sam Allardyce, the work in progress our newly promoted side is and the business that no one can ignore football has become.
The argument I have read for hiring Paolo was that it would be fun and, really, we all just want to enjoy the ride of supporting our beloved club. The aim of stability under Sam is just too mundane for some.
Nonsense, utter nonsense. Firstly, thrills and spills are only fun when the ride is easy. The “fun” approach would soon be a bitter mess were it to go wrong.
Secondly, it’s naive to think those clubs who do excel higher up the table, and/or with a certain style of play considered more akin to the fabled “West Ham Way”, got to their standing overnight.
A sensible man recognises times of stability are to build the potential to grow. The “do or die” culture of modern football is destructive. No team plans stability as their highest aim, it is a stepping stone to growth.
Lastly, the potential for bust is far higher than the chance of a boom, and that bust at West Ham United is further overshadowed by around £80m of debt that is a real drain on the club. We have seen what happens to clubs who spend beyond their means, nobody wants to be Leeds or Portsmouth.
The stability of Premier League safety brings huge TV revenue. Next season will bring double the current income from those rights. The transfer market might react and players may become more expensive, but that £80m debt will have no shift. The money we earn from survival will start to knock huge holes in those monetary fears.
So, strap yourself in for a sensible football club. Sensible clubs build and grow. Swansea have been years in the making, whilst Stoke were written off after one Premier League game in their promotion season. Stability has changed their whole identity.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” - Aristotle.
I’d also like to pledge my support, congratulations and amazement to little Jonjo Heuerman and his efforts to raise money for The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK.
This club and this country’s greatest sporting legend - more important his memory than the game on Monday night. Even those who never saw him play know how amazing the man was, we have been taught every single day as West Ham fans growing up.