SPORT
23/09/2013 04:23 BST | Updated 23/09/2013 08:19 BST

Paolo Di Canio Sacked By Sunderland: Is Ellis Short The Biggest Villain Of The Piece?

It was an unlucky 13 for Paolo di Canio, who lasted just that many games before Sunderland's board sacked the Italian on Sunday night.

The first Premier League managerial departure of the season, the only surprise of Di Canio's reign is that he was appointed in the first place. Sunderland chairman Ellis Short has arguably emerged worse from the brief and fraught era for granting Di Canio a two-and-a-half-year contract.

Di Canio's Fascist past caused huge uproar when he was announced as Martin O'Neill's successor and having made drastic changes to the backroom and playing staff, he has "parted company" after just five Premier League games this season.

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Di Canio won just three games with Sunderland

Thirteen (that number again) players were brought in during a summer of upheaval which was more chaotic than calm. Di Canio even said many of his players' lack of English was driving him "crazy".

"I need British players," said the then Sunderland boss. "I need the quality, the intensity. I need the fire."

Not one of Di Canio's 13 signings was British.

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Di Canio at Sunderland
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He won just three matches on Wearside, two of them in the league. Victories at Newcastle and against Everton in April saved the Black Cats from relegation but their only triumph this term is a League Cup win over MK Dons.

It seemed Di Canio's curtain call came when he confronted Sunderland fans at the end of their gutless loss at West Brom on Saturday. He stared and gesticulated at Mackems in a woeful attempt at player-manager communication.

"I won't change," he vowed after the game, and that perhaps convinced Short to sack a third Sunderland manager in less than two years.