Category: Sunderland

Paulo di Canio will be celebrating a step forward in his managerial career - but does he have what it takes to save Sunderland? (Image | Getty)

Paulo di Canio will be celebrating a step forward in his managerial career – but does he have what it takes to save Sunderland? (Image | Getty)

Sunderland made a bold decision yesterday in hiring highly flammable but little-tested Italian Paulo Di Canio as their new manager in the midst of a relegation battle. The first question that came to my mind, however, was: is Di Canio really the ideal candidate for a team fighting to stave off relegation?

There’s no denying that the controversial Di Canio is a talented manager; his Swindon charges certainly seemed inspired to greater things by him based on the club’s dip in form following his departure. But the Sunderland post presents new challenges to Di Canio.

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Putting it all on show | Nicklas Bendtner‘s “lucky pair of pants” must have lost their touch – earning him an £80,000 fine and a one-match suspension from UEFA

Once again the football world has been shocked, if not actually surprised, by the actions of those who ‘run’ the game. UEFA has slapped a £80,000 fine on Nicklas Bendtner. What is Bendtner’s crime you ask? Well, he has terrible taste in undergarments.

The man who bagged himself a brace against Portugal revealed the sponsorship during a goal celebration. The outrage is not so much about the amount of the fine, or the one game ban attached. The real shame of it is the comparison to recent racism fines dished out by UEFA. Bendtner’s fine was more than the £64,000 sum Croatia faced due to their fans racially abusing the ever adorable Mario Balotelli. It is not the first time UEFA has handed out pitiful fines for racial abuse by various groups of fans across Europe.

Arsenal striker Bendtner, who spent the past season on loan at Sunderland, said the boxers were “just a lucky pair of pants”.

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McLean has been warned that he will be shot following his call up to Giovanni Trapattoni’s side.

Sunderland winger James McLean was recently sent death threats after electing to represent the Republic of Ireland at the European Championships, following several Under-21 appearances for Northern Ireland for the Ulsterman, who was born in Londonderry. 23-year-old McLean is a rising star, having netted five times in 22 games for Sunderland this season. He made his debut for the Republic of Ireland in February, coming on as a 78th minute substitute for Aiden McGeady in a friendly against the Czech Republic.

McLean expressed his delight at being called up for Euro 2012 on Twitter: “Absolutely honoured and couldn’t be happier to have been called up to represent my country at the Euros. No better feeling.” In an interview with the Daily Mail he said: “To be called up to represent Ireland has always been a personal dream of mine and to be associated with players who I have watched myself is very special.

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New York Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson has his star player, Carmelo Anthony, and the Knicks squad performing at their best again

What a difference a coach makes.

Mike Woodson’s all-too-timely promotion to head coach of the New York Knicks is seeing a recently-ailing franchise currently enjoying its second sudden, unexpected surge of the truncated 2011-12 NBA season. (The first time, this guy was the focus, if you don’t remember.)

In basketball, especially in the NBA, a change of head coach can have profound effects on a team’s personnel and fortunes. The game is so focussed around set-plays and defensive systems at the elite level that Woodson’s isolation-heavy offense is completely different to the “seven seconds or less” philosophy of his predecessor, Mike D’Antoni.

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