David Miliband used Paolo Di Canio and left Sunderland with the better man
PAOLO Di Canio has caused “outrage” at Sunderland. The Sun says “thousands of furious” Mackems are turning on the club. A Rob Johnson says he is “sickened and ashamed” that Di Canio is the club’s new manager. John Hall, a 92-year-old World War 2 veteran says he would “fight the fascists all over again”.
The Sun’s lead headline, “WAR VETS BOYCOTT ‘FASCIST’ DI CANIO”, is somewhat undone when Mr Hall’s quote is seen in full:
“I’m too old to go to matches but I’d pack it in if I was still going.”
Readers see Di Canio giving a straight-arm salute to the Lazio fans he adore and who adore him. The ‘Ultras’ fans who support – get this – SS Lazio once unveiled a 50-metre banner that told Roma fans “Auschwitz is your town, the ovens are your houses” and who assaulted Spurs fans in Rome’s popular Campo de’ Fiori in what many believe to have been an anti-Semitic attack. Di Canio has the word ‘Dux” tattooed on his arm. It’s what Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini liked to be called.
Finally, Di Canio wrote in his autobiography that he thought Mussolini was “basically a very principled , ethical individual”.
But none of that was big news when Di Canio became manager of Swindon Town. Maybe Swindon doesn’t care what Di Canio thinks of the Blackshirts, or has accepted Di Canio words that he is fascist “not a racist”. Maybe, given the decline of far-right groups in British politics, they saw Di Canio as a cultural curiosity. Or maybe they just thought he was good football manager and didn’t give a toss what he thinks about aligning corporatism with State power so long as he led the team to glory (which he did)?
But Swindon never did have a former advisor to Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary on the board. Sunderland had David Miliband, who quit the his post because he was upset by Paolo Di Canio’s “past political statements”.’
The BBC led with the news that Milliband had “returned to London”. He never left the place. Milliband, an Arsenal fan, was a part-time Sunderland supporter whose job was to give the club an identity and represent it at the UN? Sunderland fans will not lament his leaving. But Miliband’s departure moved Di Canio’s appointment from the back pages to the front pages.
Di Canio is upset at the bad press he’s getting.
“What I can say is that if someone is hurt, I am sorry. I expressed an opinion in an interview many years ago. Some pieces were taken for media convenience. They took my expression in a very, very negative way. But it was a long conversation and a long interview. It was not fair. Talk about racism? That is absolutely stupid, stupid and ridiculous. The people who know me can change that idea quickly. When I was in England my best friends were [black England players] Trevor Sinclair and Chris Powell, the Charlton manager – they can tell you everything about my character. I don’t want to talk about politics because it’s not my area. We are not in the Houses of Parliament, we are in a football club. I want to talk about sport. I want to talk about football.”
Di Canio has never called another player “negrito” or a “f***ing black c**t”. He took a job at a club where a Jew, Milliband, sat on the board. It’s far-fetched to think he did that to purge the place of Israelites.
So, let’s look at the principled Mr Miliband. He sat in the House of Parliament with former members of the IRA. He said:
‘Terrorism….Yes, there are circumstances in which it is justifiable and yes there are circumstances in which it is effective.’
He worked for Tony Blair’s Cabinet when the then Prime Minister went to meet Colonel Gaddafi In Libya. Aside from the Lockerbie horror, Gaddafi backed Ugandan autocrat Idi Amin’s regime and called on Congolese Muslims to embark on a jihad.
Milibnd sat down with UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. His country has banned Israelis from representing sports teams.
Miliband has met with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, and never brought up the issue of the country’s attitude to women and freedom. The US State Department has this to say about Saudi Arabia:
The government prohibited the public practice or profession of other religions, and it outlawed possession of non-Muslim literature or symbols. Public religious training for all but Sunni religious groups was prohibited. Proselytizing by non-Muslims was illegal, including distribution of non-Islamic religious materials such as Bibles. Anyone publicly wearing non-Islamic religious symbols risked confrontation with the CPVPV. The law criminalizes blasphemy. A Muslim’s conversion to another religion is considered apostasy, punishable with physical abuse, imprisonment, and threats of execution unless the converted person recants.
Miliband never did refuse to meet with the Saudis.
But that was back when David Miliband had not decided to quit British politics and accept the post of chief executive of the International Rescue Committee in New York.
Di Canio is at Sunderland. Miliband has left the club. The Mackems have got the better man for the job. Now play on.