Lone Star Funds president Ellis Short hires avowed fascist Paolo di Canio to manage his football team

UPDATE: It’s official.


English Premiership side Sunderland AFC is considering hiring Paolo Di Canio to be its new manager. Di Canio would replace Martin O’Neill, who was turfed after Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United.

Providing negotiations proceed smoothly, club officials hope to announce his appointment on Monday morning. It remains unclear whether he will be hired on a short-term, seven-game deal or a longer contract.

The 44-year-old Italian represents an intriguing choice on the part of Sunderland’s wealthy American owner. Although Di Canio lacks Premier League managerial experience, he enjoyed an impressive 22-month stint in charge of Swindon after being appointed in May 2011.

Here’s a picture of Di Canio from his playing days.

dicanioWait – what?

The hell. No way.

What the goose-stepping motherfuck?

It’s true. Not only is Di Canio a fascist, he’s rather out and loud and proud about it. He’s gotten into hot water for his pro-ultra antics in the past (“ultra” is the term for European football’s rabid right-wing supporters, and those at Di Canio’s home club, Lazio, are among the continent’s more virulent), having drawn fines and a suspension and, in the case of his last employer, Swindon Town, causing a key sponsor to sever ties with his club.

Now, lest you get the wrong idea about di Canio, understand one key fact. According to him:

I am a fascist, not a racist.

Oh, well that’s diff…wait, back up.

“I give the straight arm salute because it is a salute from a ‘camerata’ to ‘camerati’,” he said, carefully using the Italian words for members of Mussolini’s fascist movement.

“The salute is aimed at my people. With the straight arm I don’t want to incite violence and certainly not racial hatred,” he said.

Ummm. So, di Canio is one of those Rainbow Coalition/diversity advocate fascists we’ve been hearing about? Is it possible to be fascist without being racist? Well, if you read what there is to be found on the subject of di Canio and racism, you come away with a picture that’s … conflicted? Is that the right word? He says he’s hanging onto his own ideas, but thinks that maybe all the violence was wrong. Or something.

Anyhow, di Canio is up for the Sunderland job. And Sunderland is in somewhat desperate straits. With seven matches to play, the Black Cats are a scant one point clear of the relegation zone, and being dumped down to the second tier would have grave financial consequences for the club. The stress is apparently leading their front office to consider … extreme measures?

And about that front office. Turns out the team’s owner is one Ellis Short. Short is, of all things, an American (albeit an American who has lived in the UK for more than a decade). He seems to be an almost pathologically private sort; just for fun, go Googling – it’s remarkable how little is out there on the guy, considering he’s a multi-billionaire. One thing we do know, though: he’s the (retired?) president of Dallas-based Lone Star Funds, “a worldwide private equity firm that specializes in purchasing distressed companies and assets, and also purchases under-performing and non-performing loans from banks (the company has been active in Germany in purchasing such loans).”

So, to summarize: a hyper-secretive Red State billionaire is set to hire an avowed fascist (but not a racist one) to save his football club from a financially damaging relegation.

Look, you know me. I hate to politicize things. But … we’re talking about a goddamned fascist. You know, World War II, concentration camps, the whole nine yards. Imagine for a second that the Dallas Cowboys were in danger of finishing last and were paying a financial price for it. Imagine that Jerry Jones were to fire his coach (okay, that’s the easy part) and was set to announce, tomorrow morning, that he had hired as a replacement a guy with a swastika tattoo, who in his autobiography had written that Hitler was “basically a very principled, ethical individual” who was “deeply misunderstood,” and who had, on multiple occasions, stood up in front of the crowd and led them in a rousing Sieg Heil or two.

Look, I hate Jerry Jones and am capable of thinking a lot of bad things about him. But I can’t even begin to imagine this sequence of events.

There it is, though. If The Guardian is right and all goes to plan, this time tomorrow an American owner in one of the largest professional sports leagues on the planet will have retained the services of the guy in those pictures above. Boggle the fucking mind, don’t it? Newspapers have been wrong before and let’s hope this is one of those occasions, huh?

Happy Easter.

10 replies »

  1. A small corrention. Ultras is not the term for “European football’s rabid right wing supporters” Ultras come from many political traditions there are Antifa Ultras. These are Ultras committed to anti-fascist activity. In Italy the strongest antifascists include Livorno
    Ternana, Venezia, Genoa, Cosenza, Empoli, Pisa, Ancona, Rimini, Carrarese, Savona. There are communist ultras groups across Europe There are anarchist ultras. There are fascists too but the anti-fascists will kick them out. If you care enough about your club, you kick fascists out and stop them organising.

    Nice article otherwise.

    No Pasaran

    • Thanks. I know there are plenty of leftist clubs and supporters, but I don’t think I have ever heard the term “ultras” applied to them. Good to know.

      • No problems google antifa ultras and in fact head to youtube and type in antifa hooligans…you will love the song if you hate fascists….and its written by an Italian Ska/Punk band!

        Damn here’s a link:

        • And for good measure here’s some Livorno fans singing about how they would like to hang Paolo Di Canio “A Testa In Giu” (Upside Down Like Mussolini with his throat slit, from a lamppost)

        • I always try to explain to other Americans how very, very different club support in Europe is from here. I’m not sure I’m ever quite successful.

          Is Livorno your club?

      • Samuel Smith…over here!

        I’m a Livorno fan of sorts…I’m a Celtic fan and we have antifascist ultras at our club. They are called the Green Brigade. Through knowing the ultras you learn the different poitics of different clubs and clubs like St Pauli and Livorno have a strong alliance with Glasgow Celtic because of the anti-fascist stance of the ultras. And we had Di Canio as a player when I was younger and so the clearer and clearer it becomes that Paolo Di Canio was a fascist the more contempt I have for him. He sullied the name of my club when I didn’t even know him.

  2. There really are not the words in any language to express just how ashamed I am that I used to follow Sunderland.

    That affiliation ended last night, and after being a fan for well over 30 years, my heart could not be heavier.

    di Canio is not just a wingnut, he’s a dangerous one. Sunderland still have a game at Newcastle coming up in the next few weeks – a powder keg if ever one existed anyway, but what’ll it be like with this loose cannon as manager? Fuckwits always pitch up for a fight at a Tyne-Wear Derby as it is, but how many of the local BNP/EDL knuckle-draggers are going to turn out for this one?! I’m not going to be anywhere sodding NEAR Tyneside in two weeks’ time, I’ll tell you that for nowt.

    And heading on down to White Hart Lane to take on Spurs, with the massive Jewish following they’ve got, on the last day of the season? Oh, THAT’s just going to go down a fucking storm and a half with cuddly little Paolo in charge, isn’t it?!

    Funnily enough, SAFC’s 2-year sponsorship deal with Invest In Africa has been cut short after Tullow Oil opted out of the second year on Saturday – the day before di Canio got the gig. Call me a cynic if you like but something about that is well fishy. No pun intended, but I suspect they knew something was in the pipeline.

    Simply put, Ellis Short needs his fucking bumps felt. This is worse than the Marlins’ first season after they rebranded as Miami; in firing Martin O’Neill and appointing this swivel-eyed fucktard, Short has done what seemed impossible not so long ago: he’s out-Loria’d Jeffrey Loria himself. No bugger’s naïve enough, surely, to appoint a rabid ball of hate like this at a crucial point of the season without looking at his background first, not when the absolute last thing an ailing side needs is upheaval, disruption and drama on a grand scale, which is di Canio’s primary trading stock. I’d have preferred Roberto di Matteo or Ole Gunnar Solskjær to take over – but as it is, Sunderland would have been better off bringing back even Howard Wilkinson or Mick McCartheh.

    Still – at least the Orlando Magic can’t get relegated, eh?