PAOLO Di Canio feels he is working in a “hostile environment” at Swindon Town.
In an eventful press conference ahead of the Robins’ trip to Oldham tomorrow, the Italian reiterated how he was close to leaving the County Ground earlier this season but stayed on to fulfil what he perceives as a promise to Town fans.
But his tirade, which started as an unprompted and impassioned defence of his medical team in wake of comments made by Paul Caddis earlier this week, took in subjects as varied as the “dignity” of the youth academy, the prospect of forcing a “revolution” in Swindon and the dificulties he has had enforcing a “Barcelona mentality” throughout the club.
It was a 20-minute explosion of opinion that was absorbing and extraordinary in equal measure.
Di Canio claimed he was willing to “fight 100,000 people” to instill his levels of discipline and professionalism in SN1 after suggesting he could have stepped away from his role two months ago.
The Advertiser understands no approach has been made for the Swindon boss’ services, and that his comments about a potential departure related to Jeremy Wray’s removal as chairman in October.
He said: “I had a chance to leave two months ago. I heard something, that there was a chance. I presumed that I should leave two months ago. I presumed that I had a chance to.
“It didn’t happen because obviously I concentrated straight away I thought I had to win in here. I want to finish my job in here. I have to finish my job. If we go to the Championship this year then I have done my job already and therefore the future changes.
“Otherwise it is three years. If someone decided to sack me it is a completely different situation.
“Otherwise I want to finish my job in here to do my job and get the expectation.
“In the summer I waited one month to sign and it was clear that I could get what they promised the season before and the plan was to keep on going.
“I want to try to do something better now but otherwise the people have to think ‘why would you want to stay in here?’ “I’d fight against 100,000 people, I don’t mind. That is a promise and a promise is a principle. It’s a part of the principle. I promised something.
“If I find a hostile environment I become more nasty and more focused because I don’t distract myself from my players because they are the main part.
“Not my staff and my players - they are fantastic and you see in the way we play - but obviously there is a hostile (environment), but for personal interests. That is rubbish and something that will destroy this club for sure.
“Destroy for me is being average in League Two and hoping not to disappear for a few years if there is no one willing to take the right and strong decisions, which is somethign I will do if I keep going with my plan and they give me a chance to keep going with my plan.
“Now it’s the first team, in the future we will clean everything even if we have 200 people here protesting. I will do this. Until the day I am not here, maybe not now but in one month, three months or five months, if I am still in charge, I will make a real revolution.”
Di Canio also revealed that Town have offered Caddis to Birmingham, where the full-back is currently on loan, on a permanent deal but that the Blues are unwilling to come to any sort of arrangement just yet.
Earlier this week, Caddis said of his return to fitness following a shoulder injury: “There’s no chance I could have got to this stage had I still been back at at Swindon as the facilities are so much better here.”
In retaliation, Di Canio stressed that he would not take such cricitisms from a player who, in his words, “didn’t know what it means to stretch” before he teamed up with the Italian in Wiltshire.
He said: “Talking about medical, first of all I can’t listen to an opinion from a guy who before he joined me didn’t know what it means to stretch and why he should stretch.
“Talking about medical, which is rubbish because he does not have any knowledge what it means. If I asked him ‘do you know the name of this muscle?’ he doesn’t know. He can’t speak.
“Paul Caddis was one year a disaster in League One, in the second year thanks to his teammates and Paolo Di Canio he became a winner even if in defensive moments he is a disaster.
“Birmingham are still fighting to survive, even if he is at a bigger name. They don’t take out their hair to keep him.
“We already asked one month ago ‘would you keep, would you buy?’. (Lee) Clark I know loves him but he said ‘let us think’.
“When a side wants to give you a player it should be a good moment because it means if he cost five it can be three, it can be four. I don’t want to mention the numbers.
“We ask them ‘would you buy?’ (They say) ‘we have plenty of time, let us think’.
“I’m angry, not with Paul Caddis because in my life I would hope I would have problems with real champions, but because I can’t accept stupid comments from a player who hasn’t proved anything yet in football.”
Di Canio went on to slate the youth set-up at the County Ground before hinting that Town could return to the “darkness” of recent years if they choose to rebuff his methods.
“I know it’s difficult to accept when you bring in a Barcelona mentality, a Barcelona behaviour. It’s too tough if you are lazy, if you do not have the same ability, the same knowledge.
“This is the same for the academy. This is another aspect we are going to speak about in the future if I have a chance to stay in here.
“I don’t mind if the parents of the kids or family of the coach are angry because they worry what is going on, maybe if they think they lose their job. I don’t care. They’re not enemies.
“When you have to clean you have to clean, for the best for the cause of this club that 99 per cent of the people care about and spend their money to see good results - not only in the first team but also dignity in the way they play their youth.
“I know it’s difficult. That was my anger in the last three days, even if I have to prepare for the next game.
“This is what I have to fight every day, even if the priority is the first team, because we have to establish this club in League One and see what’s going on for the future.
“The first season was fantastic. This season is already very good. If it’s not possible then it’s important that we easily establish this club in League One. In the future we will see. If Di Canio isn’t involved in this club any more, no problem.
“I will be sorry to see this club go in the darkness again because unfortunately this is the future. Without Paolo Di Canio, with another manager that does not have the same mentality.
“It’s not 100 years ago, what happened two years. That’s what makes me angry and drives me crazy. The story is there what happened. The people used to behave how they wanted. Good players.
“My players never did one rubbish thing. This is already a good base.”