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Town chairman insists there is no tension behind the scenes
SWINDON Town chairman Sir William Patey has said there is no “great crisis or tension” at the County Ground, backing the work Paolo Di Canio is doing in all aspects of his job as Robins manager.
Patey, who replaced Jeremy Wray in the boardroom in October, has been at the club for a little over two months and feels he is starting to open better lines of communication with the Italian.
After the furore of recent days, sparked by comments made by the Town boss about the youth team and a “hostile environment” in SN1, Patey played down any murmurs of unrest.
He said Di Canio feels he has been “misquoted” in the press and revealed that he has spoken to under 18s manager Paul Bodin and agreed to discuss how best to take the academy forward in the new year.
“I’ve had a long chat with Paolo and various other people in the club since I got back (Patey was on holiday last week). I think Paolo feels some of his remarks have been taken out of context,” he said.
“He and I had a good chat. We had a good meeting before I went off to Barbados about the future of the club and he thinks he’s been misquoted.
“He and I are pretty clear that what we want, and I’ve spoken to Paul Bodin this morning as well and I made it clear that I want a youth system that delivers talent to the first team or to the wider benefit of Swindon, and everyone’s clear on that. There are no disagreements.
“I’ve also made it clear that Paolo’s in charge of football and I want him to be working. We’ve discussed how we might enhance and improve on the work of the youth team and we will be sitting down early in the new year to agree a plan on how we take forward the youth team.
“We want young players that want to come to Swindon. We want Swindon to be first choice because they know they’ll get the sort of professional development that will give them the chance to be even better footballers.
“We need to build on the successes that we’ve had with the youth team. We suffer from the fact that we don’t actually have a reserve team so there is an issue of abridging between the youth team and the first team in terms of fitness and professionalism, and we need to work together to find a way to cover that gap.
“I know that Paolo and Paul Bodin both share my views on that. We’re going to be sitting down in the new year and working on a plan that delivers the best opportunity to benefit from the youth set-up.
“The idea that there is a great crisis or tension, there is not one I’ve discovered. In any football club, in any organisation you’ll find differences of opinion and that’s not unusual.”
Patey suggested that Di Canio could rein in his forthright views if he feels he is being misunderstood by the local media, but he stressed that the Italian’s ambitions and those of the club are one and the same.
“I think Paolo often needs to get stuff off his chest and that’s who he is. He’s a kind of mercurial, brilliant character. His emotions are on his sleeve, you can see them, that’s how he is,” he said.
“That’s part of the package.
“I would say to him sometimes: ‘Look, if you think you’ve been misquoted by the press then say less’. Less is more sometimes.
“His heart is in absolutely the right place. He wants what’s best for Swindon because what’s best for Swindon and what’s best for Paolo are the same things - success.
“I think I’m happy to recognise he’s doing a great job and if we’re to get promoted that would be amazing. But he mustn’t get too upset. The trouble is it usually comes out when there’s been a couple of defeats and he feels that.
“Let’s hope for a good result on Friday and then everyone’s head will be lifted for Christmas.”
Meanwhile, when asked whether there was any advancement on locating new investors or adding new faces to the Swindon board, Patey said: “It’s an exciting challenge. We’ve got some real issues which, while we’ll discuss all the football in public, I think I’d rather keep all the investment and financial matters in private.”
When questioned if there were any positives, negatives, difficulties or developments to report the chairman said: “There’s always something that’s difficult, there’s always something that’s developing and there’s always some financial problems to deal with. That would be the same every week.
“When any announcements are to be made, they will be made. There’s nothing I wish to impart at the moment.”
Finally, striker Miles Storey was due to undergo a scan on a knee injury yesterday. The 18-year-old missed the trip to Oldham on Saturday with the knock.
He tweeted: “Scan later il be honest Rome over Xmas doesn't appeal to me.”