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SWINDON TOWN: Di Canio did not know of Ritchie sale
MATT Ritchie was sold to Bournemouth behind the back of Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio.
In an effort to raise the funds necessary to satisfy the running costs of the club until new owners take charge at the County Ground, the decision was made by the powers-that-be in SN1 to accept a £500,000 bid for the winger from the Cherries on Wednesday.
Di Canio revealed that the first he heard of the move, despite having stated recently that he would only accept “crazy money” for Ritchie, was when the player phoned him at 5.30pm to say he was at Dean Court preparing to finalise the terms of his switch. Three hours later the deal was done.
In a statement released yesterday lunchtime, Town stressed that the sale of the 23-year-old was necessary to ensure the short-term financial well-being of the club. However, that didn’t stop Di Canio from being frustrated by the whole incident.
He said: “I had the news from Matt Ritchie at the moment that he was nearly to sign for Bournemouth, in this manner I received the news. I didn’t know anything before.
“Approximately it was at half past five, it was already there a few hours earlier. He only told me that he was there because someone told me to go there and sign the contract. Since that moment I have tried just to think how to move one step forwards in a positive way and the best way for this squad.
“Obviously it was news for me, nobody mentioned anything for me before I discovered the situation in this manner.
“I thought it was a joke but obviously it happened. I told him just for a second ‘are you joking? Let me see what’s happened’.
“It was clear straight away because he told me how it happened. I couldn’t say or couldn’t do anything. I realised that it was done, I told him good luck but I don’t want to speak any more about what’s happened because I still don’t completely understand what’s happened.
“We will see in the future and we will know exactly why one of the best players of this club was sold for this amount of money. He left for one of the best sides in this league, one of the best sides that will fight to win this league.”
Despite his disappointment, however, Di Canio’s mind switched quickly to the immediate task at hand and a trip to Crawley this weekend.
“Since that moment until this morning at seven o’clock, without closing my eyes, I thought how to play against Crawley, which players would give me the quality in this area, how to best use the individuals I’ve got, how to try to win the game and stay close to the top,” he said.
“If I can’t change things I have to go forward. Now only one thing is clear more than ever - the environment in which I worked for the last six or seven months.
“For this I want to claim what we have done until today - thanks to my players, thanks to the staff, thanks to the fans - is amazing. The result we made, without any support and with many problems in the past, proves what kind of job we have done.”