Back of the Net's John Foster reports on the latest from Sunderland
In the wake of Sunderland’s dismissal of their controversial manager, Paolo Di Canio, it appears that fascism, the revolutionary political creed that spawned some of the twentieth century’s most murderous regimes and provoked the most destructive war in human history, is bad again.
Fascism ceased to be bad in March, when the Black Cats chose to appoint self-declared fascist Di Canio as their new head coach, claiming that any suggestion that having a fascist manager might be in any way problematic was “insulting to the integrity of this football club.”
This caused football fans up and down the country to reassess the status of fascism, which appeared to be poised to overcome its difficult history and join the footballing mainstream at last.
“I used to think fascism was bad, mostly on account of all the genocides,” said Sunderland fan Darren Arkwright, 36. “But thanks to Sunderland, I came to realise that it wasn’t really something anyone should think too much about.”
However, the decision to dismiss Di Canio after just five games of the new season has meant a setback not just for the outspoken Italian with a DUX tattoo, but also for the future of fascism in the football community.
“I suppose it’s not OK to be a fascist anymore,” said Arkwright. “I’m going to have to go back to having a negative view of straight-arm salutes and the Bologna massacre and Mussolini, and those aforementioned genocides.”
Sunderland have announced that their search for a new manager will begin immediately.
“We have learned from our mistakes with Paolo,” said a club spokesperson, “And this time we’ll consider how a candidate’s views will play with our media coverage, our sponsors, and our brand identity, going forwards.”