Leon Clarke has got to go

For those of you who read Alex’s article last week – Leon Clarke: Swindon’s new no.9 – are you really surprised by the actions of the pathetic Town current / former* (*delete as appropriate) front man following our 3-1 defeat against Southampton?

Here is a fragile, perhaps sensitive player who relies too much on the support of those around him to get himself in the right frame of mind.

Yet he’s displayed his true self, an individual who’s inner child exploded into full view, throwing what can be described a ‘tantrum’ any 2 and a half year old would’ve been proud of on the County Ground pitch. What next the Supernanny and the naughty step..?

Not only that; to then react to Paolo Di Canio’s comforting arm in the way he did, through his persistent angry and disrespectful remonstrating with the Italian and to follow this up with a protest on the grass and cry to ‘Daddy Wray’ was disgraceful behaviour. Apparently this bloke is a professional footballer.

The end result, Di Canio is the headline and undeservedly blamed and then thrust into the limelight rather than Clarke. Paolo was initially accused of assault, fighting or attacking his own player, albeit perhaps this is what the media had long hoped for and already drafted, with their finger hovering over the button for months now.

Even the usually accurate BBC reported ‘Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio in row with own player’ whereas ‘Leon Clarke in row with Paolo Di Canio’ or ‘Clarke fights with Di Canio’ would’ve been more apt.

And all of this because Leon was angry at the prospect of “more running again tomorrow” as his legs were tired Clarke is a joke!

Yes it’s true Fitness Coach Claudio Donatelli should choose his words and moments more carefully in the future, however that was no excuse for Clarke’s unruly, selfish and disgraceful behaviour.

So today we hear Clarke didn’t report for training so the question remains will he wear the Swindon red again?

As you can probably tell from the tone of this piece, Town should tear up Clarke’s contract and send him packing with his reputation in tatters.

With a wealth of strikers in De Vita, Connell, Magera and Kerrouche, plus a new lad from West Ham on the way, Town have sufficient options in attack to fill Clarke’s boots.

I just hope all those who bought a ‘Clarke No.9’ shirt are offered their money back…

What is your view whether Clarke should stay or go?


  • Unfortunately di Canio is showing a trend of over-excitement and instability under pressure. His ‘helping hand’ is captured on video as a grip on the neck to pull Clarke from the pitch. That was plain dumb at a time of high passion – the quality that di Canio complains is lacking. Why was Connell subbed? Where is Timlin? Suddenly we are in crisis and its not all down to one player.


  • excellent post washbag!
    any player who complains about “running” the day after a game is foolish considering its his job.

    more so if he questions authority in the public domain as was done at the end of the game…
    (or in the case of timlin, supposedly on the training pitch)

    i dont buy into the idea that di canio is to blame here, when your faced with a player in front of you throwing his dummy out of the pram, what are you supposed to do? let it transcend a new level of stupidity on the pitch, or try to coax him inside behind closed doors…

    this is exactly what di canio did, to coax him inside, and i doubt very much a more experienced manager would have done better…


  • Disagree wholeheartedly. Di Canio was at fault here from start to finish. You can’t sign a player known to be volatile then act surprised when he proves himself to be… volatile. Di Canio should know that better than anyone.

    Moreover, the way he behaved towards the player was disgraceful, dragging him around like a petulant toddler. Show the man some respect and you’ll get respect back. Treat him like a child and he’ll act like one.

    The truth is, this ridiculous non-stop training he’s got the players doing has proved detrimental to the club. Studies have shown that by making a player train at full bore within 24 hours of a game, you run the risk of causing them severe, even career-threatening injury. Plus, despite their ‘fitness’ the players are looking tired already. We’re in August, for Christ’s sake. Even under Wilson they managed to last until January.


    • PDC did not start the childish behavour last night as it was Clarke in the first place who was having the argument with Claudio, was unproffesional in dismissing orders and then told Di Canio to “Fuck That!” Clearly it is Clarke who needs to show respect

      As for the training intensity, you may have a point, but Wilson’s side didn’t last til January. Could you point me in the direction of the studies you refer to..?


  • I agree that Clarke now has to go. However, I’d also like your view on Di Canio’s position.

    If a manager:

    * physically assaulted a player (including the manager and his team throwing large and heavy gym equipment items at the player)
    * repeatedly threatened to the other players that he would ‘slit the throat’ of the said player

    What would you say? Both of the above allegedly happened last night.

    In my view PDC’s position as manager must also be reviewed


    • You say “Both of the above allegedly happended last night” so I can’t comment with an authority on whether PDC’s position should be reviewed…


  • interesting,.

    though i would say, this is a sport where authority should be respected..

    i cant agree that a player demands respect when he acts like a baby, seeing the video the guy was complaining about running today, in full view of the tv cameras.. he knew exactly what he was doing… hes been a professional for a long enough time to know how a dispute is handled…

    as for the allegations, im pretty sure the same has been said at other clubs in the past, even ferguson was known to throw tea cups or whatever was around at players during a half time rant (didnt beckham get injured once like this!?)… so physical frustration in a mans game aint exactly alien… however id be more concerned that this stuff is being leaked out,.


  • Imagine after a few long days and a couple of evenings of preparation, a sales presentation to a Customer does not completely go as planned and changes to the sales offer would have to be made the following day in the office. Suppose acting the way Clarke did in front of this Customer, e.g. not wanting to go into the office the following day or not wanting to travel back with the others and remonstrating with his boss – all in front of the Customer.

    I know what repercussions that episode would be in any decent company: the sack.

    There may be a thousand-and-one reasons why the situations are not the same – they’re not, but they’re similar; both work related and both in front of Customers. (and in the Clarke case with the cameras rolling)

    If Clarke is to remain somehow, then this would weaken Di Canio’s position and future ‘acts of disobedience’ – internal or external – could follow.

    Di Canio himself is not blameless in all of this. Perhaps he should have distanced himself from this after his first attempt to get Clarke inside the tunnel.

    However, like most Italians he is passionate and cares for the individuals in the team. This is what he has always been, this is what defines him and this what makes him Di Canio. It’s not something new, people new this when he was appointed. Let’s accept the way he is – he’s not British and never will be – and get behind the team.


  • “an individual who’s inner child exploded into full view, throwing what can be described a ‘tantrum’ any 2 and a half year old would’ve been proud of on the County Ground pitch”

    Excellent description of Di Canio’s reaction too, not just to Clarke but apparently also to Timlin standing up for himself. Clarke’s behaviour was pathetic, but so was Di Canio’s. The important difference between the two being that one of them is a manager who is being paid very good money to handle such situations, not behave like the ADD kid who didn’t get the last jelly at the party. Clarke should indeed go. And Di Canio with him.


  • To ellaborate a bit more as today it has been confirmed:

    Leon asked to leave STFC two days before the Southampton day [snip so as to not cause any confusion]

    Di Canio has confirmed “Leon Clarke is not welcome in Swindon again”

    I’m still bemuzed Di Canio got the media attention and blame for the incident [snip]


    • 1) We’ve only got Di Canio’s word on all this.
      2) In one interview earlier in the week Di Canio said he knew Clarke came with bagagge (as would anyone doing the most cursory research); today he’s saying it was a complete shock to him as he’d only looked at him on some videos, knew nothing of his rep. Which is it Paolo? Are you a liar or incompetent?
      3) There’s no actual evidence Clarke “had it all planned” and some of what you take as “evidence”, you’ve got horrendously mixed up e.g. the text – Di Canio said the text came from someone else he knew in football when they saw he’d signed Clarke, not (as you seem to have misinterpreted it) from Clarke to Di Canio when he left.

      Clarke clearly is a nightmare and we’re probably best off without him. But then who signed him on a fat contract? Oh, yeah. Not trying to defend Clarke at all, just don’t swallow “the Rehabilitation of St Paolo” that’s been doing the rounds of the messageboards etc the tail end of this week. The spin doesn’t stack up with the known facts and (as per point 2 above) in places isn’t even internally consistent.

      The bottom line here is that Di Canio is employed to select and then manage professional footballers who will perform to produce results for the club. In Clarke, he has signally failed on all fronts, both in selection and in management. That is Di Canio’s failure, not Clarke’s – Clarke has simply been as he ever was. Di Canio failed to select the right player, then failed to manage him properly. And now is torpedoing any chance of loaning him out to save his own skin. All at considerable expense to the club.


  • We all knew Clarke had issues at other clubs long before he signed for STFC. With that knowledge, if we then can’t manage him properly for more than 12 days, after giving him a 2 year contract, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs.
    And we should be clear, we will have to honour 2 years of say £100k a year, unless another club want to take him off our hands – given the publicity that would look unlikley at least in the short term. Given there was aggravation from both parties and it looked like Di Canio made physical contact first (grip on the back of the neck), any HR laywer will tell you that there is little chance of making a Gross Misconduct claim stick.

    Re the training regime – surely it’s only common sense that once the pre-season is over the first team players should be given rest days. I’m sure that is usual in the Premier League as well as the lower leagues. Otherwise you are just asking for injuries and players not having enough energy to last 90 minutes. We want the best football out of these guys not just pure fitness. Try telling Don Rogers, Dave Bamber or even Shaun Taylor that fitness is more important than anything else.

    Something doesn’t seem to be right at STFC (again) and this whole issue looks like another symptom of that. Added to the Timlin issue, first team goal keepers that are too scared to play etc.


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