February 2013: The end of Paolo Di Canio’s Circus
2013 is nearly over and it has truly been an eventful and unforgettable year at Swindon Town. Brendan Hobbs jumped at the chance of writing our review of 2013, which has turned into an epic feature of writing; you’ve made it to part two…
Two things went off the rails in February, our promotion push and Andy Williams’ eye for goal. The much maligned striker had scored six times in January, he was to only score twice more before the end of the season.
With boardroom shenanigans’ getting more and more prominent a stuttering Town and tearful Paolo grabbed an away point from a televised encounter against Crawley, with Adam Rooney getting the leveller from the spot. Di Canio was apparently ‘considering his position’ at the club and on the very next day he announced that he was ‘ready to walk away’.
Unfortunately for us he didn’t say that he ‘was ready to walk away unless fans waved promotional flyers and posters begging for him to stay at the next home game’.
A win in Essex against Colchester briefly raised our choking spirits, before being deflated at home in a one all draw against relegation haunted Hartlepool – Simon Ferry getting a rare strike only to see it cancelled out by the all too common Andy Monkhouse effort. We all waved our promotional flyers and posters, but it didn’t do any good, Di Canio’s mind was already made up despite being ‘overwhelmed’ by the fans efforts.
The zenith of our season was to come in the next game following a fantastic three one win away at a fading but still strong Tranmere Rovers side. A team prepared and charged by Paolo and regimented on the side-line by Fabrizio Picarretta, Town grabbed a win that was to put them top of the table; it also included a fabulous strike from Gary Roberts.
A hushed silence enveloped my house after the final whistle as we huddled around the radio listening to an emotionally charged Picarretta give his press statement, my emotionally charged brain tried to fend off his words but eventually I had to come to terms with the fact that this really was the end. It was the end of a truly terrifying and exhilarating rollercoaster ride – the last wonderful performance of the Di Canio Circus had been staged, the ringmaster was off.
McCrory wasted no time installing fall-guys Darren Ward and Tommy Miller as some sort of caretaking dream team (because joint managers always work well) but Town’s February limped to a close with a home draw against Preston and a dire home defeat to Bury. Just when we should have been capitalising and consolidating our position at the top we were too busy capitulating and consigning ourselves to the playoff places.