Q&A with Raffaele De Vita
In the latest of Steven Fyfe’s Q&As, Raffaele De Vita discusses life working under his hero, Paolo Di Canio, and more…
I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. My first question has to be, what was it like working for Paolo?.
“Working with Di Canio was the best experience I’ve had in football. A lot of people have different opinions on him but for me he was by far the best manager I’ve worked with.”
“It was obviously easier for me to buy into his idea from the first minute I met him, as he’s always been my hero since I was a kid. I was born and raised in Rome and I’ve always been a Lazio fan, so as you can imagine, Di Canio was like a god for people like me!”
“Apart from that, I sincerely thought that he was an unbelievable coach. His football knowledge was second to none; his attention to details was just incredible. He was an absolute perfectionist and did not accept the possibility of losing.”
“Obviously, he was also caught up in the middle of a few controversial moments in our time at Swindon, but that was just the way he was. He had so much passion and he put so much energy in his work that sometimes he’d get carried away when he wasn’t happy with something. I genuinely think it was only after I met him that I really understood what it meant to be a professional.”
What were your particular highlights during your time at Swindon?
“I had a lot of great moments at Swindon and I was lucky enough to play in a team that won a lot of games and had some great cup runs. The most memorable game I played there was against Wigan in the FA cup. The County Ground was packed and the game was shown on Sky Italia so my family and my friends managed to watch me from back home. We were in League 2 and they were a good premiership side, so to be them was an unbelievable achievement and it’s an experience I will never forget.”
In your opinion, who were the best players you played with at Town?
“The player that stood out during my time there was definitely Matt Ritchie…there were quite a few times where we weren’t playing great and he would just pop up with some magic like a brilliant cross or a long range shot that would win us the game.”
“Another player who I really enjoyed playing with was Simon Ferry..Hardly seen him give the ball away in the two seasons I was there!”
How do you look back at your time at SN1?
“The two seasons at Swindon were amazing. It really felt like the perfect club to be at at the time. After the promotion from League 2 the club had a real go in trying to get promoted again and they brought in lots of quality players.”
“The only disappointment was not being able to get back to back promotions, and I’m sure without the change of manager we could have gone all the way.”
“Swindon was the only club where I really felt at home and it made me really sad when I had to leave.”
Your back up north now at Ross County, how are you enjoying it?
“I’m enjoying my time in Scotland, surprisingly.”
“England has always been my first choice but I’ve been lucky enough to signed for Ross County.”
“They are a unique club for Scotland. They are a really small club with a tiny fan base and they are based basically in the middle of nowhere, but they are growing massively every year and they are establishing themselves as one of the better clubs in the SPL”
“The facilities are brilliant, everything works perfectly and things get done in the right way.”
And you’re not the only ex Robin up north.
“Yeah there’s quite a few! Wes will be there soon when he gets promoted with rangers!”
County are doing well in the league this season, are you dreaming of Europe?
“It’ll be really hard to catch Hearts, and in fairness they are a better team than us! Top six will be more that decent for us!”
Congratulations on your cup success, what is it like playing at Hampden?
“Great stadium, been there a couple of times but never seen it so full!”
Finally, can you pick a career highlight?
“My career highlights would definitely all be connected to my time at Swindon, from the game against Wigan to the Northampton win in the last minute on new year’s eve.”
“My personal one would be the winning goal at Plymouth. it was a special day because of what the gaffer had gone through that week. With the loss of his father, that win meant so much for us and especially for him. To see him in tears after the game was touching and I was extremely proud to have scored in a game that was so important for him”
I would like to thank Rafa for taking the time to answer my questions. Congrats again to him and Ross County on their cup success and I wish him every success with the rest of his career.