Paolo Di Canio – Management by Hand Grenade

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the frequent distillation of the complex skills of football management to the capacity to administer an arm round the shoulder or a kick up the backside. The astrological skill in knowing when and with whom to administer which comes so often from the relative strengths of the nourishing Moon and assertive Mars. Probably the greatest exponent of this esoteric art is Sir Alex Ferguson who has the Moon conjunct noble  Jupiter in friendly Gemini but also Mars in full hairdryer mode in Aries.

The Moon and Mars in aspect together can be a quite volatile combination but many managers have this aspect and it’s a valuable tool in cajoling and encouraging stronger performance from the players. In many ways this aspect could be seen as an important part of the armoury of the perfect manager. Roberto Mancini has the conjunction although this is strengthened by the fact that Uranus and Pluto are also involved. This aspect generally works well for Mancini but it can work against him as well and his dismissal from Man City was around man management issues which were certainly provoked by this Moon / Mars combination.

Paolo Di Canio has the Moon opposite Mars with these two planets pulling in distinctly different directions . This aspect is not in itself a problem and oppositions can give the individual the capacity to see and work both ends of a spectrum at the same time. Indeed Jose Mourinho has the Moon opposite Mars and he seems capable of a verbal arm round the shoulder and a kick up the backside sometimes even in the same sentence.  Both Mourinho and Di Canio have this opposition connected by conjunction to their Suns. There is a difference however, Mourinho’s Moon is conjunct the Sun in Aquarius and this sign has an impersonal friendliness that seems to treat everyone equally. He also has the conjunction of the Moon with Saturn which helps to calm things down. Mourinho’s outbursts and admonishments always seem to come from a controlled agenda and have a particular logical Aquarian aim in mind.

Di Canio has the Sun in conjunction with Mars in Cancer opposite the Moon. This is a much more emotional and volatile combination. Cancers are sensitive, feeling people and the conjunction of the Sun to Mars here can be quite intense. They also have a strong sense of family, of who belongs and who doesn’t and can be fiercely protective of those that fall within their family lines but can be quite difficult with those who choose to be outside of the family group. The Sun conjunct Mars in Cancer opposite the Moon can easily create a situation where someone is either with Di Canio or against him.

The Sun in a chart rules the self and the Moon rules our feelings and reactions. The Moon can also cover other people’s reactions to us so when the Sun and Moon are conjunct other people’s reactions appear to be broadly similar  to and  supportive of our own. When the Sun and Moon are in opposition other people’s reactions to us seem to be difficult and even negative and they are less inclined to go in the direction that we want.

Mourinho’s  Sun and Moon conjunction in Aquarius seems to generally place him in an environment that is supportive. Di Canio’s Sun / Moon opposition can often find him at odds with his surroundings and with the reactions of people around him. People with this opposition are not generally phased by this lack of general support. Some even seem to welcome it and feel that it adds fuel to their own direction and they thrive on the negative energy of others.  In Di Canio’s  case this opposition often drives him further and makes him more determined to pursue his own path regardless. Inevitably this way of acting will pose problems from time to time.

This aspect can work very well for a player, particularly one as individualistic as Di Canio. It can help him thrive when playing away from home with hostile crowds baying for his blood. The player only has to concern himself with his own performance. A manager has to ensure that a whole group of different individuals function well as a team and in these days of large squads a major skill is keeping everyone happy and on track even if they’re on the bench or in the stands.

Sunderland started the season very badly and are currently bottom of the table. Di Canio was sacked after a particularly poor performance at West Brom which was apparently followed by a heated meeting with the players revealing that he had committed the  manager’s cardinal sin of losing the dressing room. This does not fit so well with Capricorn Research’s predictions that Sunderland would be this season’s surprise team finishing comfortably in the upper half of the table, a prediction which was based on Di Canio’s Jupiter transits towards the end of the season.  The  astrologer’s cardinal sin is of not looking at the whole picture.

For the greater picture we must look at the movements of the slower moving planets. Many punters thought that Di Canio’s time at Sunderland would either be a great success or would all end quickly in tears. It has obviously been the latter but it could well be that the Sunderland experience was just an inadvertent backward step for him.

Looking at Di Canio’s chart over the next few years, a number of transits are building momentum towards the most significant transit of his whole life which is Pluto opposite his Sun.  This will occur in 2016 and 2017, and will mark a major watershed period.  As his Sun is conjunct Mars and opposite the Moon, Pluto’s transits to these planets will be tied in to the events in 2016 and 17. Pluto will also be opposite Mars throughout 2014.  As no birthtime is available it is difficult to know exactly when Pluto was conjunct his Moon. Uranus is also moving to square Di Canio’s Sun in 2015 and Jupiter is currently conjunct his Sun and will be for much of this season. With all this going on, Di Canio is definitely not going to fade out of the picture quietly. He will almost certainly get another managerial role quite soon.

It is interesting to look at Pluto’s movements. Up to Spring 2013, it was moving forward towards the opposition aspect to his Sun. After a succesful managerial debut at Swindon, he was appointed manager of Sunderland on 31st March and immediately Pluto stopped going forwards and turned backwards. Pluto continued to go backwards until Sep 22nd, Di Canio was sacked the following morning. Another extraordinary point is that he was sacked on the day that Jupiter was exactly conjunct his Sun. Capricorn Research cannot think of any other person that has been sacked with Jupiter on their Sun, many have been promoted or appointed but not sacked. What Jupiter wants more than anything else is the freedom to expand and explore new horizons. The only conclusion that can be drawn was that Sunderland was the wrong job for him and that he needed to be free from it.  Its almost as if Di Canio realised that Sunderland was not right and engineered his own sacking by deliberately being provocative to the fans and players and insisting on doing things his own way. This is not to say that he was doing this consciously, perhaps he was just trying to force everyone to do things his way, knowing there was a strong possibility of being sacked but thinking it was a gamble worth taking. Perhaps the thinking was this has to be on my terms but if I lose my job at least I’m not bottom of the league anymore and there’s sure to be plenty of other clubs lining up to hire me. Confidence has never been a problem for Paulo Di Canio.

Its important to note that the Sunderland experience was not entirely negative. Di Canio was brought in to replace Martin O’Neill with the club in very real danger of relegation. His aggressive and confident approach immediately paid dividends as Sunderland quickly grabbed enough points to beat the drop including a 3-0 hammering of hated local rivals Newcastle which at the time enabled the Black Cats to leafrog the Magpies and place their deadly enemies in danger of relegation themselves. At this point Uranus was still moving forward in square aspect to Di Canio’s Mars showing the sudden and dramatic upturn in fortunes combined with a more vigorous and aggressive approach that one would expect from this transit.  Uranus came to a halt and started going backwards in mid July and it was probably from this point on that the troubles began.

Di Canio is obviously a certain type of manager, one that can galvanise players who need a kick up the behind.  The jury is still out on whether his skill set includes great judgement on purchasing new players and integrating them into a club. He may be better working in a continental type managerial situation where the coach has control over the team but much less input into transfer policy. Perhaps much of the blame should be placed on the Sunderland board for appointing a firefighting, heart on the sleeve type like DiCanio without giving him a strong technical director to control transfer policy and oversee the general direction of the club. It does seem rather bizarre to trust the manager to sign more than a dozen players in the summer and to kick him out after 6 games when the new signings can’t possibly have had time to settle.

Pluto was moving backwards throughout Di Canio’s term at Sunderland. Uranus was moving backwards through the bad bit. As soon as Pluto turned round Di Canio was sacked.  Of course this looks like a bad thing and an indictment on his managerial skills.  When people look back on his career the whole Sunderland experience may look like a mistake.

Uranus turns forward again in December and Pluto comes to conjunct Di Canio’s Mars in January.  This would suggest further developments and the likelihood of another job. If there are any clubs that need the cajoling fighting and inspiring impact of Di Canio’s Moon / Mars opposition they should not be deterred in taking him on particularly for a short term fix. He has a Jupiter / Sun transit coming up in May and so a successful season is still on the cards. Any club that takes him on should have a strong back up team however. Management by hand grenade is fine as long as there is someone standing behind the manager making sure the grenades are being lobbed in the right direction.


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