Recording refs, managing at the top and gesturing to fans

Paolo Di Canio

Swindon manager Paolo Di Canio, one of football's most controversial and colourful characters, gives his view on the world of football in his BBC Sport column.

Players behave like actors, not athletes

In England now, more than before, the only thing that is talked about is racism or the referee - not the game itself.

I read that someone said football should be more like rugby, and have what the referees say recorded but I would not record anything or broadcast communication.

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I am a free person and don't even like the cameras in the city. London is covered in cameras and you cannot go a few hours without being recorded. On Facebook, people say "I am here" or "I am there" - they are stupid anyway.

If the referees are recorded, they could feel too much pressure because they are constantly being observed. They might struggle to show authority as much as they used to because they would always be thinking about being recorded.

When it comes to technology, including recording referees, I would cancel all the new rules and technologies they have brought in over the last 10 years and try to make people behave like they used to.

Maybe the players used to be rougher in those days but they were more genuine. The new rules and systems brought about a change in attitude, meaning many players do not behave in a genuine way.

Unfortunately, television has in some way destroyed everything. Football is completely a business show now, not a sport.

Players behave like they are actors not athletes. They are thinking about their look. They head the ball and instead of looking to see if they scored, they immediately put their hair back in place.

That happened 10 years ago in Italy and I could not imagine England would fall into the same trap. They are thinking about fashion and how to appear when they go on the pitch.

I am an old romantic and I would cancel it all and go back to how football was in the 1970s.

It is no longer about the football and that drove me mad in Italy. Every sports programme would talk about everything off the pitch and did not talk about the technical ability or the good plays.

In England, it used to be that 99% of the time they would discuss tactics and ability, but now it seems to be 75% about the referee and racism.

I'm asked about these things every day and then we have all the coverage about Jason Roberts and why he does not wear a Kick It Out shirt and it goes on for two or three weeks. If Roberts doesn't want to wear a T-shirt why do we have to talk about it for so long? He doesn't want to wear it, it is not the end of the world.

This is a moment in England that has made me crazy. Roberts has his view on an issue, he made his stance and we have to respect that. But on the television it was discussed day after day.

I didn't come to England for this, otherwise I would go back to Italy.

I am ready for the Premier League

I proved from the first day I became a manager that I am capable of managing at the top level.

I recognised my mistakes from the beginning and I still recognise my mistakes. I probably made one in training yesterday and consequently I will do better in the future. I believe being able to recognise my mistakes makes me a good manager.

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I am not God, insists Di Canio

I don't feel I have to prove that I am ready for the top anymore. Intelligent people will see that at Swindon we won the league and we went to Wembley in my first season as manager.

Now we are close to the play-offs, even though we have had eight injuries in one month and we are under a transfer embargo.

The system we play shows we can play well against the top sides. Against three Premier League, five Championship and, while we were in League Two, four League One sides, we won 80% of those games. That was not in 20 years, but barely 12 months.

For me, even before I became manager of Swindon, I felt I was ready, but that was my arrogant opinion. Now I have proven it.

Some managers get their chance in the Premier League straight away, without having succeeded in the lower leagues.

I am not jealous, they deserve to be there, but I don't know many managers who have a 61% win record from 75 games.

I am sure I have the knowledge and ability to manage at the top level but obviously I have to keep working hard.

Focus, not fireworks, on Bonfire Night

I will celebrate this with my daughters because they have been involved in this tradition since they moved to England.

It was something that I didn't get too involved with in Italy, and as I focus on my job with Swindon, less so again.

This year bonfire night is the night before we play Sheffield United, so I will be preparing for that. My daughter will probably want to celebrate and I will let her go in the garden while I work. Maybe next year I will celebrate it again.

Paolo Di Canio was speaking to BBC Sport's Gary Rose.

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