Guy phones a friend to call in loan favours

Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio taunts the Aston Villa fans at the end of the game
Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio taunts the Aston Villa fans at the end of the game

When someone has a temper as fiery as Paolo Di Canio, it makes perfect sense to stay on his good side.

Caretaker Blues boss Guy Whittingham knows the Italian from their playing days together at Sheffield Wednesday, when Di Canio once infamously shoved referee Paul Alcock to the ground.

But it seems that Whittingham remembers how to keep his old team-mate sweet as he tempted the Swindon boss to let him sign striker Paul Benson on loan without even a hint of the Italian’s trademark tantrums.

Whittingham smiled: ‘Paolo was really, really good to be fair.

‘It was one phone call and he said “How are you? How can I help you out?” So that was great.

‘I’ve always got on well with him. We know he’s a passionate man but I’ve had no problems with him whatsoever.

‘So I have to thank Paolo and Swindon.’

Peterborough director of football, Barry Fry, is another of Whittingham’s old sparring partners who has given his old friend a helping hand.

Whittingham said: ‘Everybody has got friends in football.

‘Barry Fry at Peterborough has been kind to us and I played for Barry when I was at Peterborough.

‘But there are lots of people I know in football all over the country. The contacts are there – it’s just about having the opportunity to do it.

‘Swindon and Peterborough have been very good to us.’

And it’s not just Whittingham who has other coaches and managers dotted around the country who could yet help the club out with loan signings.

He explained: ‘Luke Dowling has been fantastic and has kept me updated throughout.

‘But I’ve got some contacts, Andy Awford has got contacts, Steve Allen the physio has got contacts and Chris Neville through his England connections knows plenty of people as well.

‘That’s the point of having good staff.

‘If you’ve got good staff, other people will do things for you.’

While Whittingham was unable to make any signings during his stint in charge a year ago, he got his first real taste of some frantic transfer negotiations when he was attending a coaching course at England’s HQ on Wednesday.

He explained: ‘I was at St George’s Park for my coach education stuff.

‘I was ducking in and out of seminars and workshops and there were a lot of phone calls and texts!

‘Just because we got those two, it doesn’t mean that we didn’t try others as well.

‘There are one or two that won’t come off. Sometimes they don’t want to come or it’s not quite right for the other club.

‘But I’m happy with the two players we’ve got. I think they’ll make a difference and I’m looking forward to working with them.’