Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager and the trouble it has caused for the Black Cats has proved West Ham were right to avoid appointing the Hammers legend.
For a while now, factions of the Claret and Blue Army have not been shy in calling for Di Canio to replace Sam Allardyce as West Ham gaffer. The number of advocates of this belief increased considerably in February following Di Canio’s resignation as manager of Swindon Town. The cries of ‘Pao-lo-Di-Canio!’ that have echoed round East London since 1999 began to take on a new meaning. Even the media started to ask whether West Ham would snatch up Di Canio while he was available, not just Hammers fans disgruntled with Big Sam’s style (or lack thereof).
hone favourably on West Ham. The owners stuck by their man and, in doing so, saved the club from the unwanted newspaper headlines they have all but become accustomed to. Di Canio is a West Ham legend, there is no doubting that. In the last 20 years, no star has shone as brightly at the Boleyn and dazzled the crowd as he did. Hence the reason he has a lounge named after him in the West Stand of Upton Park.
And, not only was Di Canio a footballing magician, the man has also proven himself to be an excellent manager in a very short space of time. He led Swindon to promotion as champions of League 2 last season as well as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley – not bad at all for his first attempt at bossing a football team. So, with Sunderland earning just two points in the seven games leading to the sacking of Martin O’Neill, it is not too difficult to see why the Wearsiders were prepared to gamble on Di Canio as the man to halt their dramatic slide down the Premier League table.
Although the former Lazio, Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday forward’s political views caused an almighty stink when he took over at the Stadium of Light, he could still be West Ham manager one day. If anything, Sunderland have made it easier for him to return to West Ham by drawing in all of the heat the fiery Italian’s political views were bound to radiate. Now if Di Canio performs well in the North East, as all Hammers should hope he does (to a reasonable extent), West Ham can welcome home a hero safe in the knowledge that he has proven himself at the top level and is no longer a PR nightmare.