Paolo Di Canio
Di Canio at Upton Park, September 2010
|Full name||Paolo Di Canio|
|Date of birth||9 July 1968|
|Place of birth||Rome, Italy|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Second Striker / Playmaker|
|Current club||Sunderland (manager)|
|1986–1987||→ Ternana (loan)||27||(2)|
|1999–2003||West Ham United||118||(48)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Paolo Di Canio (born 9 July 1968) is an Italian former professional footballer and current manager of the Premier League club Sunderland. He made over 500 league appearances and scored over one hundred goals in the course of his playing career before moving into management.
Di Canio began his career in the Italian Serie A, playing for Lazio, Juventus, Napoli and Milan, before a brief spell with the Scottish club Celtic. He subsequently spent seven years in the English Premier League with Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic. He returned to Italy in 2004, playing for Lazio and Cisco Roma before retiring in 2008. He played for the Italian under-21s but was never capped for the senior team.
Among the individual awards he received as a player, Di Canio was named SPFA Players' Player of the Year in 1997 and West Ham's player of the season in 2000. However, his career was at times characterised by controversy: he received an eleven-match ban in 1998 for pushing a referee and attracted negative publicity over his self-proclaimed allegiance to fascism.
In 2011, Di Canio entered football management in England with Swindon Town, guiding them in his first full season as manager to promotion to League One before leaving in February 2013. He was appointed as the Sunderland manager at the end of March 2013.
Di Canio was born in Rome, in the district of Quarticciolo, a working-class area populated mainly by Roma fans. However, Di Canio was drawn to their local rivals Lazio. As a young boy, he was addicted to cola and similar drinks and called Pallocca, a slang term meaning lard-ball. He was fat, and knock-kneed, and needed to wear orthopedic shoes – "But I never hid. My response was to exercise; to try to become the kind of person I am."
He signed for Lazio in 1985 and remained there until 1990, when he was sold to another of Italy's biggest clubs, Juventus. He left Juventus "after an animated exchange with then manager Giovanni Trapattoni" and spent the 1993–94 season with Napoli. Two seasons followed at Milan, culminating in a row with Fabio Capello. In 1996 he joined Celtic in Scotland, and his successful season in Glasgow (scoring 15 goals in 37 appearances) saw him make a move to the English Premiership as he joined Sheffield Wednesday for a sum of around £4.2 million. Whilst in Sheffield, Di Canio was the club's leading goal scorer for the 1997–98 season with 14 goals and he became a favourite of the fans.
In England, Di Canio is infamous for an incident on the pitch in September 1998, when he pushed referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being sent off while playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal at Hillsborough, which resulted in an extended ban of 11 matches and him being fined £10,000.
In January 1999, Di Canio signed for West Ham United for £1.7 million and helped them to achieve a high league position (5th) and qualify for the UEFA Cup through the Intertoto Cup. He was also the OPTA player of the season 1998–99. He scored the BBC Goal of the Season in March 2000 with a volley against Wimbledon, which is still considered among the best goals in Premiership history and was named as the Premiership's goal of the decade in a December 2009 Sky Sports News viewers' poll, scoring 30% of votes. In this season he was also voted Hammer of the Year by the club's fans.
In 2001, he won the FIFA Fair Play Award. The previous December, in a match against Everton, in a noteworthy display of sportsmanship, Di Canio shunned a goal scoring opportunity and caught the ball from a cross instead as the Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was lying injured on the ground after he twisted his knee attempting a clearance on the edge of the box. FIFA described the act as "a special act of good sportsmanship".
He remained a key figure at West Ham until 2003 when, with the Hammers struggling at the bottom of the league, he had a very public row with manager Glenn Roeder and was dropped from the first team. However, he returned at the end of the season (after Roeder, stricken by a brain tumour, was replaced by Trevor Brooking) and scored a winner against Chelsea in the penultimate game of the season that appeared to have preserved West Ham's Premiership status. However, it proved to be irrelevant and they were relegated on the final day of the season after a 2–2 draw away to Birmingham City, where he scored an 89th minute equaliser. He was released on a free transfer and signed a contract with Charlton Athletic for the start of 2003–04. Whilst at The Valley he helped the club secure its highest league finish since the 1950s. However, he only scored four goals for the Addicks, all of them from the penalty spot (one of them scored from a rebound).
Even though he had already signed an extension to his Charlton contract, in August 2004 he returned to his home team of Lazio taking a massive paycut in order to return to the economically stretched Roman team. Lazio fans were happy to have a Rome-bred Lazio supporter in the team again, something missing since the departure of Alessandro Nesta in 2002. He scored in the Rome derby, just as he had in 1989, leading the team to a 3–1 victory over A.S. Roma in January (6 January 2005). However the negative publicity that Di Canio generated for Lazio, including his intimate relationship with club's ultras and their increased influence thanks to his presence in the team, coupled with problems with some teammates and coaches, exasperated club president and majority shareholder, Claudio Lotito, with whom he already had a difficult relationship. As a result, Di Canio's contract was not renewed in the summer of 2006. During several of his games for Lazio, Di Canio made a fascist salute to their right-wing fans. He subsequently signed with Cisco Roma of Serie C2 on a free transfer. In his first season with Cisco Roma, his team failed promotion to playoffs, despite a runners-up position in the regular season. He subsequently agreed to stay with Cisco for another season, in a second attempt to win promotion to Serie C1 with the Roman side.
On 10 March 2008, Di Canio announced his retirement from football, ending his 23-year playing career before the end of the season due to physical issues. It was his intention to begin coaching lessons at Coverciano to gain a coaching position. In an interview he revealed that his dream would be to manage former club West Ham, and applied for the position after the resignation of Alan Curbishley in September 2008. Di Canio played in Tony Carr's testimonial game at Upton Park on 5 May 2010, which featured a West Ham team against West Ham Academy old boys. He played for both sides during the match. The West Ham team won 5–1. In July 2010, in honour of Di Canio, West Ham announced the opening of the Paolo Di Canio Lounge, within the West Stand, at their Upton Park ground, which was formally launched by the unveiling of a plaque by Di Canio himself, on 11 September 2010.
Di Canio has a UEFA Pro Licence for coaching. On 20 May 2011, Di Canio was appointed manager of Swindon Town, following the club's relegation to League Two. Di Canio began his career as a manager with an emphatic 3–0 win over Crewe Alexandra on 6 August 2011. On 30 August 2011, Di Canio was involved in a pitch-side altercation with Swindon striker Leon Clarke after their defeat in the League Cup to Southampton. In January 2012, Swindon caused a FA Cup shock by defeating Premier League club Wigan Athletic 2–1. Di Canio stated that he believed his players deserved to have their names put on the stadium and dedicated the victory to his father, who died late in 2011. He was sent to the stands later in the month in a league game against Macclesfield Town for vociferously venting his frustration at his side not being awarded a free-kick. Swindon won the match 1–0 and with over half the season gone, his team were fighting for promotion to League One.
On 21 April 2012, Swindon were promoted to the League One after Crawley Town's 1–1 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge and Torquay United's 2–0 loss to AFC Wimbledon, despite Di Canio's side having lost 3–1 to Gillingham on the same day. He dedicated the promotion to his parents, his mother having passed away shortly after his father in April of that year. One week later, Swindon won the Football League Two thanks to an emphatic 5–0 victory over Port Vale. Swindon finished the season on 93 points.
Although in this season, Swindon were knocked out of the FA Cup and the Football League Trophy in their first game against opposition from lower leagues, they did have a solid run in the League Cup in which they won against three teams from higher leagues. They beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3–0, won against Stoke City 3–4 after extra time, and beat Burnley 3–1 before narrowly missing out against Aston Villa 3–2 at home.
In January 2013, with Swindon under a transfer embargo and in financial difficulty, Di Canio offered to pay £30,000 of his own money to keep loan players John Bostock, Chris Martin, and Danny Hollands at the club.
On 18 January 2013, ahead of Swindon's Saturday clash with Shrewsbury Town, Di Canio worked into the night alongside approximately 200 volunteers to clear a snow-covered pitch at the County Ground, thus allowing the game to go ahead. He showed his appreciation by ordering everyone pizza. Swindon won the match 2–0, which Di Canio publicly deemed a present to the volunteers.
In January 2013, the Swindon Town chairman announced that due to financial difficulties, no money would be made available for future signings. Di Canio offered to pay £30,000 of his own money to keep loan players at the club. With the possibility of the club entering administration, a new buyer was found, subject to Football League approval, and without the knowledge of Di Canio, player Matt Ritchie was sold to Bournemouth. Further attempts to sign players by Di Canio were rejected by the Football League due to the club's financial situation with Di Canio "considering his future" at Swindon due to off-field financial problems. In February, Di Canio offered his resignation but said he would withdraw this if approval for the new owners, by the Football League, was received by 18 February. This did not happen and he resigned as manager of Swindon Town.
On 31 March 2013, Sunderland announced the appointment of Di Canio on a two-and-a-half-year contract, following the dismissal of Martin O'Neill the previous day. The appointment prompted the immediate resignation of club vice-chairman David Miliband due to Di Canio's "past political statements". The appointment of Di Canio also sparked opposition from the Durham Miners' Association, which decided to remove one of its mining banners from Sunderland's Stadium of Light, which is built on the former site of the Wearmouth Colliery, as a symbol of its anger over the appointment. The background to the opposition was past statements made by Di Canio supporting fascism.
Di Canio was tasked with keeping Sunderland in the Premier League, following a run of only three points from a possible 24. His first game as manager of Sunderland resulted in a 2–1 away defeat to Chelsea. Di Canio's second game in charge was the Tyne-Wear derby against Newcastle United at St James' Park on 14 April. Despite several men missing through injury, Sunderland defeated their fierce rivals 0–3, their first away victory in the fixture in over a decade. Each goal sparked wild celebrations from Di Canio and the Sunderland bench. Di Canio then got his first win at the Stadium of Light with an emphatic finish by Stéphane Sessègnon past Tim Howard, the lone tally in their 1–0 win against Everton.
Although the team did not win the next three matches, including drawing the final two home games and a heavy 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa , Sunderland secured its Premier League survival when Wigan Athletic were defeated at Arsenal and relegated, trailing Sunderland (17th by then) with four points with only one game to play.
His use of the Roman salute toward Lazio supporters, a gesture adopted by Italian fascists in the 20th century, has created controversy. Documented uses of the salute include in matches against arch-rivals Roma and Livorno, clubs inclined to left-wing politics. Di Canio received a one-match ban after the second event and was fined €7,000. He was later quoted as saying, "I will always salute as I did because it gives me a sense of belonging to my people ... I saluted my people with what for me is a sign of belonging to a group that holds true values, values of civility against the standardisation that this society imposes upon us." His salute has been featured on unofficial merchandise sold outside Stadio Olimpico after the ban.
He has also expressed admiration for the fascist leader Benito Mussolini. In his autobiography, he praised Mussolini as "basically a very principled, ethical individual" who was "deeply misunderstood".
Also in 2010, Di Canio attended the funeral of senior fascist Paolo Signorelli, where mourners were photographed making mass fascist salutes towards Signorelli's coffin. Signorelli had been convicted of involvement in the Bologna massacre, a neo-fascist terrorist attack which killed 85 innocent people and wounded more than 200.
Di Canio's political orientation has been a source of controversy in the course of his managerial career. When Di Canio was appointed as the manager of Swindon Town in 2011, the trade union GMB terminated its sponsorship agreement with the club, worth around £4,000 per season, due to Di Canio's fascist views.
His appointment as the manager of Sunderland on 31 March 2013 brought about the resignation of the club's vice-chairman David Miliband, a Labour politician and former foreign secretary. Miliband said that he had taken the decision to resign "in the light of the new manager's past political statements".
In a profile piece in 2011, an unnamed source asserted that Di Canio was not "an ideological fascist", attributing his behaviour to "his psychological history, particularly his former compulsive tendencies and pronounced mood swings". In the same article, Di Canio said that he was not politically active: "I don't vote, I haven't voted for 14 years. Italian politicians — all of them — think only about themselves, and making money."
Di Canio has several body modifications, including on his right biceps the Latin word "DUX", meaning "leader" or, in Italian, Il Duce—an antonomasia for Benito Mussolini. His back is covered with a tattoo of fascist imagery, including an eagle, fasces and a portrait of Mussolini. He also has a West Ham United tattoo on his left upper arm and a tattoo of his father on his chest.
Di Canio has spoken also of the growing influence in his life of Samurai culture, and of the "Japanese spiritual mentality" from reading Mishima, and the teachings in the traditions of Hagakure and Bushido.
As a player
- Serie A: Champion 1995–96
- UEFA Champions League: runner-up 1995
- UEFA Super Cup: Winner: 1994
- Intercontinental Cup: runner-up 1994
As a manager
- League Two: Champions 2011–12
- LMA League Two Manager of the Year: Winner 2012
- League Trophy: runner-up 2012
- League Two Manager of the Month: February 2012
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Italy||League||Coppa Italia||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1997–98||Sheffield Wednesday||Premier League||35||12||3||0||2||2||–||40||14|
|1998–99||West Ham United||13||5||0||0||0||0||–||13||5|
|Italy||League||Coppa Italia||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2006–07||Cisco Roma||Serie C2||28||7|
- As of 19 May 2013
|Swindon Town||11 May 2011||18 February 2013||95||54||18||23||56.84|
|Sunderland||31 March 2013||Present||7||2||2||3||28.57|
Notes and references
- "Paolo Di Canio: 'My life speaks for me' – Profiles – People". The Independent. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- "Di Canio gets 11-match ban for push on ref". BBC Sport. 23 October 1998.
- "Di Canio ban too short, say referees". BBC Sport. 24 October 1998.
- "West Ham 2 Wimbledon 1". Sporting Life. UK. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Raynor, Dominic (23 October 2009). "Paolo Di Canio: Explosive Italian". ESPN FC. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Football Tonight". 18:00, 31 December 2009 (UTC). 50 (approx) minutes in. BSkyB. Sky Sports News.
- "Di Canio wins Fair Play award". BBC News. 17 December 2001. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Ferguson: 21 that got away – Manchester Evening News". Menmedia.co.uk. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- "Di Canio grabs West Ham lifeline". BBC News. 3 May 2003. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Birmingham 2 West Ham 2". Sporting Life. UK. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Di Canio Smette di giocare, addio alla Cisco Roma". Yahoo! Eurosport Italia. 10 March 2008.
- "Di Canio wants to be Hammers boss". BBC Sport. 4 September 2008.
- "Paolo's pride". Whufc.com. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- "Take your seat in the Di Canio Lounge | West Ham United". Whufc.com. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
- "Di Canio Lounge a hit". West Ham United F.C. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Swindon Town confirm Paolo Di Canio as new manager". BBC News. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "Time called on Clarke". Swindon Advertiser. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- "Swindon 2 – 1 Wigan". BBC Sport. 7 January 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Swindon 1 – 0 Macclesfield". BBC Sport. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- Crook, Alex (21 April 2012). "Gillingham 3 Swindon Town 1: match report". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- "Swindon 5–0 Port Vale". BBC. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- "Football League 2 table 2011/12". footballsite. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- "Paolo Di Canio offers own money to keep Swindon players". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Paolo Di Canio shovels snow off Swindon pitch and orders pizza for helpers". Metro. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "PDC – Victory a present". Swindon Town FC. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "Shrewsbury game on". Swindon Town FC. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "Paolo Di Canio quits as manager of Swindon Town". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- "David Miliband quits Sunderland FC in Di Canio protest". The Guardian. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- BBC News - Miners' Di Canio protest 'will only end with Sunderland campaign support'
- Durham Miners' Association: Our Issues With Di Canio At Sunderland Now Resolved - Sky Tyne and Wear
- Sunderland miners demand return of banner after Paolo Di Canio's arrival | Football | guardian.co.uk
- Miners join opposition to Paolo Di Canio's appointment at Sunderland - Premier League - Football - The Independent
- Premier League round-up | Sky Sports
- "Newcastle 0 Sunderland 3". BBC Sport. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Sunderland 1 Everton 0". Daily Telegraph. 20 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Podolski double condemns Wigan to relegation". Global Post. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Fenton, Ben (24 December 2005). "I'm a fascist, not a racist, says Paolo di Canio". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Kassimeris, Christos (2008). European football in black and white: tackling racism in football. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 70. ISBN 0-7391-1960-5, 9780739119600 Check
- Bar-On, Tamir (2007). Where have all the fascists gone?. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.,. p. 1. ISBN 0-7546-7154-2, 9780754671541 Check
- Nursey, James (19 December 2005). "Football: ll Di Canio new salute row". Daily Mirror (London (UK),). Retrieved 28 February 2013.[dead link]
- "Paolo Di Canio: 'My life speaks for me'". The Independent. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Duff, Mark (9 January 2005). "Footballer's 'fascist salute' row". BBC News. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Fenton, Ben (24 December 2005). "I'm a fascist, not a racist, says Paolo di Canio". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Di Canio is ugly side of beautiful game | The Sun |Scottish News
- HOPE not hate news: Paolo Di Canio at bomb fascist’s funeral
- Paolo Di Canio attends funeral of fascist bomber | Mail Online
- Exclusive: Paolo Di Canio at bomb fascist’s funeral | The Sun |News
- Mokbel, Sami (21 May 2011). "Sponsors cut ties with Swindon over Paolo di Canio's fascist views". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- "Political Football: Paolo Di Canio". Channel 4. 26 April 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- "Paolo Di Canio Tattoo: Just days after renouncing fascisme, Mussolini Design Revealed". Daily Mail. 7 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
- "I'm on my way to England! Di Canio throws his hat into the ring for West Ham hotseat". Daily Mail (London). 18 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- Warren, Andy (1 May 2012). "The man with the Swindon tattoo (From Swindon Advertiser)". Swindonadvertiser.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
- Di Canio's playing profile (from CelticTalk.org The Ultimate Celtic Forum)
- FootballDatabase provides Paolo Di Canio's profile and stats
- Di Canio's playing profile (from Cisco Roma official website)
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