Di Canio promises to be hardline Swindon boss
Published 23:01 23/05/11 By Mike Walters
When push came to shove, Paolo Di Canio was the only man Swindon Town wanted as their new manager.
No matter that his most famous contribution to English football was that pat-a-cake prod which sent referee Paul Alcock sprawling 13 years ago.
No matter that Il Duce’s only previous experience in management is his eight-a-side team - including a surgeon, a brickie and a 54-year-old businessman - on Friday nights in Rome.
And no matter that a trade union has withdrawn its £4,000-a-year sponsorship of the Robins as a token protest against Di Canio’s fascist salutes and right-wing political convictions.
Watch out, League Two – the great Italian enigma is back.
If he makes a decent fist of the Swindon job, he's nailed-on as a future West Ham manager.
If he crashes and burns, it will be spectacular while it lasts.
Di Canio, now 42, turned on the charm as he arrived to sign a two-year contract and, with a straight face, the man who copped an 11-match ban for that shove on Alcock insisted discipline would be a keynote of his reign.
“A lion cannot stay in its cage for ever,” he announced. “And this lion has matured – I don’t know if it has been tamed, but this job is my destiny.
“If I had to manage a player like me, I’d kick his a*** – but I would love to have Paolo Di Canio’s character in my dressing room.
“In life, I always wanted confrontation, I always wanted a challenge.
"I’m not worried about strong characters. I told the chairman I’d like to have players with two big b******s. Because, if you find the key to what makes a strong character, you will have the best warrior on the pitch.
“I am still the same as I was 10 years ago. My daughters have tamed me a bit, but I am still the same man.”
When relegated Swindon’s players report for pre-season training, they may be surprised to find the old maverick preaching self-control and restraint.
Di Canio added: “Footballers are lucky. They have good jobs and good money.
"I can’t accept that someone who has an appointment at 9.30 turns up at 9.45. It means you are not strong or professional enough.
“And on the pitch, I can always understand the anger of players at a bad decision, but they cannot go over the top like I did in the past.”