Robins bring in Di Canio

The 42-year-old Italian, whose brilliance during his playing days

walked hand in hand with controversy, takes the reins from Paul

Bodin, who was only briefly placed in caretaker charge after the

club parted ways with Paul Hart three weeks ago. Di Canio will make

his managerial bow in League Two after Hart, who only took over

himself from Danny Wilson in early March, failed to save the

Wiltshire club from relegation this season. The appointment marks a

sensational return to England for Di Canio in what is the bottom

tier of the Football League, having also been linked with the

vacancy at former club West Ham on more than one occasion. His

official unveiling will take place on Monday after the paperwork is

completed, at which point the length of contract will be announced.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “The board of STFC

is committed to returning to League One at the earliest opportunity

and is confident that Paolo will build a team with a new level of

passion, pride and professionalism to ensure this goal is

achieved.” Di Canio, who holds a coaching licence, was one of eight

prospective managers shortlisted and subsequently interviewed last

week by interim chairman Jeremy Wray for the Town vacancy, with

others believed to include George Burley and Dietmar Hamann. But

the lure of the passionate Rome-born former striker has proved too

strong and it is understood he accepted the position on Thursday.

Di Canio, who will wrap up his work as a pundit in his native Italy

this weekend, has been keen to move into the dugout for some time

although many anticipated his managerial bow to possibly be made

higher up the football pyramid. He started his career in his

homeland with Lazio, Juventus, Napoli and AC Milan – during which

time he won the Serie A title and European Super Cup and claimed

runners-up medals in both the UEFA Cup and European Cup among other

achivements. Di Canio completed a move to Celtic in 1996, where he

spent a single season before a two-year spell at Sheffield

Wednesday followed. It was at Hillsborough where he famously pushed

referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being sent off and was

banned for 11 matches. He switched to West Ham in 1999 where he

enjoyed huge success and lit up the Premier League with his flair

and skill, remaining idolised by the Upton Park faithful to this

day. He swapped the Hammers for a brief spell with Charlton in 2003

before returning to Rome and spells with Lazio – where off-field

troubles continued to follow him, most notably after his fascist

salutes to a section of the club’s fans – and Cisco Roma. His

retirement from professional football finally came in 2008. Di

Canio will now take the reins at Swindon and attempt to guide the

club back into England’s third tier at the first attempt.