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Di Canio: Triumph or Tragedy

This week Swindon Town made the bold decision to appoint one of the legends of the Premier League era, in Paolo Di Canio. Having no previous managerial experience to talk about, this would appear to be a very brave move by the new Town board.

The last time Swindon found themselves in League Two they made a similar appointment by taking on Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet. Again, the pair had very little managerial experience but, despite this, they managed to gain promotion back to League One at the first time of asking.

The Robins will be hoping the former Italian international has the same success as his predecessors. However, this appointment is much more controversial than when Wise and Poyet were appointed at the helm.

The GMB Union announced this week that they have withdrawn their financial backing of the club, to the tune of £4,000-per-season because of Di Canio’s links fascism.

The former West Ham star has never been far from controversy his whole career, whether it be pushing referee Paul Alcock over after being sent off, or performing the infamous Roman salute.

Despite the controversy, he has shown a lighter, more admirable side, when he was given a FIFA Fair Play Award in 2001, for not scoring past Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard after he had twisted his knee attempting a clearance on the edge of the box.

One thing you can never question is the Italian’s passion for the game. Swindon is a club that need galvanising, and they need to impassion the supporters, especially following the docile tones and style of former boss Paul Hart.

The appointment of Di Canio is certainly a risk, but in similar circumstances to his former club West Ham, something drastic is needed following one of the worst seasons in recent memory.

It was only 12 months ago that Town were one game away from going into the Championship. They now face life in League Two with the tough task of tying to gain promotion at the first time of asking.

Jeremy Wray, the new interim chairman, seems to be a man who knows what he wants. From the moment Di Canio made his interest known, Wray was determined to get his man. And get him he did. Together they must now bring the club back from despair and start winning some football matches.

The Rome born star already has the backing of the Swindon fans, and it would appear they may even have some honorary Town fans, in the form of some West Ham supporters who hold the Italian in such high esteem that they’re willing to follow him, wherever he goes.

Despite his legendary status amongst fans, it should be with some trepidation that Swindon fans must greet this experiment. It will more than likely end in either glorious triumph or an unceremonious tragedy.

Whatever the outcome, it’s certainly never dull when Paolo’s in town.

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