14 years ago this week, Di Canio had a meltdown (Video)

14 years ago this week, Paolo Di Canio ensured that at Sheffield Wednesday and perhaps in English football, he would forever be remembered not for his ability with a football but for pushing referee Paul Alcock to the ground (that is until his recent outbursts as manager of Swindon) in a league match at home to Arsenal.

The Italian’s push was hardly the most aggressive and indeed it’s fair to say that Alcock fell to the ground rather theatrically. Had that been a Brazilian player in the Premier League Alcock would probably have been booking that player for diving. However, the push remained an unforgivable, brainless offence that if condoned could have had serious ramifications for the relationship between officials and players in the game.

Sheffield Wednesday, to their credit, appeared to understand that and despite Di Canio being their best player by quite some distance, ended the Italian’s career at Hillsborough. As a footballing decision, it made no sense and this was later proved as the Owls were quickly relegated as they failed to replace their departed genius, while Di Canio turned up at West Ham and wowed Upton Park for four unforgettable seasons. However, this was beyond a simple footballing decision, it was just one that had to be made.

On a side note, Nigel Winterburn’s attempts to go and give Di Canio a piece of his mind before, to put it bluntly, s*****g his pants as the fiery Italian merely turned towards him, is pure comedy gold.

Adam Mazrani