Paolo Di Canio takes charge at Swindon

Paolo Di Canio has been confirmed as Swindon's new manager.

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 npower 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 yesterday.

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.

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