Paolo Di Canio has been appointed the new manager of League Two side Swindon Town. The Italian, who played much of his career in Britain, will be formally confirmed and unveiled on Monday. It will be his first coaching job.
Swindon's interim chairman, Jeremy Wray, said he was "delighted" to announce Di Canio as the full-time successor to Paul Hart, who was dismissed after less than two months in the role. Neither Hart, nor his caretaker successor Paul Bodin, could save Swindon from relegation to the fourth tier for next season. They finished bottom of League One this season, and Di Canio is now tasked with ensuring their stay in League Two is as brief as possible.
"I'm delighted that we're finally able to announce it, and I can't wait for Paolo to get here and get started," Wray said. "When you see the man's passion and love for the game, you will see why he stood out above the other candidates – he's infectious. He's already shown such pride and attention to detail, and it's an exciting time for Swindon Town."
The Italian retired from playing in 2008, after a spell with Roman lower-league team Atletico Roma. Since then he has qualified for his coaching badges and said this week how keen he would be to fill the vacant managerial role at his former club West Ham United.
"This team has always been in my heart," he said. "I would give everything for West Ham. I even have a Hammers tattoo." His lack of coaching experience was the reason he did not get the West Ham job, according to the club's co-owner David Sullivan. "The problem with Paolo is, although the fans would love it, I am being realistic and he has no experience whatsoever being a manager," Sullivan said last week.
"If you look at first-season managers the failure rate is enormous. If he had done a season anywhere and was, say, top of Serie B in Italy with a team, I would take the chance. My heart would say Paolo and the fans would say Paolo – but with someone who's a complete novice as a manager, with no experience, you just can't go with it."
West Ham was where Di Canio enjoyed the longest stay of his playing career. He played at the Boleyn Ground from January 1999 to the summer of 2003, scoring 57 goals.
He had previously had trophy-winning spells at Juventus and Milan, and also played for Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic. At the top level, he started and ended his career at Lazio, where he muddied his reputation with a fascist salute to supporters in 2005.