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Sunday 31 March 2013

Sunderland appoint Di Canio to avoid drop

Former West Ham legend named head coach and succeeds Martin O'Neill at Stadium of Light

Paolo Di Canio guided Swindon to promotion and Wembley in his first season there

Sunderland have appointed Paolo Di Canio as head coach after the decision to part company with manager Martin O’Neill yesterday.

The former Swindon Town manager has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal and will take charge from Monday as he seeks to reverse a slump in form under O'Neill for Sunderland. They are without a win in their past eight matches in the Barclays Premier League and sit a point above the relegation zone.

“Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him,” Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said. “He is passionate, driven and raring to get started.

"Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him"
Ellis Short

“The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status. I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with Paolo joining us.

“Our fans have shown tremendous patience and understanding this season. They have continued to back the team in huge numbers, both home and away, and that is something that continues to inspire all of us in our drive to give them the successful club they deserve. That remains our primary aim.”

After 190 appearances and 67 goals in the Barclays Premier League with Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic, Di Canio, 44, started football management two years ago, taking charge of Swindon, whom he led to promotion from League Two and to Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. In February, 21 months after his appointment he decided to leave his post at the club, while they were contending for a second successive promotion.

Di Canio's first match in charge of Sunderland will be the trip to Chelsea on Saturday before the Tyne-Wear derby the week after.

Di Canio's record as Swindon manager

P 95 W 54 D 18 L 23 Win ratio 57%

Sunderland’s remaining fixtures

7 April Chelsea (A)
13 Apr Newcastle (A)
20 Apr Everton (H)
27 Apr Aston Villa (A)
4 May Stoke City (H)
12 May Southampton (H)
19 May Spurs (A)

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Key Points

  • Sunderland announce the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as head coach
  • The Italian succeeds Martin O'Neill who left the club after the defeat by Manchester United
  • Di Canio, 44, has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at the Stadium of Light