What was Paolo Di Canio’s most memorable moment? His volley for West Ham, his screamer against Chelsea or pushing the referee when playing for Arsenal against Sheffield Wednesday.
The most famous of these antics has to have come in the Sheffield Wednesday game against Arsenal in the early 1998 season. Di Canio got in a ruck with Martin Keown and was shown the red card. After being sent off at Hillsborough, he pushed referee Paul Alcock to the ground, which resulted in an 11 match ban and a fine of £10,000.
Former referee Philip Don was unhappy
Paolo Di Canio has been found guilty of a major disciplinary issue and I don’t think the punishment is correct.
But Gordon Taylor, the head of the players union was cool with it
A measure of proportion and fairness had been applied by the panel.
Di Canio thought Alcock took a dive
He took three or four sideways steps before falling over in rather a strange way, like someone diving to win a penalty.
Tony Banks, the sports minister was angry
This is a matter for the FA and I think they should chuck the book at him. This is so serious that an example has to be made of the player. To say that the referee took a dive is just compounding what he has done.
And former manager David Pleat was down about it
I think it is a sad conclusion to a career because he is a sparkling player who added flair and panache to Hillsborough.
In a 2010 interview with Amy Lawrence, Di Canio admitted he wished he could stay calm
I argue with referees a lot. I do this when I don’t see a fair attitude from them. Sometimes I would like to say something in a more gentle way but you have snap decisions. It’s difficult to say something like an Oxford student. I’m jealous of players who can say it calmly but I can’t do that.
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