• Premier League

Di Canio appointed Sunderland boss

ESPN staff
March 31, 2013
Di Canio in charge at Sunderland

Paolo Di Canio has been appointed as Sunderland boss after signing a two-and-a-half year deal at the Stadium of Light.

The Italian earlier on Sunday arrived on Wearside to hold talks for the vacant managerial position following the sacking of Martin O'Neill on Saturday night.

O'Neill was dismissed following Sunderland's 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, a loss which left the club 16th in the Premier League, without a victory in eight games and only one point above the relegation zone.

Di Canio left League Two outfit Swindon Town last month after guiding them to promotion, but has no experience of managing in the Premier League with the 44-year-old taking charge of his one and only club Swindon a couple of years ago.

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

"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."

Meanwhile, former senior Labour party MP David Miliband has stepped down as vice-chairman of the club following the appointment, because of political comments made by Di Canio in the past.

"I wish Sunderland AFC all success in the future. It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the North East and I wish the team very well over the next vital seven games.

"However, in the light of the new manager's past political statements, I think it is right to step down," Miliband confirmed via his personal website, suggesting that Di Canio's openly facist sympathies were responsible for his decision.

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