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Paolo Di Canio: Leader of the Black Cats

Paolo Di Canio: Leader of the Black Cats
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The appointment of self-proclaimed fascist Paolo Di Canio as coach of Sunderland late on Sunday has been met with a wave of mixed reactions.

In 2005 Di Canio was given a one-match ban on two occasions for making a Nazi raised-arm salutes to Lazio supporters during his playing days there.

The 44-year-old later described himself as a ‘fascist not a racist’.

His controversial appointment on a two-and-a-half year deal to replace Martin O’Neill prompted Britain’s ex-foreign secretary David Miliband to resign as vice-chairman of the club.

The former Swindon Town boss’ appointment has not gone down too well with certain sections of the Sunderland faithful either.

Bob Hudson, a Black Cats fan for 57 years, is handing back his season ticket in protest.

Mr Hudson said: “It’s not just about the fans who do, or do not go through the turnstiles after this. I think it’s about the image the club wants to project around the world. I don’t think this is a good one”

Fans could also be forgiven for feeling nervous over Di Canio’s lack of topflight managerial experience with the club one point above the drop zone with seven games left this season.

The first game for Di Canio – who has previously only coached League One side Swindon Town – is an away fixture at Chelsea on Sunday.