Sunderland fans split over Paolo Di Canio appointment

FIERY ... Paolo Di Canio.
FIERY ... Paolo Di Canio.
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FROM threats of turning their backs on the club to allowing the man to get on with the job without concerns over his political opinions, Paolo Di Canio’s appointment has polarised Black Cats fans.

Passionate supporters have voiced their views about the arrival of the Italian as he spent his first day as head coach of Sunderland AFC.

Pam Boldon, from Hendon, tweeted: “Pleased I am no longer a season ticket holder. If I was it would be chucked.

“SAFC should hang its head in shame. Well done David Miliband.”

But supporter Neil Ainger said: “I can’t see eye to eye with him on everything, but lots of clipped quotes, no context and ignorance circulating.

“I’ll back him and judge him on what he achieves here.

“He should whip the squad into shape and we need some fight.”

Club legend Marco Gabbiadini, a former striker for the club, said: “Every political and religious view has radical strands. Think Di Canio is entitled to his own views as our other managers and owners have.”

But Andy Dawson, 40, from Sunderland, who has held a season ticket since 1996, said: “I’ll decide once I’ve heard him speak about it.

“As things stand right now, I’ll be cancelling.” A Facebook group, called Sunderland Against Fascist Di Canio, which was set up immediately after he was appointed, has attracted more than 2,000 likes, while an online petition calling for him to be removed from the position has so far attracted more than 250 signatures.

Supporter Ronnie Landau said he has always been “immensely proud” of the city and its traditions, and added: “I must therefore register my horror at the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as manager of our football club.

“Ellis Short, acting with astonishing ignorance and myopia, will bring unprecedented shame upon the town.

“These days a manager is also an ambassador. Football is now inseparable from the nation’s social, cultural and political life.”