SUNDERLAND have tonight sacked Paolo Di Canio after just 12 games in charge of the Black Cats.
The Wearsiders succumbed to their fourth defeat in five league outings at West Brom yesterday, to leave the club propping up the Premier League table.
And with speculation growing about unrest in the Sunderland camp, Black Cats owner Ellis Short has decided to wield the axe on his second manager within the space of just six months.
A club statement said: “Sunderland AFC confirms that it has parted company with Head Coach Paolo Di Canio this evening.
“Kevin Ball will take charge of the squad ahead of Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup game against Peterborough United and an announcement will be made in due course regarding a permanent successor.
“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paolo and his staff and wishes them well for the future.”
Di Canio oversaw just two wins during his tenure after succeeding Martin O’Neill - the famous 3-0 derby victory over Newcastle United and the subsequent 1-0 success against Everton which helped to stave off the threat of relegation.
But after a huge overhaul of the playing staff during the summer - which included 14 new signings - Di Canio was unable to produce any flickers of life from his side this season, with a return of just one point.
The Italian publicly criticised his players after last month’s defeat at Crystal Palace and that was perhaps the beginning of the end for the 45-year-old.