Swindon Town confirm Paolo di Canio as new manager

Paolo di Canio

Di Canio was at West Ham from 1999 until 2003

Paolo di Canio has been named as the new manager of Swindon Town.

The former West Ham United striker has agreed terms on a two-year deal and is expected to arrive at the County Ground on Monday.

Di Canio, 42, was one of eight candidates interviewed for the position by Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray.

"We were very lucky we had a strong shortlist and the board were unanimous that this was the way to go," Wray told BBC Wiltshire.

It is the Italian's first coaching job in England since he retired from playing in 2008 and but Wray does not view it as a gamble.

"From my point of view you go with the best in whatever you can find," he said.

"I'm far happier to go with someone who has shown those talents as a player and believe he has the capability to carry it through as a manager.

"For me that is a much stronger thing than maybe people who we may have tried and not succeeded."

Di Canio follows Paul Hart as the club's permanent manager, after the former Nottingham Forest and Portsmouth boss left last month following Swindon's relegation from League One.

Former player Paul Bodin was in charge for Swindon's final two games of the season.

Other contenders for the Swindon role were former Germany and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann, ex-Scotland boss George Burley and former Bristol Rovers boss Paul Trollope, among others.

Di Canio scored 48 goals in 118 appearances for West Ham after joining the London club for £1.7m from Sheffield Wednesday in 1999. He began his career at Lazio, and also played for Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan, Celtic and Charlton.

As a player he regularly attracted headlines. Playing for Sheffield Wednesday in 1998, he pushed referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being sent off and was banned for 11 matches.

His volleyed goal against Wimbledon for West Ham in March 2000 was named BBC Goal of the Season, and in 2001 he won the Fifa Fair Play Award for catching the ball to ensure the injured Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard could receive prompt treatment.

After returning to Lazio, he was pictured making a raised-arm fascist salute to a group of the club's supporters, and claimed to be "a fascist, not a racist".

Di Canio was linked with the vacant manager's role at West Ham following Avram Grant's dismissal after the club's relegation to the Championship but co-owner David Sullivan ruled out an approach because of the Italian's lack of managerial experience.

"The problem with Paolo is, although the fans would love it, I am being realistic and he has no experience whatsoever being a manager," said Sullivan.

"If you look at first-season managers the failure rate is enormous."