}); Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson cherished Paolo Di Canio like George Greatest, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Eric Cantona, however West Ham hero rejected switch to Outdated Trafford - UK News Broadcasts

Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson cherished Paolo Di Canio like George Greatest, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Eric Cantona, however West Ham hero rejected switch to Outdated Trafford


Manchester United aren’t afraid of signing mavericks and controversial characters – they worth capacity, need, and drive of their quests for silverware.

After Eric Cantona retired in 1997, it wasn’t fairly a mill pond at Outdated Trafford however by the top of 2001, Sir Alex Ferguson knew they lacked a sure vim and vigour.

Ferguson was having a tough time in 2001/02


Ferguson was having a troublesome time in 2001/02

Within the late 1990s and early 2000s, English soccer appeared to encourage the eccentrics and allowed them to flourish.

One man, who in his personal phrases was half angel and half satan, and had, regardless of a controversial episode with Sheffield Wednesday, turn into a hero at West Ham, was Paolo Di Canio.

The Italian, who additionally had one turbulent however profitable season with Celtic earlier than arriving in England in 1997, was a public enemy after he pushed referee Paul Alcock to the deck after a crimson card towards Arsenal for the Owls in 1998.

West Ham recognised his abilities and supervisor Harry Redknapp, regardless of noting his flaws, stated: “He can do issues with the ball that individuals can solely dream of.”

And dream is what Hammers supporters did with Di Canio within the workforce.

Di Canio shoved referee Alcock to the ground in one of the most controversial moments in Premier League history

Di Canio shoved referee Alcock to the bottom in some of the controversial moments in Premier League historical past

His addition helped the membership to a fifth-place end within the Premier League, their highest ever within the competitors.

And into the 1999/2000 marketing campaign he actually got here to life, scoring 16 Premier League objectives, together with his well-known volley towards Wimbledon, rightly labelled one of many biggest in top-flight historical past.

The Hammers had been drifting although, regardless of Di Canio’s excellence and a ninth-place end was adopted by them ending 2000/01 in 15th, even with the Italian hitting 9 league strikes.

And by December 2001 he was being lined up for a transfer to a different Premier League struggler – not one you may need thought-about on the time.

Di Canio is a West Ham legend and his goal against Wimbledon is just as remember as his push on Alcock


Di Canio is a West Ham legend and his objective towards Wimbledon is simply as keep in mind as his push on Alcock

The 2001/02 Premier League season got here on the again of three successive titles for Man United, and 5 within the earlier six years.

It wasn’t going to plan, although, and regardless of their well-known 5-Three comeback win over Tottenham, a 4-Zero thrashing of Ipswich, and one other four-goal haul towards Everton, an atrocious run of kind 5 defeats in seven, spanning from late October to early December had them ninth within the desk.

Fergie knew he wanted one thing specifically to assist flip his struggling facet round. It was meant to be his farewell season however he couldn’t exit like this.

One among his well-known revolutions was underway, with Ruud Van Nistelrooy, a direct success arriving, however so did Juan Sebastian Veron, who simply couldn’t present his abilities as he had in Serie A.

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Andy Cole left for Blackburn, Dwight Yorke was up on the market, whereas Teddy Sheringham had gone earlier in 2001. As a alternative, Fergie needed somebody to enhance Van Nistelrooy.

So, on Christmas Day he picked up the phone and tried to candy speak Di Canio right into a transfer to Outdated Trafford. And on the decision, it’s honest each males had been taken abruptly.

“I believed it was a joke. I believed it was my pal from Italy,” Di Canio informed Sky Sports activities about their chin wag.

“My abdomen went a bit as a result of it makes you assume you will have underestimated your self, that you’re greater than what you thought.

Hearing Ferguson on the other end of phone line was scary even for Di Canio


Listening to Ferguson on the opposite finish of telephone line was scary even for Di Canio

“Man United name you, attempt to persuade you to maneuver as a result of they need you. For a few minutes you are feeling massive and powerful.

“It was unusual for me to say no to Sir Alex. I stated ‘thanks, 1000 occasions thanks, however I can’t. West Ham are the household that warmed to me within the worst second in my life, I’m the skipper, I can’t.’

“He informed me, ‘Paolo, respect for this, I really like those that assume on this approach. You’re the man that I believed you had been.”

The mutual love was clear to see however regardless of that chat, rumours endured and the participant’s consultant spoke within the media a few deal in January.

Ferguson was desperate to find the perfect foil for summer signing Van Nistelrooy

Getty – Contributor

Ferguson was determined to seek out the right foil for summer season signing Van Nistelrooy

“As an enormous participant, think about being a footballer on the finish of your profession and there’s a massive membership like Manchester United that need you,” stated his agent Matteo Roggi. “I feel virtually each participant want to play for one in every of these groups as soon as in his life and Paolo would love this chance.

“Manchester United are concerned in negotiations with West Ham and one thing will in all probability occur,” Roggi stated in one other interview.

“Mr Ferguson has all the time been a Paolo Di Canio lover and other people would possibly assume there’s a emptiness as a result of United have allowed Andy Cole to depart.”

As an alternative of the Italian, in got here Diego Forlan for £7.5m simply days earlier than the deadline to register new gamers for the Champions League on January 31, 2002.

Forlan joined United instead of Di Canio but didn’t do so well at Old Trafford


Forlan joined United as an alternative of Di Canio however didn’t achieve this effectively at Outdated Trafford

Di Canio, although, by no means fairly left Fergie’s ideas and rumours once more happened in late 2002 however they had been rapidly rebuffed

“We haven’t made any strategy for Di Canio, not since final January,” Ferguson informed The Instances.

“If we had performed it final January, it could have been justified and we might have gotten the advantage of it this season, however not now.

“It’s a pity as a result of I feel he’s a marvellous participant.”

The Italian scored an audacious ‘panenka’ penalty against Arsenal in 2003 but for Charlton and not Manchester United


The Italian scored an audacious ‘panenka’ penalty towards Arsenal in 2003 however for Charlton and never Manchester United

Di Canio finally left West Ham in 2003 after their shock relegation to the Championship and joined Charlton Athletic.

And even at that time Ferguson couldn’t assist however surprise in regards to the Italian.

“He’s a fantastically proficient footballer,” he noticed. “It was an awesome piece of enterprise by Charlton to snap him up.

“I had a wee take into consideration possibly bringing him right here throughout the summer season. I’d checked out signing him a few occasions earlier than however possibly it wasn’t meant to be.

“You don’t see many guys with that particular knack of fixing a recreation with a flash of pure expertise.

“He’s a really devoted soccer and an awesome coach. I do know he typically stays on for not less than an hour after everybody else has completed. That’s an awesome angle to have.”

Ferguson believes had the Italian signed he would have become a club legend like Ronaldo and Rooney did

Getty Photos – Getty

Ferguson believes had the Italian signed he would have turn into a membership legend like Ronaldo and Rooney did

“Di Canio would have been able to changing into a really nice participant at Manchester United,” Ferguson would later declare when queried in regards to the missed likelihood.

“I imply, he was an awesome participant. However when you will have a participant like Di Canio, who expresses himself as a person, like [George] Greatest and [Eric] Cantona did, and [Ryan] Giggs, [Wayne] Rooney, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Dimitar] Berbatov do… we make heroes rapidly right here. Di Canio might have been in that class.”

The Italian nonetheless doesn’t have any qualms about his choice although, regardless of the temptation to contemplate what may need been.

“In the long run I remained at West Ham and I don’t have regrets about it,” he stated. “Even when United turned one of the best, gained the Champions League, profitable the leagues. I might by no means change profitable these leagues for the 4 and a half years I wore the West Ham shirt.”


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