West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan has admitted he thought Paolo Di Canio could be a future Hammers boss – but not now.
Sullivan says the recently-appointed Sunderland manager remains a legendary Hammers player but, because of his well-publicised political views, he will never be considered a future manager at Upton Park, unless he fully renounces his “extreme views”.
Sullivan, writing in the Independent said: “Fascism is always intolerable but managers, like owners, have an additional duty to the wider community.
“That is why, despite having once considered him a future manager of West Ham, my partner David Gold and I wouldn’t do so now – unless he renounced his extreme views.
“Paolo Di Canio is in the top rank of West Ham legends. He has been a tremendous supporter of the club for years and, whenever I’ve met him, struck me as charming, intelligent and what you might call Italian in the extreme.
“For all these reasons, I find it very hard to criticise him – but harder still to swallow the events of this week. Put simply, Paolo should not be managing a club until he has convincingly renounced fascism.”
Di Canio did issue a statement on Wednesday in which he said he is “against the ideology of fascism” but Sullivan insisted his words did not go far enough to convince.
The Hammers supremo added: “The statement he issued was, if not too late, certainly too broad. Until he provides a clear refutation of his previous position, we’ll have to assume he thinks fascism and football can get along. Sunderland should not have appointed him manager.”
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