On This Day in 1997 – Sheffield Wednesday broke their club record to sign Paolo Di Canio

On this day in 1997, Sheffield Wednesday forked out a club record fee of over £4m to sign Paolo Di Canio from Celtic – a player who will go down as one of the most talented to ever wear the blue and white stripes.

Saturday, 8th August 2020, 12:00 pm

Di Canio’s time at Hillsborough came to an abrupt end after just 18 months, with his infamous push on Paul Alcock in a 1-0 win over Arsenal proving to be the nail in his coffin – he was banned for 11 games and never played for the Owls again.

The Italian scored 17 goals – many of them memorable – in under 50 appearances for SWFC prior to his exit, and his efforts in that 1997/98 campaign won’t be easily forgotten by those present.

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Speaking to the club on his return late last year, Di Canio spoke of his Wednesday regret, saying, “It’s the only place, unfortunately, I obviously still have regrets in some way, because I left this place in a strange way – not in a normal way.

“I don’t want to say it was the owner’s fault or my fault, but something happened in the life. I can understand, also, after many years some fans are still angry in some way and then I can respect it. But it’s obvious that what happened wasn’t against them.

“If there was something to remember it is only the relationship that I had in this city. Not only at this stadium because I had a fantastic life… We still share these moments with our friends when we talk about our experience abroad from Italy.

“It was a fantastic season. Unfortunately, in the end, it was not very good, but in some way, I still have good memories.

“I hope – never say never – that I can still meet a lot of them again in some way. But I’m never going to talk about them in a bad way because what they gave to me was amazing so I can only thank them forever.”

Di Canio scored 66 PL goals, creating almost 50 more, and there’ll always be a ‘what if’ regarding his time in Sheffield if things hadn’t gone sour when they did.

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Di Canio is recognised as one of the most talented players to have ever worn a Sheffield Wednesday shirt.

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