“Sheffield touches my heart…” - Benito Carbone talks Sheffield Wednesday, pasta and that Paolo di Canio push
Benito Carbone remains a cult hero at Sheffield Wednesday, and the Owls’ diminutive attacker from the 1990s says that – with an older head – he’d have stayed in Sheffield for a decade.
Carbone joined the club in 1996 from Internazionale, and went on to give Wednesdayites some brilliant memories that included overhead kicks, long-range strikes and some dazzling footwork.
Sadly, a fall out with Danny Wilson and breakdown in contract talks in 1999 led to him leaving the club under a bit of a cloud, and he says that he does take some responsibility for that – admitting that he loved his time in S6.
Speaking to FourFourTwo in their Euro 2020 edition, the Italian said, “I knew they were one of the oldest clubs in England. When I arrived, my English wasn't good, but Orlando Trustfull and Regi Blinker helped me. They always came to my house and we'd go out for dinner together.
“I loved living in England - it was the best experience lye had in my life. There are a lot of Italian restaurants, and one place I always went to in Sheffield was Nonnas, because I had many friends there. Talking about Sheffield touches my heart - I really miss everything about it. If I was in Sheffield with the head I have now, I could have stayed for 10 years. The fans still love me - it's unbelievable. But I was young and sometimes you make mistakes.”
He also touched on the arrival of Paolo Di Canio, those now famous pictures of the duo eating Italian food alongside David Pleat, and how the pair used to head out to Meadowhall together.
Carbone added, “Pizza and pasta! With David Pleat and Paolo Di Canio, yes! The club had signed two Italians for the first time in their history, so they wanted to shoot some pictures in an Italian style. It was great, because everyone accepted us. I must always thank David Pleat for bringing me to England.
“Oh my God, I enjoyed every day with Paolo. We spoke the same language, on and off the pitch, and I think people enjoyed watching us play. We always went out together with our families, too - he has two daughters and I have two boys around the same age. We'd have dinner or go to Meadowhall. I still talk to him now - sometimes we call each other.”
So as a friend, what did he think of the infamous referee pushing incident with Paul Alcock?
“I don't think it was as bad as everyone said,” he told FFT. “The referee went down a little bit easily. Paolo is a good person, and he didn't want to do anything wrong to the ref - maybe he got nervous in that moment and made a mistake putting his hands on the official, but an 11-game ban was too much.”
Carbone played just under 100 Premier League games for Wednesday during his time there, scoring 25 goals and finishing as the club’s top scorer in 1998/99 before his exit after being transfer-listed a few months’ later.