Paolo: I was disappointed

Last updated : 05 April 2002 By Mike Reich

Dicks: di Canio out
First off, let's get one thing straight. I think Paolo di Canio is a fantastic footballer - one of the best to come to Upton Park ever, and a legend. He has skills that are better than virtually everyone else, and he likes to use them for the good of the team, and the pleasure of the crowd.

However, Paolo has always had a slight problem with his mouth - he likes to rant and rave if something hasn't gone quite his way. He always has to have the last word it would seem, and this time is no exception. So, over to you Paolo:

"Everybody saw that I was disappointed to be replaced in the second half at Fulham, so I want to explain the reasons behind my reaction. When I walked straight around the pitch after my substitution I was feeling very angry, not just because the manager took me off, but because my pride and morale was hurt.

"I had been given a job by the manager before the game and to my knowledge I'd performed that task perfectly. He wanted myself and Freddy Kanoute to work extra hard at closing down Fulham's wing-backs and I had done just that. In fact I believe - with no disrespect to Freddy - that I had done the job of two people and I felt good about what I'd done for the sake of the team.

"At half time the coach was full of praise for me and said I was playing a fantastic match, but they asked me to go out to the right hand side in the second half to carry on with my defensive duties. I was happy to sacrifice my own game for the team because I am a leader and a top professional who cares about West Ham. I accepted that the result was more important than my own personal performance because I am like that.

"So, when I saw my number come up asking me to leave the pitch I was very angry - I hope that you can understand my reasons now. I had forsaken my own game for the team because others weren't working as hard as me but it was me that paid the price for that!

"When I walked behind the goal, it was nice to hear the West Ham fans singing my name because it showed that they could see what had happened. They know that I would do anything for them and that is appreciated by me."

Julian Dicks on the other hand isn't quite as appreciative of di Canio as some of the fans it would seem. Although he admits it's not nice being substituted, he reckons that it is something you just have to accept.

"You can't let one player unsettle the camp. No player is bigger than the club and they should just out him, get rid of him. It's not very nice being substituted, but it's the manager's decision and if he can't accept it then maybe it's best for everyone if he left."

He does admit that he is a great player, but he correctly points out that this isn't the first outburst from Paolo. Indeed, it is worth noting that as he is approaching the twilight of his career, he will be used more and more as a bit player, and substituted that much more.

"He's got great talent, but it's not the first time he's done this. Di Canio should just get on with his job and play football. Glenn's done a good job. He's got a good squad and the fans are fantastic. You can't let one man spoil it.

"If you have a problem you speak about it in the changing room. Paolo's done this a few times caning the players and the manager. But you don't do it, especially as captain."