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4.1 out of 5 stars25
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 2012
I initially liked this book, refreshing and honest also for a footballer he comes over as quite sharp, probabaly why he is managing now. However by chapter 3 you get the drift, Paolo has never been wrong ever, end of. Also he has always been involved in some kind of fantasy about how much he contributed to the clubs he played for.When you have fallen out with every chairman and manager of every club youve been a part of surely you or your wife would at least say hey maybe its you me old china. I admired him for saying I never played for Italy because I wasnt good enough and covers this in about two sentences with no excuces you have to admire that, Take note all English and Scottish internationals.
Because of this alone this book is actually boring and I really wanted to like the book and Paolo but unfortunatly he ends up turning you off. As a Celtic fan I learnt that everything the club said about him was indeed true, only not in his eyes.
Save your money nad your time.
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on 19 October 2000
I've just finished reading Paolo Di Canio's spell-binding autobiography. It's 4am. The wife's snoring, the baby's in cloud cuckooland, and my last mug of hot chocolate ran out hours ago. I'm exhausted yet elated at the same time.
If you read only one sports autobiography this year, then I urge you to make this the one. I'm not a West Ham fan, in fact I'm only an occasional follower of football, but Di Canio's life story resembles a motion picture that sweeps you along on a tortuous ride of mountainous highs and despairing lows.
Close your eyes and you can just imagine yourself side-by-side with Palloca, or 'fatty' as Di Canio was somewhat unkindly nicknamed as a youngster. Even in his teens, it seems his desire to make something of himself would translate into an existence of extremes: from knife-wielding battles with his brother and indulging in mob culture with the Lazio supporters' club, to violent arguments with an assortment of coaches and incandescent rage at being left on the bench. The world of Michael Owen and Joe Cole must seem like an episode of Teletubbies by comparison. But this guy is no one-dimensional footballer, no stereotype, no blank canvas. He articulates his views on the Protestant-Catholic divide during his time at Celtic with as much heartfelt passion and level-headed logic as the most experienced political activist; his near nervous breakdown while on Sheffield Wednesday's books is so gut-wrenchingly close to the bone; and as far as family life is concerned, he leaves this reader in no doubt as to why a footballing environment need not spell doom and gloom to bringing up responsible and educated children.
Okay, Di Canio has some pretty alarmist views on politics (he's a fan of Mussolini) and an entrenched opinion on referees (according to him, he has never had a good referee in a Premiership match - surely not, Paolo!). But if every media celebrity expressed his opinions with as much zeal and unbridled conviction as this guy, hell, I for one would sit up and take notice. Yet despite the traumas, the trials, the darker moments, this book also packs a punch in the humour stakes. I won't spoil the Peter Grant 'fish story' for other readers; suffice to say that you'll never again be able to look at a Scottish footballer with a straight face. And it still gives me bellyache thinking of Di Canio's girl's-blouse-of-an-argument with a ranting Ron Atkinson, which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'post-match debriefing'.
Never mind An Evening with Gary Lineker. Five minutes in the company of Paolo Di Canio (yes, spooky as it seems, reading his book is like having him there beside you in the same room) will leave you wanting more...and more. It's an absolute cracker!
PS Don't they have awards for books like this?
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on 5 February 2001
I bought this book having recently been converted to a West Ham fan by my fiance. Once I had started reading it everything else I was supposed to be doing was left unattended until I had finished it. Di Canio is revealed as literate and intelligent, a refreshing change to the usual portrayal of him. It is at times hilarious and yet very touching in places. West Ham fans will also be pleased at the depth of affection he feels for the club. It may not necessarily change your opinion of Di Canio but it certainly shows a different side to his character. The chapter on his injuries is not one for the faint-hearted though. All in all this is a good read for anyone who loves football.
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on 5 June 2001
I Could not put the book down. It was amazing. You really feel that you are getting to know the real Paulo Di Canio
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on 28 July 2001
As a football autobiography this book is superb, an enlightening read as you get a feel of the real man not just the professional footballer. Di Canio is such an intense character you cannot help but be inspired and charmed by his persona. A truly magnificent book.
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on 15 March 2014
The heading is comment on the fact I've read reviews of this that are clearly made by people who read it with a critical eye - they were looking for evidence to support their view of Di Canio.
There is little doubt that there are flaws to his character that challenge and don't do him any favours in the popularity stakes... that goes for his naïve association with fascism. Naïve because the meaning of the term for him is far removed from the meaning ascribed to fascism - his view appears to be more akin to the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes than to Hitler or Stalin (to counter the tendency to reduce mass murder to one political creed). His background certainly illustrates the why his beloved Lazio (the link to Mussolini) came to play such a big role in his life - any die hard fan will understand how the symbols around fandom are just that... symbols of being a fan of that club, stripping chants like Yid Army of any intended hate or disrespect.
The problem for Di Canio is that he has taken the belonging to its word - he has found it hard to maintain distance and detachment from his emotional past... it is an essential part of who he is, maybe who he was, but both make it important for him to identify with those who share those emotions. A club did not just buy Di Canio the player, or employ Di Canio the manager, they get a fan as well. The good part of that obviously brings with it some bad... playing with pride is not an empty slogan. His history illustrates the roots of his demand for application and professionalism. Struggle against adversity sharpens your criticism of those who take success for granted or who give less than 100% for doing a privileged job. But his Sunderland experience should have taught him the limitations of imposing an authoritarian approach to management - no matter how well intentioned. He is right to claim that it might have worked if the club owner had backed him - but the media circus around Di Canio's appointment undermined that support, the British footballing elite backed one of their own, Martin O'Neill, and the media reserved their excessive feeding frenzy for Di Canio's appointment in the top flight (where were they at Swindon?!). His crucifixion was undoubtedly unfair - he did not invade Poland, he is not a racist... but the reports treated him as if he advocated the final solution not someone who wanted to instil professionalism and pride in his players.
The book gives insights into the character of the man. It helps to explain why he became the most successful (in terms of per cent of games won) manager in the history of Swindon Town - don't dismiss it, that is better than Hoddle achieved and he did it by building the team. The fact he offered to pay his star player out of his own pocket to retain him shows just how much passion the man has. My instinct tells me he is too damaged by the media circus, especially around his time at Sunderland - though his successor, Gus Poyet, is finding the same problems with the same players and he has gained control over player recruitment, something Di Canio did not have... will history see that or will he only be remembered for the circus events? It will be a travesty if it is the latter: English football has too many old style managers and too few 'characters' to let Di Canio slip through our fingers.
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on 6 December 2000
Di Canio talks candidly about his times in Italy with Vialli, and his move to the UK .
He tells all, including his time at Celtic, his temper and bust ups with referee Paul Alcock and Ron Atkinson, plus opinions on 'Arry, Rio, Psycho, the boy Cole and all that's West Ham. No wonder he's in so much trouble!
Di Canio fans will love it. and the partnership with co-writer Gabriele Marcotti seems to have created an excellent read.
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on 10 February 2001
I am 15 years old from southampton and i support the 'saints,' Di Canio was my favourite player before i read the book, but know he has inspired me to never give up what ever u do in life or on the pitch. The book is very emusing? in places then his different crisis in life on and off the slade p.s a 1 to buy.
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on 19 June 2014
As a Celtic fan, Paulo gave me some great memories, and I am grateful for them. But some of the stuff he comes out with here just rankles. Paulo talks about being a consummate professional - this is a theme that runs through the book. He also insists that he is painted as a 'bad boy' by the various clubs he has played for.

I remember one of Paulo's last games for Celtic - it was against St Patrick's of Dublin (0-0) and Paulo was anything but professional, he huffed, he puffed and rolled his eyes. it was a trial for him to play in front of a paying audience.

And now we come to his political beliefs - he loves everybody - criticises the British media for its xenophobia - 'but hey, I'm a facist and facistist don't do that. Wakey, wakey, Paulo xenophobia is the cornerstone of facism.

Wake up Paulo - if you're going to write an autobiography - try and keep it real.
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on 9 May 2001
To start with: I think Paolo Di Canio is one of the most gifted players in europe. Furthermore I think most af todays footballplayers are as entertaining as a lecture in islandic sagas, so everyone who's craving for some awkward personalities - here's the book you've been waiting for.
Paolo Di Canio's book is a very entertaining read, where a Di Canio-fan like me get to know a a lot about this twisted man. When you read this book it is like you get so close to Di Canio because he doesn't have anything to hide, and he basically just tells you very openly how he feels about a lot off things. And I think that is rare today, where everybody are so careful about what they say or do. He's doesn't give a damn, - he is just way as he is one the pitch.
You get an inside look on his poor upbringing in Rome, his struggle in his youth and his turbulent time in Scotland and England. He delivers an open book, where he takes you on a trip in his head, how it feels to be Paolo Di Canio and that is why you should read this book - because this man is an interesting fellow and he's got something to say.
Forza Di Canio.
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