Paolo's emotional return
Author: Matthew Kirk. Published: 29 March 2016 at 4:37pm
Paolo Di Canio admits it was an honour for him to come back for Mark Noble’s Testimonial and hopes the talented midfielder can play another 400 games for West Ham United.
Di Canio was one of a number of former heroes who returned to the Boleyn Ground to pay tribute to Noble who has spent 12 years with the east London Club and made over 350 appearances.
The Italian forward has a special love affair with the West Ham supporters and received a hero’s welcome as he made his final appearance on the famous Boleyn Ground pitch.
Di Canio has nothing but admiration for the way Noble has stayed loyal to the Hammers and feels he can achieve even bigger things under Slaven Bilic over the next few years.
Di Canio: “If you can call anyone a legend then he is the one. He has dedicated so much to the club and it is obvious that it has been an honour and a privilege for him to play for West Ham.
“I am happy that he called me to participate in this big day and I hope he can keep going and play another 400 games for this club and pick up some trophies.
“We are all sad that we are leaving this monument (the Boleyn Ground) but the Club moves on and it will give a different dimension to help them win something more often.
“If you support West Ham you need to have a strong heart but this is the time that this Club starts to win things more often and the fans can enjoy it more.
“I am sure with Bilic and his methodology that they can achieve something special. It is the perfect combination.
“We have got to take it step-by-step. We have got one game to reach Wembley and then we have two games to do something special for everyone, including myself. We are waiting for this.”
Di Canio has nothing but praise for the West Ham supporters and feels part of the family when he makes a return to east London.
The Hammers legend enjoyed four memorable years at the Boleyn Ground where he enjoyed so many magical moments.
Di Canio insists he will always have a special bond with the Hammers fans and will never forget his spell at West Ham.
Di Canio added: “It is obvious that I feel at home when I come back here. I live in Italy but I miss them every day and this is a special occasion when all the fans are here.
“They still make me feel welcome with their warmth and attitude. That is special for me, even if it is just a friendly game. They sing my name and they do it because they believe in it.
“I gave my all for this club, my soul and heart, but what I get back is much bigger. It is sometimes too much for me!
“But I thank them because the relationship is still very strong and I am part of this family.”