PAOLO Di Canio paid tribute to the 297 Swindon Town fans who travelled to Oldham after his side’s 2-0 victory at Boundary Park.

The Robins boss made a beeline for the away support at the final whistle, after two Raffa De Vita goals had handed Town their first League One victory in four attempts, and the Italian made several gestures to those who made the trip to Greater Manchester.

Explaining what he had said to the Swindon crowd in his post-match interview, Di Canio stressed that he was simply saying thank you to the fans who braved the long journey and significant expense at Christmastime to follow their team.

He said: “It’s a long trip, they spent a lot of money. In this moment, even if they’re proud about the players in the way they behave, it’s still two games and one point and not completely close to the play-offs.

“Three hundred people is a big number in this moment of season, close to Christmas where the people spend money on gifts.

“That is real loyalty – without speaking too much but following their team, clapping their hands, hoping that we can win.

“At the end of the day, once again as it happened many times in the last 18 months, they travel back very happy – not only for the goals and for the victory but because the performance was really professional.

“I said thanks so much and I reminded them that they are our strength.

“It’s important for me too because it’s obvious that since the day that Jeremy left something changed and for me it’s important to let the people know that if I remain in here it’s for my players.

“Even if someone thinks that they don’t like me I’m sure that they love me completely, even if they hate me.

“Because like a severe old brother you hate him, I had three older brothers, but if someone touches my brother I want to kick him.

“I’m sure that they know they need me for some reason.

“I told my fans thank you because if I’m in here it’s for my players and for you because I promised something and I don’t give up until I go through my plan.

“I said that you have a big insurance here. Paolo Di Canio is a big insurance that the players will behave professionally.

“Their support is very important.”