PAOLO Di Canio was Swindon Town’s number one target from the moment he applied for the position, and interim chairman Jeremy Wray was thrilled to finally land his man.
Three weeks of interviews came to a conclusion on Thursday, when the Italian verbally accepted the club’s offer of a two-year deal.
After completing his media commitments this weekend he will fly to England first thing on Monday morning to complete the necessary paperwork, before speaking about the move for the first time at a press conference later that day.
Di Canio beat off strong competition from a shortlist that was of the highest calibre, which is all the more impressive considering the Robins had only weeks earlier slumped into League Two with a whimper, finishing deservedly bottom of the standings.
It was the apparent lack of passion from too many players over the course of the season that convinced Wray that such an emotion was a must in his requirements of a new manager.
And as soon as Di Canio’s CV dropped in his inbox, Wray had no doubt in his mind who was going to be the right man to take the club forward.
He told the Advertiser: “We are thrilled to get a manager of the calibre of Paolo Di Canio, to get a character like that at Swindon Town is great for the club.
“His passion is infectious, the professionalism and pride he had as a player is clearly evident in everything he does and he came across exactly the same in the interview.
“I made sure there was no bias on my part by having two people in the meeting who perhaps did not know the character of Paolo beforehand so they could look at it totally objectively, they were bowled immediately over as well.
“We came down to a couple of candidates but at the end of the day we are delighted that our first choice said yes, we have no doubt we have the right man.”
It was anticipated that the board would announce their choice after a board meeting on Tuesday but it was not until Thursday night when everything was finally agreed, as first revealed exclusively by the Advertiser.
And Wray, mindful of mistakes made in the past, revealed that the delay was due to the fact he and his fellow board members wanted to be absolutely sure that their final decision was the correct one.
“The truth was that the candidates we had on the final shortlist were very good, as a result we wanted to think about it carefully with regards to which direction we wanted to take the club,” he added.
“Things ran overtime on Tuesday but it was a situation that we did not want to rush and make sure we got it right.”
While there will always be some trepidation in appointing a rookie manager, Di Canio’s imminent arrival seems to have so far been well received by the majority of fans.
And after months of doom and gloom around the County Ground, Wray is confident the appointment of Di Canio will prove a big boost for the club.
“It was very encouraging because when I was heading up to Tranmere on the last day of the season I was ready for a holiday to be honest,” he reflected. “I was tired and fed up, going up there knowing we were going to be playing League Two football.
“Then suddenly you get an opportunity to work with some very, very good candidates who you are happy to work with.
“But to go and get the one we have got is fantastic, he is exactly who we wanted. He will give the club a boost, and the new season starts now.”