Paolo Di Canio will always be fondly remembered by the West Ham fans who watched him, as he was a clear fan favourite.
He came up with so many moments of pure magical genius, meaning he won’t ever be forgotten by those who were lucky enough to see him in a claret and blue shirt.
Even now, 16 years after he left Upton Park, West Ham have tweeted to wish him a happy birthday:
Happy birthday to the one and only Paolo Di Canio!
Instinctive. Passionate. Brilliant. pic.twitter.com/rbjCv1oiWH
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) July 9, 2019
It was pretty inevitable that the fans would get involved, as there are so many who still have a true affection for the Italian.
Most people have a favourite story about the him: the volley against Wimbledon, his antics against Bradford City, catching the ball against Everton, his double against Chelsea and so many more memorable moments.
He gave so much for the club and developed such an affinity with it, that it became almost impossible for most West Ham fans to do anything but love and adore him.
With everything that has happened with Marko Arnautović and the club’s pursuit of a striker this transfer window, it is nice to remember someone who genuinely cared for the club so much, while also entertaining the fans on such a regular basis.
The claret and blue army may never get to witness a player quite like Di Canio ever again.
A selection of Twitter reaction to the birthday wish can be seen below:
If you’re in your 30’s and Paolo isn’t your favourite player, there’s something wrong with you Proper legend! Happy Birthday Paolo! X
— Claire Hillman (@silvervexcebo) July 9, 2019
Mooro, Bonzo and Brooking are West Ham legends but Paolo was by far the most entertaining player I’ve ever seen at West Ham.
— David (@dockcopper) July 9, 2019
The most passionate West Ham Boy born outside of East London I would have him back today crazy lovable genius
— Mary (@ZaynafamilyMary) July 9, 2019
Absolute legend, the attacker we could die for infront of our current midfield now. Someone whos loyal respects the club and gives everything for the badge!
— matthew jones (@matthewsmem2016) July 9, 2019
Absolute Class and a little bit crazy…
— Maurice (@mogo61) July 9, 2019
Bring him back, we need a striker.
— LostSensfan (@LSensfan) July 9, 2019
His best goal for me. Always thought this one was technically better than Wimbledon. What a player though! Greatest in my life time.
— Bill (@Briggs0102) July 9, 2019
Happy Birthday Paolo he was a source of great entertainment at West Ham… a mercurial master at changing the way West Ham attacked teams They didnt know where he would score or how he would score.
— Chris Suckling (@Essexbloke34) July 9, 2019
What a man
— Charlie Ives (@CharlieIves92) July 9, 2019
Loved going to West Ham when he was playing. You knew you were going to be entertained & that he would always give 110% regardless of the scoreline. Legend
— Richard (@rikkimoore666) July 9, 2019