Paolo: Bounce Back Quickly

'United we stand' read the huge banner that the West Ham supporters unfurled before the Birmingham match on Sunday - and, even if Paolo Di Canio is leaving as a player, you can't help but think that one day he might be amongst those proud supporters.

He has already said that he will come to watch West Ham as a fan, but in the meantime, he was full of praise for the way they acted in the Midlands.

No tears this time, just a sense - if one read his body language correctly - of indignation that his beloved Hammers had been consigned to division one.

Looking back on his final, goal scoring day, he says:

"The first half was sad because I heard the news from Bolton that they were 2-0 up, and that we were therefore close to going down.

"But when once I saw the supporters applauding and singing at the end of the game, I thought that I could not be more sad than them.

"They gave me strength and this is the incredible thing at this club; not in another country could you find supporters like that, that try to give you strength and help you even though they are sad - it is amazing."

As for the future - he has no plans to pop into the Chicken Run just yet - he adds:

"My life at West Ham is finished, they decided it, but it is not right to talk about what will happen next; it is only the moment to think about what happened, and I hope the club can make a good team for the supporters next year to come back straight away, because they deserve it.

"I can't imagine West Ham playing more than one year in the first division; it would not be fair for the people, in my opinion."

Recriminations inevitably follow relegation, but Paolo says he will aceept his share.

"When you go down it is not only the players' fault - yes, they are on the pitch, and this is the first thing.

"I speak not only when we win but when we lose and I take my responsibility, but people write about the board and other things so it is not a surprise to say you share the fault.

"If you are at the bottom for one year, if you have got the power to change something you have to try.

"This is only my opinion, but the thing is the players take the first responsibility but it is not only about the football, it is about the programme, the plans, changing things, the organisation."

So now, it is a case of tears for souvenirs, and he concludes:

"My best memory? The supporters."