Paolo Di Canio has become the latest West Ham United legend to announce that he will return to the Boleyn Ground to star in Hammers captain Mark Noble's Testimonial.
The Testimonial fixture between the current West Ham team and a West Ham All-Stars squad will take place on Easter Monday, 28 March at 2pm. Tickets for the eagerly-awaited match are already selling fast, and the chance to see the return of the Italian legend will increase demand still further.
The proceeds from all ticket sales will be distributed between Mark Noble's three chosen charities: Richard House Children's Hospice, Help for Heroes and the DT38 Foundation.
Di Canio scored 52 goals in 141 appearances for West Ham between 1999 and 2003, one of the best and longest periods of his club career, and he will forever be associated with the Boleyn Ground for the wonder volley he scored there against Wimbledon in March 2000.
Di Canio will have to travel over the Easter break from Italy where he is enjoying a thriving television career, whilst waiting for the right management opportunity to arise at a UK club. When he heard that Mark Noble's Testimonial was taking place and received the invitation to play, he was determined to make it happen.
The decision to stagger the announcement of those taking part has meant keeping some of the all-star names under wraps so both Paolo and Mark are thrilled to finally be able to go public with news of Paolo’s return to the hallowed turf of the Boleyn Ground.
Mark Noble signed as a trainee with West Ham just as Paolo Di Canio left the Club in 2003, but they finally shared the Boleyn Ground pitch together in 2010, with the Italian playing for both sides and winning the Man of the Match award in the Testimonial match for Academy legend, Tony Carr.
"When I was coming up through the Academy", the Hammers skipper said, "Paolo was the man we all looked up to - he was a genius with the ball, and such a character on and off the pitch. If you'd told me then that he'd be coming back one day to play in my Testimonial match, I'd never have believed it.
"I'm so proud and grateful that Paolo will be there, with all the other Hammers lads. It is such an honour to share my big day with them on Easter Monday, and especially so to be doing it at the Boleyn Ground, in our final season here."
Di Canio joins a host of other former West Ham players who are so far confirmed to appear in the All-Stars squad for the Testimonial match, including Rio Ferdinand, Anton Ferdinand, Matthew Etherington, Carlton Cole, Craig Bellamy, Scott Parker, Stewart Downing, Danny Gabbidon, Bobby Zamora, Dean Ashton, Yossi Benayoun, Trevor Sinclair, Ian Bishop, Julian Dicks and Ludek Miklosko.
Season Ticket Holders can buy their tickets now for just £20 with Under-16s paying just £5. Tickets for Under 21s and OAPs will be £10.
For Members, tickets go on sale on Saturday 6 February and will be £25, while Under-16s will pay just £10. Prices for Under 21s and OAPs are £15. Tickets will go on General Sale on Monday 8 February, and VIP packages are available from just £99+VAT.
Tickets are available to purchase online, in person at the Betway Stand Ticket Office, or by calling 0871 529 1966 via Option 3 (9am-5pm Monday-Saturdays) or 0871 529 1966via Option 1 (Call Centre open 24 hours). Calls cost 13p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.