‘Let’s all do the Barthez!’

When you are asked to name West Ham United’s most iconic FA Cup moments, Paolo Di Canio’s FA Cup goal at Manchester United will come top of most supporter’s lists.

It was 28 January 2001 – yes, it really was 15 years ago! – when the Italian forward sprung the offside trap, ignored Fabien Barthez’s almost comical one-arm protest and slotted the Hammers into the fifth round.

This Sunday, West Ham return to Old Trafford with an even greater prize at stake – a place in a Wembley semi-final and the opportunity to sign off the Farewell Boleyn season with a first major trophy in 36 years.

Reflecting on that unforgettable Sunday afternoon, Di Canio still takes great pride in outwitting the French goalkeeper and sending the 9,000-strong Claret and Blue Army home happy.

“I didn’t respect the policeman that tried to stop me and I broke the rules in this moment,” the No10 recalled, with a glint in his eye.

“There were 12 minutes to go I remember and there was a good, good play by [Freddie] Kanoute. He kept the ball. The defensive line from United came up to make an offside but I was too clever and I made a movement to avoid the offside.

“The pass from Kanoute left me one on one with Barthez. He tried to play a game, but I was more clever than him because I pushed the ball in the net.

“I thought if the referee [Paul Durkin] gave offside there is no problem, so I pushed the ball in the net. We went off to celebrate.

“There were 9,000 people at the stadium and they followed us from London. West Ham fans were amazing in this day and it was an amazing day. We won 1-0 and went through in the FA Cup, it was another day to remember.”

The goal has spawned a terrace chant – ‘Let’s all do the Barthez!’ – that many of those same supporters still sing to this day.

West Ham will return to the scene of Di Canio’s heroic FA Cup moment on Sunday, when 9,000 fans will again be present as Slaven Bilic’s side take on Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils.

Now based back in his native Italy, the 47-year-old will be watching on with interest as the modern-day Hammers try to repeat his trick.

While he may not be there in person, Di Canio’s spirit will be with the Claret and Blue Army once again.

“The fans felt I gave all my soul, all my blood for this club, but what I did is nothing compared to what I got from the fans,” he said, with typical feeling. “I will be a fan of this club for the rest of my life.”