The appointment of new Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has prompted former Labour leadership contender David Miliband to resign his position as director at the club.

Miliband, who quit the board within hours of Di Canio replacing Martin O'Neill on Sunday, released a statement saying the move was due to "the new manager's past political statements".

Di Canio drew outrage in 2005 when he celebrated his side Lazio's derby win over AS Roma with a fascist-style salute.

He later admitted being an admirer of Italy's fascist leader Benito Mussolini, but denied being a racist.

Di Canio, who enjoyed a colourful playing career with clubs including Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio, West Ham United and Celtic, has never managed in the top flight and joins 16th-placed Sunderland six weeks after quitting third-tier Swindon Town.

Fans are likely to be divided over the arrival of 44-year-old Di Canio, who is remembered as much for pushing over a referee as for his sportsmanship during his playing days in England.

He received an 11-match ban in 1998 for shoving referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being shown a red card while playing for Sheffield Wednesday.

He also picked up a fair play award for catching the ball - rather than shooting into an open goal - so that injured Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard could receive treatment during a league game.

Former striker Di Canio, who inherits a team hovering one point above the relegation zone, landed his first job as a coach when he was appointed at Swindon in 2011.

He guided the club to the fourth-tier title a year later and said he was prepared to eat into his savings to fulfil his ambition of taking them into the second tier.

He left Swindon on February 18th after a typically roller-coaster time with the club.

His passion often boiled over into rows with his players and this season he antagonised fans by telling those unhappy with his decisions to go and support local rivals Oxford United.

Di Canio's first match in charge of his new club is next Sunday's trip to Chelsea.

Presented by Adam Justice