LONDON: Paolo Di Canio’s turbulent reign at Sunderland has come to a sudden end with the Italian’s sacking after the Black Cats were left at the foot of the Premier League by Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich.

The 45-year-old’s departure was confirmed by a statement saying: “Sunderland AFC confirms that it has parted company with head coach Paolo Di Canio this evening.”

Di Canio arrived in succession to Martin O’Neill in March and injected enough fighting spirit to save the club from relegation, albeit finishing one place above the drop zone.

Unhappily he maintained the aggressive spirit when a more constructive approach was demanded to take the club forward.

A reign which began with a destructive controversy over his apparent fascist sympathies – denied much too late – lasted 175 days. Former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo was an early favourite to take over though coach and former captain Kevin Ball has taken interim charge.

Sunderland’s statement added: “Kevin Ball will take charge of the squad ahead of Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup game against Peterborough United and an announcement will be made in due course regarding a permanent successor. The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paolo and his staff and wishes them well for the future.”