The Italian began his managerial career at English club Swindon Town leading the Robins to promotion to League One. But after the board sold players behind his back, Di Canio, 45, decided to resign from his position at the third division outfit. The former Juventus, Napoli, Lazio and West Ham forward then replaced the sacked Martin O'Neill at the Stadium Of Light.
Sunderland fans were pessimistic at first with the appointment, but his energy and passion soon gave fans hope as the club collected wins at Tyne and Wear rivals Newcastle and also Merseyside club Everton. But a 6-1 loss to Villa, where Belgian forward Christian Benteke fired a hat-trick, brought the fans down to earth.
Since then it has been tough for the uncapped Italian, who arrived at the club surrounded by controversy after pictures of him making fascist symbols got out. Di Canio, never shy of saying what he thinks, told his critics wrong with a couple of fantastic wins, but that was all.
The 2013-14 season started poorly for the side from the North east of England. Despite improved signings such as winger Emmanuele Giaccherini, American Jozy Altidore and Basel's midfielder Cabral, Sunderland failed to find the form that produced the early wins at the end of last season which ultimately kept them up.
After a 3-0 humbling at the hands of Steve Clarke's West Bromwich Albion, di Canio was quickly removed from his role as manager, the club sitting rock bottom of the Premier League. There was mixed reactions from fans, some saying his signings needed time, others saying that the jump from League One to the Premier League was too big a jump for the charismatic manager.
It remains to be seen who will take the reins at the Stadium Of Light, with managers such as Roberto di Matteo being linked to the job. Whoever gets the job will have a tough task on their hands though, because Sunderland are in a messy place at the present time. But Sunderland have to make the right decision. Di Canio came from a lower league club and despite his energy providing a spark early on, the jump from the third division of English football was ultimately too big for the eccentric Italian.