From the back pages, April 1: Paolo Di Canio signs up for Sunderland

Crawley V Swindon- Paolo Di Canio watches (Pic by Jon Rigby)
Crawley V Swindon- Paolo Di Canio watches (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Paolo Di Canio is the shock choice as Sunderland manager after he was appointed on a two-and-a-half-year contract last night.

The move immediately proved controversial, David Miliband, the former Labour MP, stepping down as a non executive director in protest at Di Canio’s political past in which he has admitted to being a fascist but not a racist. Miliband said: “I wish Sunderland AFC all success in the future. It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the north-east and I wish the team very well over the next vital seven games. However, in the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right to step down.” (The Guardian)

Andy Murray showed why he deserves to be the new world No 2 as he overcame the relentless David Ferrer in the final of the Sony Open to leapfrog an absent Roger Federer. (Daily Mail)

Sir Alex Ferguson has taunted Rafa Benitez by claiming Chelsea have blown their best chance of beating Manchester United. Fergie admits United were lucky to escape from their first FA Cup clash at Old Trafford with a replay after Chelsea fought back and came so close to winning. (The Mirror)

There was no talk of revenge. Not officially, anyway, although Constantine Louloudis, the man in the Oxford No 7 seat, said afterwards that revenge was “inevitably in our minds”. Not on Cambridge or any individual, but on the Boat Race itself and the circumstances that had led to last year’s defeat. “We wanted to put it right,” he said. (The Times)

Flashes of brilliance from Steven Gerrard and Luis Suárez matched only by the soaring rhetoric of Brendan Rodgers. (The Telegraph)

Robin Van Persie has set his sights on marking his brilliant first season at Manchester United by winning the Double. (The Sun)

Damien Martyn: ‘I don’t mind losing the Ashes so long as we get better’. Stylish batsman from the ‘golden era’ believes Australia’s main problem as they head for back-to-back series with England is a chronic lack of runs at the top of the order. (The Independent)

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