Classic Moments: Red Mist Descends As Paolo Di Canio Pushes Referee Paul Alcock Over, 1998 (Video)

Chris Wright

10th, March 2015

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By Chris Wright

FAO Angel Di Maria: If you’re going to get yourself sent off for putting your hands on the referee at least have the dignity to do it properly – as infamously demonstrated in a moment of hot-headed madness by the usually shy and demure Paolo Di Canio at Hillsborough in 1998.

With Di Canio wading into a multi-man quarrel with the sole intent of picking a fight with Arsenal defender Martin Keown (the pair had been at each other all game), referee Paul Alcock correctly identified the Italian forward as the guilty party amid the melee and promptly brandished a red card in the Sheffield Wednesday man’s face.

Overcome with righteous indignation, Di Canio shoved Alcock in the chest, sending the referee plummeting to the floor like – and you’ll have to excuse the technical jargon here – a proper mimsy…

“Oooh Paolo, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

Look at big tough shouty Nigel Winterburn there, flinching like the big tough shouty hard-nut he truly is.

The upshot of the whole kerfuffle was that Di Canio found himself lumped with an extended 11-game ban for his violent(ish) conduct, while Alcock had his entire 20-year officiating career defined by the wimpiest, most pathetic tumble imaginable.

Fun fact: According to Wikipedia, Alcock is currently manager of The Mall shopping centre in Maidstone.

How ’bout that?