Trevor Sinclair says he's still close to new Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio.

Former West Ham United midfielder Sinclair and current Charlton manager Chris Powell as black players with whom he became close friends during his playing days.

And Sinclair told Daily Star: "I was not surprised to be named as a character witness. We genuinely got on well and I don't mind giving my opinion on such a relevant and important issue within not just football but society.

"Paolo's comments should be taken with a pinch of salt because he's as mad as a hatter.

"But I feel he should apologise for upsetting so many people with his actions and comments and make it clear once and for all if he is or isn't racist or fascist."