Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio is delighted with the support he's received from within football since his appointment.
Di Canio took particular strength from a letter of encouragement he received last year from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after guiding Swindon to promotion, the backing of his chairman Ellis Short in recent days, and letters of support from Premier League bosses and fans.
Di Canio said: “It was the support I have had from Sunderland and people in football that helped me through those difficult first days.
“I have to thank the many fans who have sent letters to me. I have had fantastic support too from managers such as Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, QPR’s Harry Redknapp and Alan Pardew of Newcastle who sent me messages.
“Fergie was good to me when I won the title last year. He sent me a letter. Beautiful! It was signed by him.
“He said: ‘I like your philosophy. Keep going, this sort of play is the future of football’. I keep it with me and put it in a frame.
“The fact that he followed the start of my career made me very proud.
“The letter was an inspiration.
“The Sunderland players responded very well too and that was a good foundation for me.
“They may have been upset by the change of management, so it was a positive for me.
“But, more importantly for me, this support that I received from the board and the chairman, Mr Short. I am in good hands. They are my bodyguards. What I found here is unique. They were amazing. It was crucial for me working in a hostile environment.
“I will thank them for the rest of my life because what we had was not a normal change of management.
“The first few days were absolute madness for this club.
“But the people at Sunderland were straight. They said: ‘We know who we know and we know Paolo Di Canio also, and we will defend him.’ That was crucial.”