Paolo Di Canio has revealed how he once turned down an approach from Sir Alex Ferguson to play for Manchester United, saying that he could never have turned his back on West Ham.
The call arrived during the festive period and Di Canio first thought it was a joke. When he realised Sir Alex was serious, he politely refused.
"It was Christmas and I got a call on my phone, and it was Ferguson," Di Canio told Italy's Fox Sport.
"You could tell from his voice that he had been drinking and he asked me if I wanted to join Manchester United.
"To begin with, I thought it was a joke from a friend and I told him where to go three times before I realised it really was him.
"I then said no. I was captain of West Ham and I couldn't accept."
Di Canio, who was sacked as coach of Sunderland earlier this season, does not look back fondly on his time in the North East and claims he was tainted by the indiscipline of his players.
"There were players who would be training with their mobile phones on them, or other players who would be driving around even when they had cramp, " Di Canio said.
"When I say the things which happened in England, nobody believes me. I received criticism from people like Steven Fletcher who, as soon as he picked up an injury, abandoned the squad and flew to Dubai."