But after the first game of the season at Hartlepool, Devlin and his 10-year-old son Stan were travelling in a
that ran out of fuel and plunged on to Denham golf course in Buckinghamshire.
"Dennis and Gus came to see us in hospital the next day. I had fractured vertebrae in my spine and Stan had broken both his legs," said Devlin, now chief executive at Brentford.
Do not compare me to Di Canio - Poyet
"Gus promised to my nipper that every time Swindon won, he would come in and see Stan.
"You get used to people in football not keeping their word but Swindon won their first six games, and without fail he came and spent time with Stan.
"He would stay for a fairly lengthy period of time, talk to friends and relatives, some of whom would recognise him as Spurs or Chelsea fans, and he had time for them all."
But not everyone has as much time for Poyet, who was dismissed by Brighton
for gross misconduct
and described as "selfish and egocentric" by former Spain international Vicente.
The midfielder, released by Brighton after 18 starts in two injury-hit seasons, claimed the manager reversed a decision to let him return to Spain the previous summer when his young daughter struggled to settle in England.
He joined Brighton in 2009, led the the south-coast club to the League One title two years later and then last season's Championship play-off semi-final, where they were
beaten by eventual winners Crystal Palace.
Succeeding Di Canio, Poyet will attempt to bring stability as the sixth permanent Black Cats manager in five years - although he has attracted controversy before.
"Everybody knew what Di Canio was about and there were a few eyebrows raised when he got the job. I think Gus is a little bit calmer," former Brighton and Sunderland striker Johnny Byrne told BBC Sussex.
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