CANTONA, ERIC 1992 - 1997
Forward 1992 - 97
6ft 2" 13st 11 lbs
b.Paris, France, 24 May 1966
Debut v Norwich City (h) 12/12/92
Auxerre / Bordeaux / Marseille / Montpelier
Nimes (Sheff Wed trial) (Leeds United loan Feb 92)
Leeds July 92
A surprise 1.2 million signing by Manchester United in Nov 92, Eric Cantona was not manager Alex Ferguson`s initial target when he bid to increase the
Red`s goalscoring output. Having failed in his 3.5 million attempt to land
Sheff Wed David Hirst, Ferguson was subsequently successful in his
bid for the 26 year old Parisian.
In many ways it was a moment of
supreme serendipity as Ferguson could not have dreamed just how great
and glorious a catylyst Cantona would prove for his developing team.
At the time of his signing, an optimistic and, indeed prophetic view
came from Guy Roux, the Auxerre manager who discovered Cantona as a 14
year old and turned him into a star. "He will get goals that United
want", said the former boss, who also added that he would have him back
tomorrow, if he could afford him."Cantona`s career included a French Cup
win with Montpelier and a League Championship with Leeds United, who
pipped UNITED for the title in 91-2.
His first appearance for the Reds was against Benfica in Lisbon, in a
friendly match to mark the 5oth birthday of Eusebio. Cantona`s class
has never been in doubt, but apparently unpredictable and often
outspoken artistic Gallic temperament was, to some degree, the reason
behind no less than eight different moves in the space of 10 years which
had seen the French international adapt to many types of play, but not
always the individuals in authority, most recently at Leeds, where he
left amid recriminations om both sides.
He quickly settled on the big stage at Old Trafford, however, his subtle
skills and flair for the unexpected option blossoming within the
framework of a gifted side with many willing runners to feed from his
delightfully weighted chips and flicks into open spaces. Certainly
UNITED supporters clasped him to their hearts as a cult hero and his
contribution to successive Premier league titles has been an immensley
significant one. Not only has he created a fresh dimension in attack by
his vision and self-confidence, but he also proved an inspiration to his
talented team-mates who have responded with aplomb to his uplifting and
unique brand of unforgettable soccer sorcery. Eighteen Premiership
goals and four in the FA Cup - which included two elegantly sidefooted
pressure penalties in the final against Chelsea - was Erik`s
"magnifique" contribution to the Red`s Double winning-season.
With his trademark turned-up collar, and shirt worn outside his shorts,
the fiery Frenchman cut an impressive figure throughout 93-4 and fully
warranted his PFA Player of the Year award.
Without doubt, Eric Cantona is a footballer of independent genius to be admired and enjoyed.