“The King of Old Trafford” – ex-Red responds to idea of Cantona as president of football + names another Man Utd legend he’d welcome back

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Eric Cantona revealed this week that he offered himself to Ed Woodward as a potential ‘president of football’ at Manchester United.

While it’s not entirely clear what this role, which Cantona seemingly dreamed up by himself, would entail, the prospect of the Frenchman returning to Old Trafford  would surely be met with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, former United midfielder Luke Chadwick admits he’d love to see Cantona and other former players taking high-up positions at the club.

This is common at a lot of other big clubs, and Chadwick thinks it could work for Man Utd as well, whilst praising Cantona in particular for the tremendous ‘aura’ he had while he was at the club, and for the way he changed the culture of the club.

“Eric Cantona is the King of Old Trafford. I think him coming in would be a hugely popular move with the fans,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “I’m not 100% sure about the experience Cantona has in those kind of roles, but it would be a hugely exciting move to have him involved at any level of the club.

Eric Cantona during his Manchester United playing days

“Having former players involved is usually good, it’s worked at a lot of other top clubs, and it makes sense to keep people who’ve had an incredible history with the club involved.

“Obviously Darren Fletcher is still at the club, a brilliant servant for the club, and he’s doing some good work behind the scenes, but Cantona is such a huge character and it would be great to have him back. It would certainly capture the imagination of the fans, but like I said I don’t know how much experience he actually has in that kind of role.”

Chadwick also recalled how key a figure Cantona was from his time at United as a youngster, recalling just how awe-struck he and his fellow academy players would be when the Frenchman entered a room.

“I moved up to Manchester as a full time apprentice just a year after Cantona left, but when I went there as a schoolboy, we’d spend some time training with the first-team players, and Eric Cantona was certainly one who had an incredible aura around him,” Chadwick said. “He’d walk into a room and us young lads were in awe really, with all he’d achieved at the club. It was similar to Ferguson, you were just left thinking ‘wow, I can’t believe I’m in the same room as this person’.

“Cantona, when he signed from Leeds, had a massive impact on that class of ’92. The way he trained, everything he did with that touch of class.

“The signing was a stroke of genius really, it changed the culture of the football club. He was a maverick on and off the pitch, and I think that gave the other players the confidence, and showed them the importance of working hard, but also expressing yourself on the pitch. Whenever the players at United spoke about him, it was always in glowing terms.”

Chadwick added that he could see Gary Neville as another MUFC legend who’d be good to have back at the club in some capacity, though he’s unsure if it’s realistic due to his punditry work at the moment.

“In terms of other former players, Gary Neville is having a brilliant career as a TV pundit. He’s an intelligent guy who knows the club inside out, but maybe it’s not something he’d be interested in with what he’s doing at the moment,” Chadwick said.

“In general though, I think it would be fantastic to have more former players involved with the club.”

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