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Sir Alex Ferguson Reveals The Role Cathy Played In Keeping Cantona At Man United

James Hilsum

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Sir Alex Ferguson Reveals The Role Cathy Played In Keeping Cantona At Man United

Sir Alex Ferguson's wife, Cathy, is well known for being the rock behind the hugely-successful Scot at Old Trafford, and played a key role in two major turning points during her husband's 26-and-a-half years at the club.

Cathy famously convinced Ferguson to do a U-turn on his original decision to retire in 2002, but a fascinating interview with Manchester United fan Christopher Eccleston revealed the role that she played in keeping Eric Cantona at the club.

The Frenchman was ready to leave Manchester after being handed a nine-month suspension for kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace fan in January 1995, but Cathy persuaded her husband to have another go at convincing Cantona to stay.

"I went to see Eric and he told me 'I'm finished'. I said 'no you're not, you're not finished. You're not giving in to anyone,' and he said, "no, I'm finished," he explained in an interview published on


The legendary manager then spoke about how he went home to tell Cathy the news, and said "Cantona's going home," only for his wife to respond: "I'm surprised you're giving in so easily, that's not like you."

Ferguson then recounted the fascinating tale of how he ended up travelling to France to meet his star player at a plush Paris hotel.

"I was straight back on that phone, booked the first flight to Paris, phoned his lawyer, and told him I was coming to speak to him," he added.

"And it was fantastic. I got on this plane, landed in Paris and all the press are there and I'm running and I see a lad with two helmets. He says 'Mr. Ferguson, this way'."

"So of course, I get on this motorbike and the lad shoots off with a whoosh, I was terrified, honestly! So, he takes me to the hotel, the George V, and says he'll pick me up at the back entrance at 6 pm, we're going to meet Eric."


It was then revealed how Ferguson and Cantona spoke for hours on end, and the Frenchman famously led a young United squad to a league and cup double in the 1995/96 season.

Cantona then stayed at Old Trafford for one more season, before hanging up his boots in 1997 and turning his attentions to an acting career.

Keeping Cantona at United remains one of the stand-out moments in Ferguson's tenure, as the great man celebrates his 80th birthday today.

Topics: Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Premier League, Eric Cantona

James Hilsum
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