What Eric Cantona Did For A Young Paul Scholes And Nicky Butt Was Class
Eric Cantona was a showman on and off the pitch, often courting controversy, but he also had a generous, giving side as one story from Roy Keane reveals.
The Frenchman was only at United between 1992 and 1997, but he won four Premier Leagues and two FA Cups and creating an everlasting legacy.
He was also said to be very good with the 'Class of 92' youngsters that come through the ranks and this anecdote from Keane's first autobiography, involving Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt taking a gamble, appears to back that up.
"One morning, Brucey arrived in the dressing room with a cheque for fifteen grand," Keane writes, as per Joe.co.uk.
"The first team squad had contributed to some video and this payment was due to be split eighteen ways. Struggling to work out who was owed what, we decided on a majority vote to hold a draw, winner takes all. The option of taking your cut, about eight hundred quid, was available.
"For the younger lads, this was a couple of weeks wages. They wanted the money. Only Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt opted to play for the pot - about twelve grand after the needy had been paid out. Eric Cantona's name came out of the hat. He got his cheque. And plenty of stick.
"Next morning, Eric arrived with two cheques made out to Paul and Nicky. This was their reward for taking the gamble, Eric explained. That was Eric to a T.
"The unexpected, a touch of class and an appreciation of the plight of two young lads in need of the money more than himself."
Just brilliant from Cantona. He loved that Scholes and Butt took a risk and treated them despite the money being his to keep.
Cantona was so well-respected within the dressing room at Old Trafford and he had a special relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson.
And when Cantona unexpectedly called time on his career aged 30, 'Fergie' sent a wonderful letter to the Frenchman. It's printed in his book Leading and might even bring a tear to the eye of some United fans.
The letter Sir Alex Ferguson sent to Eric Cantona after he retired from football in 1997... pic.twitter.com/ggCpL8mp8f- SPORTbible (@sportbible) November 26, 2015
In addition to talking about the club's summer and the man who replaced Cantona, Teddy Sheringham, Fergie also talks about not winning the Champions League, the club's strict wage structure and the hope of signing a young Cantona.
He started off the letter by stressing the need for Cantona to remain fit and active and concluded it by inviting him to join him for a brew and a natter whenever.
"You are always welcome here and if you just pop in unexpectedly for a cup of tea, no fanfare, just for a chat as friends, that would mean more to me than anything," he writes.
"Eric you where I am if you need me and now that you are no longer one of my players, I hope you know you have a friend."