REVEALED: Eric Cantona offered to be Manchester United’s ‘President of Football’ and help turn the tide of the club… but was turned down by Ed Woodward, who, according to the Old Trafford legend, is ‘great at marketing but not great in football”.
- Man United legend Cantona offered his services as ‘President of Football’
- He met former Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward on several occasions
- Cantona, 56, believed Woodward should focus on the marketing side
- But the United hierarchy turned down his offer to make the club’s football decisions
- Cantona scored 82 goals in 185 games for United between 1992 and 1997
Eric Cantona applied to be Manchester United’s “president of football” – but was turned down by former boss Ed Woodward.
The Old Trafford legend met with former executive vice-chairman Woodward before he left his post in late 2021 and offered to be a figurehead for his former club.
Cantona suggested that Woodward and others should focus on the marketing side while he made all football decisions – but his idea was dismissed.
Eric Cantona met Ed Woodward and offered to become Manchester United’s ‘football president’ – but was turned down by the former executive vice-chairman
The Frenchman is a club legend at Old Trafford after almost five roller coaster years there
“Last year I suggested the club change their path,” Cantona told The Athletic.
“Ed Woodward is great at marketing but not great at football. United should have a chairman and then a marketing president and then a football president who is responsible for all football decisions.
“So I proposed to them to be president of football.
‘I met him [Woodward] a few times. But they didn’t accept it! I still think me or someone else they should have someone for football.
“It should be someone from the club who knows football and the club.
“But they didn’t want me to be president of the club! You didn’t want me! And the fans need to know that I went and traveled to Manchester to give them the opportunity to thrive in the decades to come. And they didn’t want it!’
Cantona met with former Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward to discuss his proposal
United’s American owners, the Glazer family, place great faith in Woodward to run the club
Cantona pointed out that United have doubled their revenue since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 but standards on the pitch have dropped.
The club have not managed to win the Premier League title since 2013 and their only achievements have been one-off Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup victories.
Last season was a particular disaster when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November after a terrible string of results before the team continued to drift under the provisional stewardship of Ralf Rangnick.
New manager Erik ten Hag has since arrived to try to restore United to former glory and was backed with £215million in signings over the summer.
56-year-old French striker Cantona scored 82 goals in 185 appearances for United between 1992 and his surprise departure from the game in 1997, winning four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
Cantona’s time at United also included the infamous kung fu kick at Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons, which banned him from football for nine months.
Cantona is a United icon who has scored 82 goals to help them win three league titles
Cantona infamously kung-fu-kicked Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons in 1995
He then became an actor and theater actor with very little direct involvement in football.
But Cantona was determined to do his part to turn United’s fortunes around.
He added: “I felt guilty for not trying to help this club do better. I said to myself: “Five years I’ll put everything on hold and concentrate 100 percent on it”.
“And if I put my mind to it 100 percent, then I can tell you I would do very well.
“Now I feel good about myself. I tried. So no one in my family can say I didn’t try anything to help United. They didn’t want it. This is your choice. But I tried.”
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