“The players genuinely liked Eric even though he was often a distant, almost remote figure,” Andy Cole wrote in his autobiography. “Inside the dressing room he'd open up, revelling in the banter and mickey-takes. He could mix it, although he clearly preferred to be very private. You didn't mess about with him, whether he was playing football or having a pint. Off the pitch I saw him as a loner, but a great guy, and the way he behaved laid down a very obvious message: he was his own man.” One others couldn’t help but follow.