Old Trafford prepared to shower affection on the much-missed maverick with his extended suspension, 248 days and all, finally drawing to a close but many wondered if the temperamental talisman would ever change his ways.
Chairman Martin Edwards warned: "Cantona is a wonderful player but, if there is any recurrence of unacceptable behaviour, that is the end. We have stood by him and we can only hope he appreciates that fact. He knows what we think of him. He has a new three-year contract and a new start with us. It is up to him now - we are all holding our breath."
United legend Sir Bobby Charlton had his say on the great comeback and also seemed wary of what might follow from the unpredictable No7.
"I don't think anybody can believe he is going to be perfect or anything like a Saint," he stated. "But we have to hope he has learned a lot from his experience. He loves to play and I don't believe he will want to be put out of the game again.
"But who knows? He perpetrated a terrible crime as a footballer and we can't avoid that fact. But we're all excited that he's coming back. He's an absolute pleasure to watch when he's performing to the peak of his ability. I am not on tenterhooks about his return but I am prepared for anything."
Even Alex Ferguson seemed to have his doubts after needing to travel to Paris to convince his striker to remain at the club when the FA were unhappy with his appearance in a practice game during the ban. "I hope my reputation doesn't have to be judged on Eric Cantona's life with