Manchester United have always had players in that vein with swagger and arrogance - problem players off the pitch are often artists on it. Eric was difficult but Sir Alex was able to control it. We appreciated what he did for us as a player and a person. He may have had mood swings, wore different clothes and do different things but we loved and respected him as a player and we knew what he was like. He was an individualist – everybody else would turn up in club gear and he’d always have a different slant to it. He’d wear red Nike trainers and was wearing slim ties before they came into fashion. It was ‘schoolboy slim’ and wasn’t done up to the neck but it didn’t affect Eric. It didn’t make him look scruffy even if it wasn’t as smart as everyone else.
The boss accepted it and we accepted it. At first, we wondered what the boss was going to do and release an absolute hairdryer for fun but he just said: ‘Only you could get away with it, Eric.’ He was not meaning ‘I love you Eric’ but it was the way he was, his stature and everything was suited to it.
From that day on in November 1992, when he signed, Manchester United moved forward a quicker notch. Previously, we’d won the FA Cup, the League Cup, the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup but there wasn’t a league championship. So Eric moved us on from there – he was the icing on the cake and someone who could come in and become a big cog in the machine.
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