to think it might have been because the chief liked fish and chips but I don’t really know. Who knows why he did it? It obviously worked, though!
In your mind, which no.7 has had the biggest impact at United?
Eric. Eric all day long. Robbo was around when Eric came in but it was really Eric who kicked it all off. I can remember David Beckham when Eric left – he was desperate for that number seven shirt, absolutely desperate, and he did very well in it when he got it. Eric was the one that clicked everything together, though. I don’t like to say he was the final piece in the jigsaw but he was a massive, massive piece in the jigsaw, that’s for sure. He came here for a million pounds and this club will never, ever find a player as good as him for a million pounds again. Like I keep saying, he was iconic.
Do you keep in touch with Eric?
We see Eric a bit. When he’s around he goes out of his way to come in and see everybody. He’s very human, very humble and he doesn’t like any fuss: Eric’s just Eric. I have one abiding memory of Eric – I can always remember him walking into the dressing room one night and all the lads had their suits on. Eric comes walking in, he had a nice blue suit on with a lovely pair of tan shoes, and these were in the days when you’d only wear black shoes with a suit. With this he had a nice blue three-quarter length overcoat and a pink beret. If I’d worn it they’d have sent me to the madhouse but Eric looked a million dollars and I’ll never forget Steve Bruce sat on the other side of the dressing room reading his programme – he just looked up and went “Ooh aah”. That sums up Eric for me.
So what was Eric Cantona like behind closed doors?
Eric was a nice guy and loved a joke but he was a very private man. I didn’t see it myself but a friend of mine used to live around the corner from him in Worsley and apparently Eric used to go into one of the local pubs, The Bridgewater, and it was one of these very loud pubs with a booth in the back. Eric was never out lapping up the attention – he used to go out the back and play dominos with the old lads and they loved him. He’d get himself a Coca-Cola and go sit in the back with the old guys. Apparently they worshipped the ground he walked on.