Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has revealed he put himself forward to become the club’s ‘President of Football’ — but former chief executive Ed Woodward rejected his offer.
The footballer-turned-actor offered his services to Woodward before the polarising executive vice-chairman left his position in 2021. However, Woodward was unmoved by the Frenchman’s proposal to become the club’s footballing overseer.
Cantona’s pitch involved him presiding over footballing matters strictly concerning Manchester United, while Woodward and his boardroom associates would focus predominantly on the marketing aspect of the sport.
However, the pitch was ultimately snubbed. “Last year, I proposed to the club to change their way,” Cantona told The Athletic.
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“Ed Woodward is great at marketing but not great at football. United should have a chairman and then they should have a president of marketing and then a president of football, who is in charge of all the decision in football.
“So I proposed to them that I should be president of football.
“I met him [Woodward] a few times. But they did not accept it! I still think me or somebody else, they should have somebody for football.
“It should be somebody from the club, who knows football and the club.
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“But they did not want me to be the president of the club! They did not want me! And the fans have to know that I went and travelled to Manchester to give them the opportunity to succeed in the next decades. And they did not want it!”
Man Utd have been in a constant state of flux since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, while their North West rivals (Liverpool and Manchester City) have dominated the Premier League landscape.
Cantona has had little involvement in football since calling time on his playing days, forging a career as a actor and occasional director, though he has played his fair share of beach football for the France national team, and even served as a brief sporting director for New York Cosmos.
Even so, Cantona said he would have dropped all of his work to help restore Manchester United back to the pinnacle of the sport, if he were given the opportunity.
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He added: “I felt guilty not trying to help this club to do better. I said to myself, ‘For five years I will put everything on hold and concentrate 100 per cent on that’.
“And if I concentrate 100 per cent on that, then I can tell you, I would do it very well.
“Now I feel good with myself. I tried. So nobody in my family can say I did not try anything to help United. They did not want it. That’s their choice. But I tried it.”