ERIC CANTONA offered to be Manchester United’s President of Football – but his former club turned him down.
The iconic Frenchman, 56, had a five-year spell at United in the 90s.
He scored 81 and assisted 62 in 181 games, while winning four Premier Leagues and two FA Cups.
But Cantona prematurely retired aged 30 in 1997.
In the 25 years he has spent out of football, Cantona has focussed on acting.
He was, however, willing to make a return to Man Utd to help the club achieve on the pitch.
Cantona says the club was excelling commercially, with former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward being “great at marketing”, but struggling to win silverware consistently post-Sir Alex Ferguson.
The ex-forward offered to be Man Utd’s President of Football, to work alongside the Chairman and President of Marketing.
But his offer was turned down.
He revealed to The Athletic: “Last year, I proposed to the club to change their way.
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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 decisions in football.
“So I proposed to them that I should be president of football.”
He continued: “I met him 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.”
United now have a Football Director in John Murtough, but that is not sufficient for Cantona.
Responding to the Interviewer who pointed this out, he said: “Yes, but it is not a president of football.”
Cantona says a good President of Football and Marketing could treble United’s revenue.
He said: “Since Ferguson retired in 2013, the club doubled their revenue but didn’t win anything (United have won the Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup since Ferguson but not a title or Champions League).
“So imagine if you succeed in football and also have great people in marketing, then instead of doubling the revenue, then you would treble it.
“But they do not understand that. The club spends a lot of money. But you have to spend it well.”
Cantona is also in favour of “real fans” owning football clubs, and with the Glazers under pressure at United, he has an idea.
His former team-mate Gary Neville is a fierce critic of the current ownership, and so Cantona was asked if he feels it’s time for the Glazer’s to go.
He said: “Yes, maybe. I thought about something also.
“This club has on social media hundreds of thousands of fans.
“If they create an application today saying that 50 per cent of the club can be sold, then why should you have one person or two people who invest £500million?
“Instead, you can have hundreds of millions of people who spend 10 euros, 20 euros, 100 euros, 1,000 euros, and 50 per cent of the club is owned by the real fans of Manchester United.
“With social media now, you would do that like this.”
He concluded: “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.”