Roy Keane has recalled a rather wonderful story about Manchester United legend Eric Cantona in his new autobiography The Second Half.
Cantona, who preceded Keane as United captain, had a different approach to leadership, inspiring players with his charisma.
In an extract published by The Telegraph, Keane recalls a rather endearing story about Eric Cantona showing his generosity and selflessness: “In my early years at United, there was a players’ pool and each of us would get about £800 out of it at the end of the season for the work we’d done for the in-house magazines, the club videos.”
“We were all on decent money and eight hundred quid wasn’t going to make or break us, so one time, we decided to put all the cheques into a hat and the last cheque out, whoever’s name was on it, got to keep all of the cheques.
“We all put our cheques in except a couple of the younger players – I think it was Becks and Gary and Phil (Neville).
“They opted out. They were new on the scene and didn’t have the money to spare, but Scholesy and Nicky Butt put their cheques in.
“I think I was the third last name out, so I got a run for my money, but the last cheque out – Eric Cantona. He’d won about sixteen grand.
“He came in the next day, there was plenty of banter – ‘Eric, you lucky b——!’ F—— money to money.’
“But he had got somebody to cash the cheques, he’d split the money in two and he gave it to Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt because, he said, the two of them had the balls to go into it when they couldn’t really afford it.
“The two lads took home about eight grand each.
“I just thought, ‘what a gesture.’ Nobody else would have done it.”
What a hero. Eric Cantona is cool personified.