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1966 was a great year for English football, Eric Cantona was born.
Manchester United had established its reputation in the '60s as a dominant force in English football, but throughout the 70s and 80s, they had fallen into irrelevance. Fans craved a return to former glory, but despite flashes of brilliance United never seemed to be able to put it all together. The occasional FA Cup win provided silverware for their trophy cabinet but the grand prize, a league title, continued to evade them.
This was made all the worse by the sheer and utter dominance of Manchester United's biggest rival, Liverpool. Over two decades Liverpool would accumulate 11 league titles and 4 European Cups. It was a nightmare for United fans the world over, and the brief glimmers of hope provided by players like Bryan Robson only made it sting that much more.
Enter Alex Ferguson. We know how that story would end up, but in the beginning, prospects looked bleak. That is until Eric Cantona stepped onto the stage after a 1.2 million pound transfer from Leeds. In his first season at Manchester United, he would lead the side to its first league title since 1967. Cantona would knock in 15 goals that season but what truly lead United to the title was his playmaking. He racked up 16 assists that year allowing United to comfortably win the league 10 points ahead of 2nd place Aston Villa. The title drought was broken. It was the beginning of historic careers for both Ferguson and Cantona.
Cantona would go on to win 4 premier league titles in 5 years, cementing Manchester United at the top of English football and sparking an era of dominance that would turn Manchester United into one of the biggest sporting entities in the world. United's modern-day legacy is built on King Eric's influence. His flair and passion made him a joy to watch and endeared him in the hearts of United fans. He had a penchant for spectacular goals whether they be thunderous free kicks or impossible chips. Even more impressive was that they always seemed to be right when United needed them. Fergie time was built on Cantona's ability to drag United back into the fold at the very depths. You could always count on King Eric.
Own a piece of that magnificence with this signed Manchester United shirt. Recall the wonderful goals he scored and the legacy he established, not just for himself, but for Manchester United. He was one of the most fascinating players to ever grace the pitch, and now this monument can hang on your walls.