By Andy Hyslop
- November 26 1992: Eric Cantona joins Manchester United from rivals Leeds
- Signing of Cantona proved to the catalyst for United’s first title in 26 years
Manchester United signing Eric Cantona from rivals Leeds proved to be the final piece in the jigsaw, as they searched for their first league title in 26 years. On November 26 1992 Cantona swapped Leeds for Manchester.
Cantona arrived at Old Trafford for fee believed to £1.2million from Leeds United. Even in 1992 that was classed as a bargain for a player who had won Leeds the league championship the season before.
The move came about when Leeds chairman Bill Fotherby rung his counterpart at United Martin Edwards to enquire about signing Denis Irwin. Edwards was in a meeting with Ferguson and both men agreed that the full-back wasn’t for sale.
United had struggled in front of goal at the start of 1992/93 season and it was no secret that they were in dire need of a goalscorer. United had already signed Dion Dublin at the start of the season but he suffered a broken leg, ruling him out for six months.
Following the injury to Dublin, United attempted to sign David Hirst, Matt Le Tissier and Brian Deane. After Edwards had told Leeds Irwin wasn’t for sale, he enquired about Cantona. Fotherby said he would have to consult with manager Howard Wilkinson and within a few days Eric would become a Manchester United player.
Prior to Eric’s arrival United had gone three games without scoring, lost successive games to Wimbledon and Aston Villa, dropping to 10th in the Premier League table.
Cantona first competitive appearance in a United shirt, came as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 win over Manchester City at Old Trafford on December 6 1992.
Cantona quickly settled into the United starting XI, partnering Mark Hughes in attack. United fortunes soon saw an upturn with Cantona scoring goals and creating chances for his new team-mates.
Cantona’s influence saw United go top of the table just a month after his arrival in Manchester and they would remain in the top three of the Premier League table.
United sealed their first title for 26 years with two games to spare following Aston Villa’s defeat to Oldham Athletic. It was second successive league title after his success with Leeds the previous season.