Eric Cantona says he would stop cheering for Manchester United if the Glazers sell Old Trafford naming rights
The Frenchman gave a wide-ranging interview in which he voiced his support for fan ownership of the club, if it were possible.
Cantona is still widely revered by any Manchester United fan privileged to watch him play, and those who have subsequently grown up watching video clips of his heroics.
His love for Manchester United has never faded since his retirement in 1997 – but he says there is one way his bond with the club could be broken.
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If the Glazers sell Old Trafford naming rights…
Cantona has warned the Glazers not to sell the naming rights to Old Trafford at any point in the future, believing it would signify the soul of the club disappearing.
He even said he would cease supporting Manchester United, and even stop following football, if the decision to re-name the stadium was taken.
Cantona said: “I spoke with some Arsenal fans and they hate these (new) stadiums. These fans lost the soul of their clubs. Fortunately, Old Trafford is still Old Trafford. Anfield is still Anfield.
“But can you imagine Old Trafford becomes a new stadium called by a brand? If one day they do that, I am sorry but I am not a fan of United anymore. And I quit football forever!
“But please, don’t call this stadium Nestle, or Amazon, please. Old Trafford is Old Trafford.”
Manchester City are one of the clubs to sell the naming rights to their ground, which has been more common for clubs with new stadiums, although Tottenham Hotspur have so far resisted the urge to do the same.
Manchester United are currently exploring possible ways to substantially renovate Old Trafford – for the first time under the Glazer ownership, but it is unclear how the owners intend to pay for it.
One option is to take out a loan and plunge the club further into debt, an unattractive option.
Another would be to sell off naming rights – an even more unpopular decision, as Eric Cantona Cantona spells out.
The real solution is for the Glazers to sell the club, for a new owner who does have the money to invest into the club. Sir Jim Ratcliffe could be the man to solve this conundrum.