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20 Dec 2004 00:00
Manchester United soccer great Eric Cantona has joined the chorus of opposition to Malcolm Glazer’s intended takeover of the club.
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneer owner reportedly putting together a second takeover offer some time this week, the French star told Man United fans on their own television station that Glazer should “stay in America and buy Coca-Cola”.
Glazer has already had an £800-million takeover bid turned down by the Man United board, which said it was based almost entirely on borrowed money. He responded by using his 28,1% shareholding to vote three directors off the board at the club’s annual general meeting last month.
With Glazer reportedly planning a hostile takeover, his bankers pulled out but the Bucs’ owner is reported to have found new financial backing with a view to launching a new bid—much of it with his own cash.
“I don’t think it would be a good thing.
Not at all,” Cantona told MUTV in a rare interview.
“If someone was to come here, we would lose everything. I am against this kind of thing because I am like a child, I am a dreamer.
“I don’t want these kinds of people to come here. If it is not Manchester United, if it is not a club where he can earn so much money, do you think he would love to come? I don’t think so. If it is not like that, he can stay [in the United States] and buy Coca-Cola.”
One of soccer’s most volatile characters, who was banned for nine months for a kung-fu style attack on a fan who had been taunting him, Cantona is a hero to United fans and gave them his views on a variety of topics. But at one stage he uttered an expletive when he talked of demanding respect from people who do not like him.
Although he retired from the game in the 1990s, he could wind up in trouble because the interview took place late afternoon during prime-time family viewing.—Sapa-AP
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