Last Monday, 4 June, Icons travelled to Paris for a private and exclusive signing session with Manchester United legend Eric Cantona. Icons have a superb long-standing relationship with Eric, and we were delighted to hold our first signing together since February 2009. Read on to find out more...
In the five storming seasons that followed his transfer from Leeds to Sir Alex Ferguson's Man Utd in November 1992 (pictured above), the bewilderingly gifted and notoriously temperamental Frenchman fired the Red Devils to four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. Now, as Director of Soccer at the recently revived New York Cosmos, Cantona splits his time between Paris and New York. It was in the French capital that we arranged to meet.
For the Icons team travelling from London to Paris to conduct the signing, Monday 4 June began with 7am taxis to Kings Cross St Pancras and a packed Eurostar train at 8.20am. Carrying suitcases loaded with shirts, boots and camera equipment, we arrived at Paris' Gare du Nord station and headed straight to the city centre hotel where the signing was to take place.
Eric wasn't arriving until later that afternoon, so after locating a hotel conference room for the signing, we headed out for a leisurely Parisian lunch. Upon our return to the hotel it was all hands to the deck to ensure the signing went as smoothly as possible. The shirts were unpacked and arranged in piles in preparation to be signed, and pens and cameras were carefully tested as our excitement grew at meeting one of football's greatest personalities.
Slightly delayed by Paris' notorious traffic, Cantona arrived just before 4pm. The towering Frenchman was friendly and polite, introducing himself as "Eric" with a round of handshakes. After downing an entire bottle of water in one go, he sat down and began siging Man Utd 1996 FA Cup winners shirts and the infamous 1993-94 away shirts, both pictured below.
Despite the temperamental reputation, Eric was approachable, relaxed and as professional as we expected. While he meticulously added his signature to our replica shirts, conversation - in both English and French - varied from his days in Manchester to his acting career and his thoughts on Euro 2012 and Roland Garros. (Unfortunately we are not permitted to disclose his predictions in our Euro 2012 predictions blog!)
The session lasted almost two hours, and there was even time for Eric to pay for a round of drinks in the hotel bar. Still starstruck from the signing, we set about packing up the newly-signed shirts and boots and made our way back to London. Even a two-hour delay on the Eurostar couldn't dampen our spirits!
Eric is pictured here with Nick, one member of the Icons team.
View the full signed Eric Cantona range HERE and follow Icons on Twitter @icons_football for the latest news on all our signings.