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Can You Imagine If Cantona Did This?

Whilst the Chelsea team of old was not exactly something I had any fondness for, that little Italian chimp, Gianfranco Zola, certainly had skills that were kinder on the eye than anything the blues have to offer these days.

He learnt his trade from Diego Maradona, of all people, before moving to the Premiership when he was 30-years-old. In his first season he scored a cracker against us, leading to praise from our boss.

“He’s a clever little so-and-so,” Fergie said after the match that finished in a draw, a young David Beckham bagging our equaliser. “We started slowly and they caught us cold with a fabulous goal from Zola. He’s a better player than I thought he was. I thought we could push my full-backs forward but he was smart enough to go and play wide. He has got a good head on him.”

Zola is hitting the headlines in England again though and it’s making me wonder whether he does in fact have a good head on him at all.

By the end of his first season he had an FA Cup winners medal to his name, scoring a goal in the final, and being named the Football Writers Player of the Year. In his 7 year career at Stamford Bridge, he won 5 trophies (yes, it seems they did win things before Abramovich!) and Chelsea fans have voted him their greatest ever player. It was a sad day when he left.

So what on earth is he doing going for the West Ham job? Reports suggest he is now the favourite to replace Alan Curbishley, with an announcement expected on Thursday to confirm this.

Whilst local lads can take on the role as hero for a lot of clubs, like Alan Shearer for Newcastle, Paul Scholes for United, Robbie Fowler for Liverpool, Tony Adams (ish) for Arsenal and er, Dean Windass at Hull, there are a few foreigners that seem to manage to claim a place in the fans’ hearts forever. Eric Cantona for United, Thierry Henry for Arsenal, Di Canio for West Ham, Georgi Kinkladze for City, Erik Olof Mellberg at Villa, Juhinho for Middlesbrough, and the list goes on.

Zola was that man for Chelsea, the one the fans still talk about and who they utterly idolise, and his number 25 shirt hasn’t been worn since he left 5 years ago. It therefore doesn’t sit quite right with me that he looks to be taking on a job at West Ham, Chelsea’s hateful rivals. Whilst Spurs would be more painful, West Ham are only slightly better in terms of worst clubs he could go to for Chelsea fans.

United fans have endured a similar fate in the summer just gone, with Mark Hughes’ taking over the job at City. However, whilst lots of reds fancied him as the man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson one day, we’d seen him play for Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and Blackburn after leaving us, as well as managing the latter of these clubs for four years. He wasn’t ‘ours’ in the same sense the players mentioned above belong to their team, despite enjoying many years of success at the club and adulation from our fans.

It got me thinking, can you imagine if Eric Cantona did this? Whilst Liverpool would be the most dreaded destination, can you imagine if he was being linked so heavily with the City job? Or the Everton job? It would be heartbreaking.

Someone you identify with, a player you’ll sing the praises of, a man you will always claim was the ‘greatest foreigner to ever play in England’. To know that one of your fiercest rivals had got their hands on your idol would be crushing. And wouldn’t they just know it.

The chants that would come from their fans would be painful. Seeing your special player kitted out in their colours on the touchline would be sickening.  

Well it seems Zola’s former Chelsea team mate, Frank Leboeuf, feels the same way, and has spoken out in disbelief.

“My only concern is that he was a Chelsea player and not a West Ham player,” he said. “I heard a West Ham fan say that they would rather the club went for Paolo Di Canio because he was a Hammers legend and I can understand that. I never wanted to sign for another club because I gave my faith and my love to Chelsea and I think you have to stick to that. Gianfranco Zola is a legend at Chelsea and I don’t see him at West Ham. I’ve nothing against West Ham but Zola belongs to Chelsea. Di Canio belongs to West Ham.”

However, Zola has confirmed that the deal is more or less done, telling Chelsea fans that his playing career was a thing of his past and not something to dwell on now.

“This is a new era, a new chapter for me,” he said. “I was an offensive player, who only knew one way to play. That is how my teams will always play. I know there is a rivalry between Chelsea and West Ham, but that is not a problem. My playing career is in my past.”


Whilst not massively concerned with the feelings of Chelsea fans, I think there is something sad about this. Zola will be forever spoilt for the rent boys if he takes on the West Ham job, and as a football fan, I too would prefer to see the likes of Di Canio managing West Ham, just like there are plenty of reds intent on Cantona taking over Fergie’s job, because all fans are entitled to their legends.

What do you make of all this?



  1. Stephen says:

    Strange choice all round really, why him? no proven track record if they wanted an ex rent boy why not Vialli of Guillit.
    Players have no loyalties anymore, oh sorry they do! but only to their wallets I am afraid.

  2. FailsworthDevil says:

    Its true though.. Schmeichel was seen as a legend, but very rarely do we talk about him that much anymore… as he played for the blue noses “after apparently deciding to retire”.

    There are players that are devoted to one club… love one club… ie Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Cantona….they have shown loyalty… Cantona knew when the time was right to hang up his boots… but he would never go anywhere else..

    The bubble blowers have got a ex big name player on the cheap… and coz he is ex Rent Boy… that will appease the fans a bit more coz it will rub salt in the wound of the Chelski scummers….

    Sparky can go fuck himself as far as im concerned… yeh was a legend at a United… WAS is a big word…i could handle him playing for the rent boys (just) as he was at the end of his career…… but to go and manage them blue twats is beyond me…the taffy twat

    Ive had my rant now… “So to all of you United Players current and past, that wanna be considered legends… dont do the silly shitey thing by getting involved with the Blue Shite, or Scouse etc”… you will never be forgiven.

  3. suhayl says:

    failsworth devil totally agree pal…. Keano hasnt exactly endeered himself to us after consistently slating us our club and SAF relentlessly since becoming a manager. Sparky is the same..chelsea player…and now loving it at shitty..wanting to rub our noses in it with his new found money. Ince we all know what he did.

    Guys leave utd and the start dissing or disrepecting us. They seem to forget they became legends at our place and it is SAF who made them what they are. Only Brucie from the ex managers list always talks about us highly and with great esteem and SAF with great honour as if he is still playing for us.

    Long live Brucieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  4. Stephen says:

    suhayl, you forgot Darren Ferguson!!

  5. suhayl says:

    his family stephen lol…doesnt count…if he didnt show loyalty….dad would boot him out of his 1 mill house and out of his not to mention mum cathy ferguson not being happy :-)

  6. Stephen says:

    Ha Ha, will be a decent manager one day, probably should have been our no2!

  7. bertie says:

    Players have no loyalties anymore, oh sorry they do! but only to their wallets I am afraid.

    What is he supposed to do? Wait until Chelsea ask him to be their manager, which they never will as he needs to prove himself first.

    Same with the former Man U players that have been mentioned. If they become good enough (Sparky is looking decent) then I have no problem with them managing Man Utd one day.

  8. Lukenestler says:

    The difference is that Eric has said on more than one occasion that if he were to ever go into management, it would ONLY be by coming to OT. Ironically that limits his options, as us bringing in an untried No.1 will never happen.

    Ooh aah…!

  9. FailsworthDevil says:

    Suhail….defo agree mate, your right.. some of these players you mentioned ie Ince.. Keano etc….they forget who turned them from good prospects into fantastic players… they talk about loyalty in the game now… but just shows you who the genuine united legends are… rather than the ones who use Uniteds legacy to get them where they are now.

    Your spot on about Stevie Bruce as well… always got a good thing to say about united… he knows how well they treated him.. and he was an excellent servant to the reds…

    Paul Ince is a prick anyway… i remember the equaliser he scored for the scouse against us at Anfield with a couple of minutes left… and ran off like he had just won Euromillions… shows ya what a little shit he really is.

    What these turncoats dont realise is that… whatever they do… whatever they say… however big they think they are………..UNITED will always be bigger… better… around longer… and by far the biggest Legacy to ever being involved in the game of football.

  10. JohnnyCarey'sbaggyshorts says:

    I cannot believe some of the tripe being submitted by people. Sparky is a legend. Came through the ranks at United. Gave 110% every game. Scored spectacular goal after spectacular goal. Was treated like s**t by United when they sold him to Barcelona. Still came back and won us the Cup-Winners-Cup and umpteen league and other titles. It was made clear to him that he had no future at United some time after Andy Cole arrived. What do reds expect him to have done? Retired when he still had plenty of games and goals left in him (as he proved at other clubs). Now he is a talented manager who did a good job with Wales and a super job with Blackburn. He clearly wanted to move to a club with more potential in order to prove himself to United for the day when Fergie eventually retires. For me, Sparky will always be a United legend. I wish him all the best and always will.

    As for knocking Schmeichel because he spent a season at City – give me a break. He too will also always be a United legend. Who would begrudge him a final fling in the Premiership? Only those who are narrow-minded, blinkered or fickle. He gave us many great years of loyal service. He helped to deliver trophy after trophy and left us only after helping to win the Champions league. Another great player and a guy who deserves our thanks and respect.

    So who is next? Are you going to knock Denis Law, Matt Busby or Billy Meredith because they also spent time at City??

  11. FailsworthDevil says:

    Eric Cantona speaks from his heart… he has a massive passion about United… think thats why he is THE LEGEND for us all……you know by lookin at the man that if he knew the lyrics.. he would be more than happy to stand in the Stretty End and sing his Gaelic Voice out to the reds..

    Thats what United love about Eric… thats what United deserve from the ex players…..its just a shame that some of them dont realise this…and then there is the ex players who were shite who jump on the united band waggon… for instance he is at it all the time Mickey “Dodgy Twenties” Thomas… he was fuckin shite for us… but talks about himself as being in united folklore… get to fuck mickey… u were as shite at football as you were dealing in dodgy cash.

  12. suhayl says:


    But still great when one of our legends makes those kinds of comments.

  13. A MAN UNITED FAN says:

    scott you started the day off with 2 fantastic photos for me not to worry

    now with your next blog you have me shitting it

  14. suhayl says:

    here here failsworthdevil….my sentiments exactly mate..couldnt have put it better

  15. FailsworthDevil says:

    JohnnyCareysBaggyShorts… .i agree in a sense where your comin from mate… but when Schmeicel retired from United.. he did say he was gonna play a season in Denmark…. he did a couple of months then came back to the Premiership when city come knocking… thats fuckin bollox mate.. Yes he was a fantastic keeper… prob the best in our history… but what annoys me is that he announced he was leaving United as the Premiership was getting too much etc… thats what annoys me about him… and if he really wanted to come back to the premiership after 3 months… then he could have had a pick of the clubs… why go to the blue shite of manchester…

    Again Mark Hughes… was a fantastic player for United… and what ya gotta remember is that we didnt force him to go to Barca mate… United accepted the bid then give him the option to go and he chose, then went on loan at Bayern (I think) and then came back to United.

    What i cannot understand is why he would want to go to city as manager… didnt Blackburn end up higher than city last season?? … but you are saying that he left blackburn to better himself… dont forget all these arabs billions wasnt on show then pal.

    I cannot understand how any players present or past could have had the adulation and put on a pedestal by us United fans… can go and swear there allegance to the likes of the Blue Noses or Scousers etc…. look at fuckin Heinze… was adored by the United fans… then tried to force a move over to the window lickers at Anfield…….. he wants fuckin hung drawn n quartered for that … dont you agree?

  16. JohnnyCarey'sbaggyshorts says:

    FailsworthDevil – maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, but I don’t recall Schmeichel saying he was going back to Denmark. He went to Sporting Lisbon for two years and then wound down his career with a year at Villa and a year at City. Either way, his spending a year in the twilight of his career helping City to avoid relegation does nothing to damage his reputation as a United legend in my eyes.

    Heinze is a different story. Given that I loved the guy when he was at United, I won’t attack him now, but his carry on with Liverpool did destroy him in my eyes.

    Leaving all of the above aside, I will always defend Sparky to the hilt. He was a true hero at United and an absolute gent. As for his departure to Barcelona, my understanding is that it was made perfectly clear to him that United wanted him to go – they needed the money at the time. He was, by all accounts, broken hearted.

    He clearly did leave Blackburn for Shitty to better himself. Leaving the Arabs aside, Shitty did seem to have money under Shinawatra when Sparky joined; something he never had at Blackburn. If Blackburn finished ahead of Shitty in the league, that was down to Sparky’s management. He bought brilliantly in the bargain basement, organised his team superbly and had them punching above their weight. If he is given time at Shitty and doesn’t have the new owners butting in left, right and centre, he will turn them into a force – I have no problem with that (as long as we continue to finish ahead of them).

    When Fergie goes, I want Sparky back at OT. No doubts at all in my mind.

    Now don’t even get me started on Keano, mate! :-)

  17. JohnnyCarey'sbaggyshorts says:

    … as for Schmeichel, I just found this comment about him on Wikipedia:

    “His last major action in football was to make a world class save against Liverpool at Anfield, in a game which City went on to win. This ultimately led to Liverpool missing out on a Champions League spot on the final day of the season.”

    Love it!! :-)

  18. Stephen says:

    I love Sparky but he is no different from any over ambitous young manager who will tread on anyone to get where he wants to go. Personally if I could never manage the nearest rivals of a club I was once adored at, but football really has changed, allegiance really is no more.

  19. FailsworthDevil says:

    Johnny mate…. we both got our views… and you was right about Schmeichel n Sporting… i forgot bud… it is a club in Denmark which he owns…

    We both love United thats what matters matey… and i dont disagree with what your saying mate..not at all……i just have my feelings about any association with scouse n blue shite from any ex red… thats all it is with me.

    I do like the caption from Wikpedia about the save which stopped the scouse getting into the champs league… maybe someone should suggest to schmeicel about having that on his gravestone when his time is up lol !! Class

  20. mkn says:

    Sorry, i gotta say this… In what document or official notice does it say a player cannot become a manager of a rival club or a club in the same general region. Its like being a coca cola drinker all your life and then getting a job at pepsi.

    its that simple. People will always make the best for themselves.

    Im a United fan for 24 years, and i say go Sparky – make Manchester the football capital of the world. (As long as we ahead of them), and Shmecial was the greatest keeper England and the world has ever seen, who really cares he played 8 months of football for City, but lets not forget Mr DENNIS LAW – a true RED, but no one says a bad word about his move to CIty?

    Why is that?

    Its pathetic support for general football, its fans like some of you that really are pathetic…Heinze going on about KidneyPool is a different story thats just blatant disrespect…

    Seriosuly, there was talk of us signing HENRY earlier in the season, and you all sound like Arsenhole fans… I would have loved henry (Past it abit) but still. Most of us would of loved it…

    Remember this “No matter what they say to you, we are the champions, the mighty reds, and we will always march on”

  21. FailsworthDevil says:

    MKN…. You have got us “ARSEHOLE” united fans wrong… well and truly wrong…

    Firstly… when Denis Law backheeled the goal for the blue shite against us… he was devastated… he admits it blatantly that he did that to try and miss… That to me is RED loyalty…

    Secondly… no i dont like the fact that Sparky has gone over to the blue shite… well and truly wrong.. nothing like drinkin coke n working for pepsi… we are talking United here not a fuckin soft drink.

    Nobody is doubting the ability of Schmeichel… Hughes… etc etc when they played for united… what we are pissed at is the fact that they are classed as legends at united… by the fans especially… coz dont forget.. its the fans that put them on this pedestal not themselves… so it fucks us off when they have any affiliation with the blue nose twats or scouse scum.

    As for Henry… he would never have been classed as a legend at United… even though he is an ARSEnal Legend (Ouch that hurt typing that)… we wouldnt have accepted him in the same way as Eric etc etc.

    There was other clubs Hughes could have managed if what we are talking “Bettering himself”… there was other clubs Schmeichel could have played for when he returned to the Premiership……… nope but he went to the blue shite………. nobody can tell me that this sort of shit doesnt take some of the shine of what these type of players achieved at OT.

    And as for Heinze, that twat should be put in front of a firing squad.

  22. OTRed says:

    Hughes to manage United after City?…heaven forbid it! Anyway, I’m willing to bet my life that since Fergie is gonna have a hand in deciding who succeeds him(according to what Gill said), you have be sure that Hughes is ruled out already and I’m ready to take on a bet(with anyone who will still be here in 3years) that Hughes is NEVER coming to manage United.

  23. FailsworthDevil says:

    OTRed… i agree… there is no way we could allow for him to take the hot seat mate… he would tarnish the dugout after sitting in blue shite seats for so long……if he wanted united so much he should have stayed at blackburn and waited… but he didnt and his tough shite now..

    United do not want damaged goods…

  24. Ole P. Pedersen says:

    You know, I have heard that United once appointed a manager that used to play for City AND Liverpool! No way! How could we??? I hope they got rid of that chap quickly? Oh, hang on…

  25. Just1n says:

    haha good point Ole.

    So Matt Busby can play for City and Liverpool and yet he is the ultimate legend.

    The hypocrites on here are laughable.

    Sparky for manager after SAF leaves.

  26. FailsworthDevil says:

    Just1n……..we are talking modern day… about the loyalties in todays game in the last 20 years or so………….anyway Sir Matt is untouchable anyway… and if it wasnt for Sir Matt we wouldnt have these legends as it was him who started the real United legacy rolling.

    Sparky will not get the Man U job i can guarentee that… there is no way on this earth that he will get the job after getting infected with the blue noses…

    Fergie wouldnt allow it… and neither would us so called ‘Hypocrites’…

    Maybe you shouldnt judge us what we are saying… as merely commenting on what ex players have said and done…

  27. Just1n says:

    Do you actually believe that the fans will have a say in who becomes the next manager? If so you are deluded mate. Just as those fans that had a say in the Glazer takeover. There are things that we have no say on. We can accept the boards decision or we can stop supporting or we can start a splinter club like some supporters have done.

    At the end of the day the best manager will be chosen who will be capable of continuing the success we have enjoyed under SAF. If that person be foreign then so be it, but I doubt that cos as a club United have always concentrated on good British players and a foreign coach will not emphasise that and will bring in to many continental players. If Hughes has done a good job at City there is no reason to believe that he cannot manage Utd. It’s not like he is managing Liverpool.

  28. Jemima says:

    Rubbish. The Chelsea fans with a brain cell will wish Zola all the best.

  29. FailsworthDevil says:

    Just1n…. i know what you are saying mate…. but how could we ever have anyone in charge… who has blatantly tried to knock the club which made him… which give him such an illustrious career…..

    I know that he is only doing is job at the Blue Noses by saying these things… but Stevie Bruce says things…..and i know he always puts a team out to play us… but its the way Sparky has been saying things about United… thats why i could never accept him….

    Your right in a sense… we wont have any control over the new manager… but once appointed… if the fans dont agree with it… or dont take to the new manager… then the fans can make it pretty intolerable for the new manager to stay.

    I could never go to a splinter club ie FC United… thats just a load of bollox if you ask me…..

    When they started off, it was setting up in protest at the Glazers etc… and i was for them doing it to make a point… but exactly where has this got them?? Nowhere mate….

    I will always be United… Manchester United….whether we end up playing in the Manchester Central League if we go bankrupt.. i will always be Manchester United… its my blood.. i breathe it… and im always gonna have sommat to say about it……its the way I am… its the way a lot of us… thats the joy of this fantastic website… we get to chat United… and slag the blue cum, scouse pricks and cockney tossers off all day long !!

  30. Stephen says:

    If Hughes does a decent job at City there is no reason why he cannot manage United, my view if and when he fails to finnish top 4 this season he will be sacked. Like all managers who are run by foreign owners they want instant success, and to be honest he will do well to finnish top 6.

  31. FailsworthDevil says:

    Stephen…. i gotta say that i agree with ya mate…

    They will prob bring a Saudi manager in… who works in one of there property establishments…

    “Manchester City would like to announce their new manager for the 2009/2010 season………. Al Avadit Upd’pooshoot Lotsa”…..

  32. Stephen says:

    FailsworthDevil thats feckin funny mate!

  33. FailsworthDevil says:

    Stephen, if there is an opportunity to rip the piss out of the blue noses, scouse twats or rent boys… im onto mate..makes manchester a happier place lol… well for me anyway bud.

    Did ya hear about Royal Mail having to recall the commemorative Liverpool FC postage stamps….

    People were buying them but didnt know which side to spit on !!

    But my fav is ……..

    What dya call a scouser in a white tracksuit.. ??

    The Bride

  34. Stephen says:

    Fuckin class!!!

  35. Jemima says:

    Wow, what a shit-thick crimper.

  36. FailsworthDevil says:

    Shit Thick Crimper?? Explain Jemima?? That isnt scouse for Quarter Pounder with cheese is it??

  37. mkn says:

    hahaha, scousers dont get any stamps… How they gonnna send away for the dole?

    Hahaha FailsworthDevil thats fucking funny
    “That isnt scouse for Quarter Pounder with cheese is it??”

  38. FailsworthDevil says:

    Naaaaaa mate is fuckers like…..the only English scousers know is “Wanna buy a big issue so i can feed my 38 kids” or “Guilty your honour”….. Burgers aint got as far as Scouseland yet mate…I think they still even use there mothers breast milk in there brews.


    A house in liverpool…….. and a little girl is in the kitchen while her mummy is washing the dishes… and the little girl says “Mummy why are your hands so soft”… for which the little scouse girls mummy replies… “Its because im only 12″ lol


    Sign on, Sign on, With a Pen in your hand… coz you’ll never get a job, you’ll never get a job…


    What dya call a scouser in a semi detached house? A BURGLAR.


    What dya call a scouser in a suit ? THE ACCUSED.


    What dya call a scouser with a job? A FUCKIN LIAR.


    Liverpool is the only place i know of, where they piss through your letterbox, and knock on and ask how far it went.


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