Eric the Red king of New York

SHROUDED in cigar smoke and sitting on a throne, Eric Cantona announced his return to football yesterday morning in his own very unique style.

The recently-revived New York Cosmos may not have players or a stadium but they caused a stir when announcing that the former Manchester United captain was to become their director of football.

The 44-year-old’s role will include managing a first team that won’t see Major League Soccer (MLS) action until at least 2013 but that hasn’t prevented the Queens-based outfit weighing into the Big Apple’s lucrative sporting market with some swagger.

Since his retirement in 1997, Cantona has been more active in cinema than in football although he has played for and managed France’s Beach Soccer team during that time.

“I am very honoured to join the legendary New York Cosmos,” Cantona said. “It’s kind of a mix between football and art. I will do everything that I can to help us first find our way to regain the number one position in the US, and then for us to become one of the best clubs in the world.”

Led by English businessman Paul Kemsley and with Pelé as honorary president, the Cosmos returned to football last August. With stars like Franz Beckenbauer and Pele, they were a huge draw in the late 1970s and won five North American Soccer League titles before the competition became defunct in 1984. Former Coventry player Cobi Jones will work alongside Cantona. The club’s board includes as a director Rick Parry, the former chief executive of Liverpool and the former head of the English Premier League.

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