Does Eric Cantona have a Leeds tattoo? The truth behind the collar

Eric Cantona
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Football fans who remember Eric Cantona’s 1990s heyday may remember an intriguing rumour that did the rounds: that the Manchester United star always wore his collar up because of a secret Leeds United tattoo on the back of his neck.

Cantona of course played for Leeds for eight months in 1992 before Alex Ferguson snapped him up for a fee of £1 million that November.

And while the Frenchman’s time in Yorkshire was short, it was also successful – he lifted the First Division title there and scored a hat-trick in the subsequent victorious Charity Shield game in August.

So while it would be unusual for a footballer to get a tat of a club they played for for less than a year, it’s still not impossible… is it?

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Eric Cantona week

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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Sadly, the truth behind King Eric’s sartorial decisions is a little simpler. 

In fact, he revealed the real motive in an interview with none other than FourFourTwo.

Asked where the idea came from the pop the collar, Cantona replied: “It wasn’t an idea. I put my shirt on. It was a cold day. The collar stayed up so I kept it like that. We won, so it became a habit to play with my collar up.”

There you have it. Despite what you may have heard in the playground, circa 1994,  Eric Cantona resolutely did not have ‘LUFC’ branded on the back of his neck – though we can’t speak for anywhere else on his body.

It seems amazing that so little reason lies behind what became an iconic feature of football in the 1990s, copied by kids on their primary school polo shirts the country over. But according to the man himself, it was just because he was cold.

Read the inside story of Eric Cantona’s career in the new issue of FourFourTwo magazine

Order three copies of FourFourTwo for £3 today (opens in new tab)

Eric Cantona week on FourFourTwo

• King of the Kop? When Eric Cantona nearly signed for Liverpool

• How Sheffield Wednesday turned down signing Eric Cantona

• Every club Eric Cantona played for: a potted history of the Frenchman's career

• Quiz! Can you name every club Eric Cantona scored against in the Premier League?

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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He plays football regularly, both on grass and artificial surfaces, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.


He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.