Leeds United - the week that was: Eric Cantona joins Manchester United, Alan Smith bags on unforgettable debut against Liverpool

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Leeds United's Eric Cantona does the unthinkable, Alan Smith scores on his Whites debut at Anfield and academy product Fabian Delph makes his England bow - we delve into this week in Leeds United's history.

November 12, 1992 - Eric Cantona does the unthinkable

Eric Cantona signs for Manchester United from arch-rivals Leeds United.

Eric Cantona signs for Manchester United from arch-rivals Leeds United.

When Eric Cantona arrived at Leeds United on February 8, 1992 not many could have envisaged the impact the Frenchman would go on to make in English football.

Cantona helped Howard Wilkinson's men to the First Division title making 15 appearances as a handy and impactful substitute as Leeds pipped their arch-rivals to the league trophy that summer.

Nine months later though he would be a Manchester United player.

The Red Devils paid £1.2million for his services with United netting a slight profit from the £900,000 they handed over to top flight French side Nimes for his playing rights. Then United chairman Bill Fotherby, as the story goes, made a phone call to the Old Trafford club over the availability of full-back Denis Irwin.

Just days later Cantona was being unveiled as a Manchester United player - how quite the transfer came to be has been muddled in history.

Reports suggest he had struggled to fully integrate into the changing room at Elland Road. Leeds had agreed to pay Cantona £500,000 if he stayed beyond a certain time frame, and with the clock ticking and Leeds’ financial situation far from flourishing, it was decided that a transfer across the Pennines made a lot of sense.

“I rang United about Denis Irwin, who had been at Leeds as a young boy,” Fotherby later told The Independent.

“Martin Edwards said there was no chance but I asked him to at least speak to Alex (Ferguson). Normally, I wouldn’t have expected him to ring back. This time he did, offering me a different player I knew Howard would not be interested in.

“It was then he asked about Eric. I said absolutely no way and that it was impossible. But obviously I knew what Howard felt about him, and I knew this additional payment was due.

“As I had done before, Martin asked if I would talk to Howard.

“On that particular day Howard was out house-hunting in Leeds, so the only person I actually spoke to was (coach) Mick Hennigan. I just said ‘I can’t believe it. Guess what has come right out of the blue. Howard will absolutely love it’. I left it a couple of hours, rang Martin back and said ‘I can’t believe this but Howard is willing to let the boy go’.”

The Frenchman went on to win four Premier League titles in the next five seasons under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson in the red half of Manchester - hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing.

November 14, 1998 - Alan Smith makes dramatic debut at Anfield

A 14-minute cameo that would change Alan Smith's career forever.

The 18-year-old Leeds lad had a debut to remember as he stepped off the bench in place of Clyde Wijnhard to help turn the Premiership clash at Anfield on its head.

Smith, who had been on the pitch just three minutes, bagged with his first touch of the game before linking up with fellow forward Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who scored twice in five minutes in the closing stages to mark a historic win on Merseyside.

The Thorp Arch academy graduate would go on to pin down a regular starting spot for the Whites during his six-year spell at the club before making the move to Manchester United amid the club's financial crisis in 2004 following Premier League relegation.

November 14, 2002 - Smith puts Hapoel to the sword

United made the trip for the second leg of their UEFA Cup tie with Hapoel Tel Aviv with a slender lead after winger Harry Kewell had bagged eight minutes from time at Elland Road two weeks prior.

The game was held in Florence amid security fears in Israel and Alan Smith travelled following a public condemnation from Hapeol for his behaviour during the opening game of the tie.

Smith would have the final laugh though as injury hit Leeds ran out 4-1 winners in the second leg with the Leeds-born striker bagging all four goals.

"I knew some of their players had been having a go at me so I would have to keep a clear head," Smith, who sought-out a meeting with Peter Ridsdale in the build-up, said following the game.

"I wanted to make sure that, if something did happen out there, I'd have the club's backing. It put my mind at ease and I could just go out there and enjoy it."

There would also be debuts for young defenders Matthew Kilgallon and Frazer Richardson as second-half substitutes on a enjoyable evening in Italy for the Whites.

November 18, 2008 - Delph makes England under-21s debut

Leeds United midfielder Fabian Delph made his England under-21s debut at Bramall Lane in a 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic. Delph, who came through the academy ranks, left the club in 2009 for Premier League side Aston Villa.

The Bradford-born 28-year-old returned to Elland Road briefly on loan from Villa in 2012 but made just 56 appearances for the club before featuring for England in their final warm-up game for last summer's World Cup in LS11.

“I look back on them fondly,” he said following the friendly. “I only played a season here and that was one of my regrets. I wish I’d played longer here but the circumstances at the time, the club needed to get some money.

“The plan was for me to go and then they buy back the training ground. I don’t think that happened but that’s what was in my mind and that’s what the case was at the time.

“My time here was fantastic. I came here at 10, 11 years old and the club gave me the opportunity to play. If it wasn’t for Leeds United I wouldn’t be where I am today.”