Somerset

Eric Cantona backs Bath City fans' buyout bid

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Media captionEric Cantona says the buyout is "great news"

Eric Cantona has backed a community buyout scheme by fans of cash-strapped Bath City Football Club.

Supporters of the National League South side are hoping to raise between £750,000 and £1.25m to buy the club and run it as a community-owned asset.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched alongside a scheme that allows fans to buy shares in Bath City.

The ex-Manchester United striker said it was a "great club" and it was "great news" fans were going to buy it out.

The Big Bath City Bid (BBCB) was launched in June, backed by film director and Bath City supporter Ken Loach.

'Don't be scared'

French footballer-turned-actor Cantona formed a friendship with Loach, who lives in Bath, after appearing as himself in the director's 2009 film Looking for Eric.

Cantona, who won four Premier League titles with Manchester United, also visited Twerton Park in 2009.

In his video message to supporters, he said he would be "buying a share" in the club himself and called on fans to "buy shares" too.

"It's a big challenge to raise the money but don't be scared," he said.

"It's a great club - I saw it for myself - now we can make it even greater."

Image caption Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson has shown his support for the community buyout by buying shares in the club

Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson has already shown his support for the community buyout by buying shares in the club.

A BBCB spokesman, said they were "delighted" the football legend had become the "latest high profile figure" to support the Big Bath City Bid.

If the campaign is successful, a binding offer will be made towards the end of the fundraising period.

Bath City FC said it was broadly supportive of BBCB's aims, but remains open to all options.

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