Worst XI: Meet the worst Frenchman to don the United red

Well, here I am once again taking you through another painful United memory. After meeting the Blind Venetian and a certain man who made less than 100 appearances in his career, I introduce you to the person widely considered to be worst Frenchman to ever pull on the famous red of United.

William Prunier forms one-half of our center back pairing (his partner will be revealed next week).

Joining on loan from Bordeaux, Prunier made an impressive start but like Massimo Taibi is remembered for what he did in the following games.


William came through the ranks at Auxerre before making over 200 appearances for the French side over 9 years. Short spells at French heavyweights Marseille and Bordeaux followed. His performances earned him a French cap.

Prunier joined Marseille just after they won the Champions League but jumped ship after a match fixing scandal brought on forced relegation to the second division. Prunier joined Bordeaux and won the UEFA Interoto Cup alongside a certain Zinedine Zidane.


William Prunier joined the club on a trial basis having brought out his contract at Bordeaux. His debut was a very memorable for the player. Partnering Gary Neville in an awkward center half partnership, Prunier excelled and shut out a QPR attack on the 30th of December. He assisted a goal and even had a powerful shot that clanged back off the bar. Fans looked at Prunier as an ideal backup defender to Steve Bruce and David May.

But it all changed two days later at White Hart Lane.


Even before starring in the debut at home, Ferguson advised caution and said that he would judge Prunier on his performance at Tottenham.

Two days after an impressive debut, it all changed for the Frenchman. United travelled to face the Spurs at the Lane on New Years’ Day. United ended up getting beat 4-1, it was incidentally United’s worst defeat in four years. The absence of Bruce and Schmeichel did not help. Prunier put in a disaster of a performance at centre-back and United played defen-sieve football.

This performance has seen his name pop up in a number of other Worst XI and Comedy XIs. Sir Alex in his second autobiography wrote:

Patrice Evra, in that high-pitched way, said to me one day: ‘Boss, did you have William Prunier?’

Ryan Giggs’ face dropped as he waited for the response.

‘Aye, we had him on trial once,’ I snapped.

‘On trial?’ Evra squeaked back. He was not going to let it drop. ‘How long?’

‘Two games.’

‘A two-game trial?’

‘Yes, and it was a disaster!’

That sums up Prunier’s time at United.


Prunier had a decent career before his time at United and a good one after leaving. He returned to his native France before securing a move to Copenhagen, another loan. He then spent time at Montpellier and Napoli before returning to the Britain with Hearts. The move to Hearts was another disaster as he failed to make even a single appearance. Prunier found stability at Toulouse. He made over 150 appearances there over 5 years before retiring in 2004.