THE organiser of an event featuring Eric Cantona has defended the show after football fans branded it “poor” and “disorganised”.

Disappointed ticket-holders have demanded refunds following Tuesday night’s event at the BIC.

They complained the Manchester United legend was only on stage for 45 minutes and was preceded by an “inappropriate” comedian and an unadvertised auction of memorabilia.

The event was organised by Terry Baker, of Christchurch-based A1 Sporting Speakers.

He said it had followed the “standard format” of other shows of its ilk.

“I don’t see why so much fuss was made about it. These events go on up and down the country every day of the week – the standard format is comedian, auction, celebrity.

“We had a standing ovation from the crowd when Eric came on stage. Afterwards, I timed his appearance on the VT, and it was 54 minutes. The press release about the event said the interview would be an hour.

“We can only ask a certain number of questions,” he continued. “There were 19 about his football career, and six about his film career and personal life.

“On the night, we didn’t hear any complaints apart from one about the comedian. People were saying it was a fantastic night, but since then we’ve had loads of people complaining, jumping on the bandwagon.”

Mr Baker said since Tuesday’s event, he had altered the format of the remaining shows in Manchester and London.

“Because of all the fuss, we took the auction off Wednesday night’s show and held it in the foyer instead. We also changed the comedian.”

He apologised that Cantona did not appear on stage until 9pm at the BIC, but said this was “beyond our control”.

“Apparently the tickets said 7.30pm, but the BIC insisted we start at 8pm,” he said.

He also defended the auction, saying it had raised £2,000 for the Willow Foundation.

“I’m resentful people saying we’re ripping them off – I thought they’d have loved to have seen Eric Cantona, but the event didn’t sell out very well. We lost a fortune that night.”