|Full name||William Prunier|
|Date of birth||14 August 1967|
|Place of birth||Montreuil, France|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|1995–1996||→ Manchester United (loan)||2||(0)|
|1996||→ Copenhagen (loan)||11||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Prunier spent most of his playing days in France, primarily with Auxerre where he spent nine years, but also played for clubs in England, Denmark, Scotland, Italy, Belgium and Qatar, where he finished his career. He also represented France, gaining his only cap in 1992.
Prunier was a product of a famous AJ Auxerre youth team which also included Eric Cantona, Basile Boli, Pascal Vahirua and Daniel Dutuel, all under the tutelage of Guy Roux. After spending many years at Auxerre, he later moved on to Olympique Marseille and FC Girondins de Bordeaux. He also earned 1 cap for France in August 1992, a 2-0 loss to Brazil.
In the 1995-96 season, Prunier had a fleeting and forgettable tenure at Manchester United. Having bought out his contract with Bordeaux, he joined the Old Trafford club on a trial basis where he was reunited with Cantona. At the time, the manager Alex Ferguson had been looking for a continental-style defender with good passing skills. However, his arrival coincided with an injury crisis that saw the three first-choice centre-backs Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and David May all unavailable. Prunier was hastily drafted into the first team even though Ferguson had originally intended to use him in reserve team matches only during his trial.
Prunier made his Manchester United debut against Queens Park Rangers on 30 December 1995 partnering Gary Neville in defence. He generally impressed in the match helping set up a goal for Andy Cole and hitting a powerful shot against the bar. His second game against Tottenham Hotspur on 1 January 1996, however, was a disaster for him and the club. With Peter Schmeichel injured during the game and Denis Irwin unavailable, he was part of a makeshift defence which conceded 4 goals in a humiliating loss. Prunier has ever since been made something of a scapegoat for the defeat, culminating in his being voted the sixth worst Manchester United footballer of all time. Despite the defeat, Ferguson offered him an extended trial, but Prunier declined and decided he would look elsewhere.
After leaving Manchester United, Prunier moved on to FC København in Denmark and also had spells at Napoli in Italy and K.V. Kortrijk in Belgium before returning to France with Toulouse FC where he won the Ligue 2 title in 2003. After a brief spell in the United Arab Emirates, he retired from football in 2004 and became a coach at AS Cannes. On 4 February 2007, he appeared on Sky Sports giving an intro and his point of view on the 4-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in 1996.
- Histoire de l'AJ Auxerre, William PRUNIER
- Alan Nixon (1 January 1996). "Prunier offers United a missing cutting edge". The Independent. Retrieved 5 November 2007.[dead link]
- Hamilton, Fiona. The Times (London) http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article2025420.ece
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- Nixon, Alan (3 January 1996). "Prunier quits United". The Independent. Retrieved 13 August 2014.