Is this for real, or are we falling under the spell of another piece of Eric’s creative magic
Eric Cantona. The name still rings down the terraces at Manchester United. Fans sing “On the seven days of Christmas” with the refrain “...and an Eric Cantona“. Don’t think you can get it right without training. Eric needs three stresses.
His mercurial career helped propel Manchester United ahead of their rivals. It also included memorable goals, “assists” (as we learned to call them), mystic press statements about seagulls and herrings [sardines actually, but see below for that] and a forced spell of community service. On field, he cultivated a collar-up strut that only little boys dared imitate. Even his warm-up routine was a work of art and worth the entry money.
He inevitably then chose a career with space for his ego and headed for the movies, even playing himself in Becoming Eric.
So is this for real?
Maybe. But the breaking story has an appropriate sense of fantasy about it. Eric has no managerial experience. Which is OK, because at present The New York Cosmos does not play in a league. In fact, they don’t even have a team. Marvellous. We await developments…
The sardines quote
The origins of the famous Cantona quote about trawlers and sardines were recently explained:
In 1995, Eric Cantona was at the height of his powers. But after being sent off in the game against Crystal Palace, he lost control of his emotions as he walked to the dressing room and launched a martial arts-style kick at a fan he alleged had verbally abused him. Sentenced to 100 hours’ community service for assault, Cantona’s actions made worldwide headlines. But his only comment to the press after his conviction was that one sentence.
“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea”
Many believed it was the work of a little known French philosopher. Others thought that Cantona had shown himself as a deep and enigmatic thinker. But Michael Kelly, the former head of security at Manchester United, has revealed in his book that the quotation had been assembled by a number of people including Cantona [and Kelly] in a London hotel room.