Eric Cantona’s Kung Fu Kick

On the 25th January 1995 Manchester United
travelled to Crystal Palace, sat second in the Premier
League table, two points behind Blackburn Rovers. United had won the league in both of the
previous two seasons, in large part because of their talismanic French striker, Eric Cantona
. Cantona had signed from Leeds United in 1992
with a reputation as a trouble maker, but barring a
few highly questionable challenges his contributions to United both on the pitch and off had been
hugely positive. One of those challenges earned him a red-card
at Selhurst Park that infamous evening. Sir Alex Ferguson laid some blame at the door
of referee Alan Wilkie , saying his “inability to stamp
out the disgraceful tackles from Crystal Palace’s two central defenders made subsequent trouble
unavoidable.” Cantona decided to stamp it out himself, kicking
Palace centre-half Richard Shaw with enough ferocity to merit a red card. As he walked off down the touchline, Palace
fans shouted at him—nothing unusual in that. But suddenly, those listening on the radio
heard commentator Jonathan Pierce say “Goodness me,
he’s punched a fan.” Matthew Simmons, the Palace supporter in question,
later claimed he had said “Off! Off! Off! It’s an early bath for you, Mr Cantona!” but
much stronger language than that was alleged. Simmons’ seat was 11 rows back from the spot
at which he stood when Cantona engaged him. The
Frenchman’s flying kick was followed by a flurry of blows. Then Palace defender Iain Dowie said “I remember
this fella running right from the top all the way
down, abused him, and all of a sudden he’s in there trading a couple of blows. I can almost see it to
this day, when he jumps in, and then stood up to land another punch.” Afterwards Ferguson and United stood by Cantona,
but suspended him for the rest of the season— four months of football. That was not enough for the FA, who extended
the ban through to the end of September, 1995. When Criminal charges were brought against
him, the initial sentencing of two weeks in jail was
reduced to 120 hours of community service. It was at this point that, in speaking to
the press, Cantona said “When the seagulls follow the
trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown
into the sea.” The controversy was not quite over. In the summer of 1995, Cantona was photographed
playing in an informal friendly with the youth team—so
informal it consisted of three thirds, lasted 73 minutes
and featured 16 substitutions as Simon Burnton of the Guardian wrote in 2015—and the FA
looked as though they might extend the ban. Cantona threatened to retire from football
at this point. Ferguson hopped on a plane to Paris, met
with him in a closed restaurant and talked him out of it. In October 1995, he returned to action for
United, scoring from the spot in a two-all draw with
Liverpool. Many years later, he described the incident
as his best moment in football.​ He said, “When I did the kung fu kick on the
hooligan, because these kind of people don’t have to be
at the game … it’s like a dream for some, you know sometimes to kick these kind of people. So I did it
for them. So they are happy. It’s a kind of freedom for them.”

100 thoughts on “Eric Cantona’s Kung Fu Kick

  1. Tears in my eyes what a man Cantona was the best Hardman in football ( followed by Roy keane) he made the premier league to what it is today #ggmu

  2. Some fans need a kicking so I'm totally with cantona. I bet he didn't care about the ban. He was satisfied lol

  3. do fenerbahce at the season 2013/14 champions Ersun Yanal( the coach at fenerbahce at that time) tactics explained.

  4. That is why I like king Eric and Ibra. They say what we can only think because we are afraid of society. Two famous philosophers by the names of Youngbloodz and Li'l Jon said: "Don't start no shit, it won't be no shit" x

  5. He was a VERY, VERY dirty player and a cry baby. He currently looks like a depressed neanderthal where is he is now, relegated to the sad after dinner speaker circuit and crap adverts for over-rated beer.

  6. He left us too soon. That idiot Seamus O'brien almost ruined us. Wish he would come back to the Cosmos as Director

  7. Not going to mention Paul Nixon then? The Palace fan who was murdered by Man United fans a year later as retribution at the FA Cup Semi-Final and the real reason why Man United fans taunt Palace fans with Cantona masks at Selhurst Park every year? Cuntana is a disgrace.

  8. Yea sure, I like Zlatan so much that I want him to kick me in tje fucking face. It's a sort of "freedom" as Cantona sayed.

  9. i thought it was because the hooligan insulted Cantona's mom and then he lashed out just like Zidane did

  10. Cantona is a stupid fucking douchebag. You kick a fan who paid to see the match like a bloody savage, and then you take pride in it. It doesent matter what that guy shouted at him, violence is not the answer. i lose a little faith in humanity everytime I see someone defend that arogant bastard.

  11. Well, after watching at least a dozen of your videos within an hour, You guys have earned yourself a subscriber.. Keep up the good work.. Cheers!

  12. Did you see the game? I did. EC was kicked non stop from the first whistle. The ref gave gave him no protection. EC finally lost his cool. One of the offenders was a guy called Southgate. The other was a guy called Shaw. So, for once, I agree with AF. The hooligan in question was not 11 rows back, but had run down to the front. The Kung fu kick was a wonder to see. And Eric should have been applauded for show the county how to deal with the hooligan problem.

  13. 'When the seagulls follow the troller it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea' – Cantona then

    'When you don't have pants on you have to find a shirt to get fully dressed' – Wenger today

    Frenchmen and their ridiculous metaphors. Thank you for being you!

  14. Has anyone actually shown the kicked fan was infact a "hooligan", or are we just to take the word of a cowardly footballer

  15. Has anyone actually shown the kicked fan was infact a "hooligan", or are we just to take the word of a cowardly footballer

  16. If a player Kung Fu kicked a racist I'd be a liar if I said I wouldn't feel a slight "relief"

  17. Shame on you.

    You completely gloss over the fact that Cantona, his behaviour, his attitude, his violence, led directly to the death of a Palace fan at the hands of United hooligans some matter of weeks later. No one has ever been bought to justice or held to account for the appalling death of Paul Nixon, least of all Eric fucking Cantona, the man who sparked the terrible chain of events that led to Paul Nixon's death, all because he couldn't handle the fact that he was being marked out of the game by the brilliant Richard Shaw.

    Shame on you for leaving such a big part of the story untold. Shame on you for creating your own pro-Cantona narrative.

  18. But why did he kick him? Do we know what the 'fan' said to him? I mean did I miss something on the video or it doesn't mention it

  19. Cantona took Utd to the next level, when he retired players like Keane, Scholes and Beckham were very young and yet to reach their potential. Eric punched above his weight and maybe if he played for Milan or Juventus with better experienced players he would be regarded as one of the greatest instead of Zidane. Zidane failed to take Juventus to the next level losing back to back champions league finals and only 2 Seria A Titles to show for it. Zidane was also a passenger at the 98 WC only turning up in the finals but made to be France’s saviour.

  20. I read somewhere that Cantona said the guy told em to go back to his country and other xenophobe slurs, that's why he kicked him. Can someone confirm this or is it just false?

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