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Cantona’s Prostitute Apology

The evening of January 25h 1995 was one which could have seen United’s more recent history shaped in a totally different way to how we know it. Eric Cantona had been sent off against Crystal Palace and went on to kick and bunch one of their fans in the stands. “He’s really done it this time,” my dad said to me at breakfast the following day, but as a lad, I didn’t quite understand what the ramifications of Cantona’s behaviour might be.

Chairman Martin Edwards had been talking of banning Cantona from ever playing for the club again and he was facing time in prison. It was a disaster. Questions were raised over whether he could be the same player again if he did return.

His first match back was against Liverpool, of course, with the King seeking to rectify his position with the fans, after missing so many matches and United losing out on the title to Blackburn the season before. However, Old Trafford was awash with French flags, all desperate to see him playing for us again.

Cantona had initially fled to France, claiming he wouldn’t be returning to England again, before Sir Alex Ferguson flew after him and convinced him to return once he’d seen out his ban.

When he walked out on to our pitch, the fans singing his name, his collar upturned, his head held high, there was little doubt in our minds that he was out to prove a point. He assisted Nicky Butt for our first goal and scored our second, a penalty, to give us a 2-2 draw against our hated rivals.

It all could have been very different though…

Former FA executive director, David Davies, has revealed how the FA were ready to ban Cantona for life for the Selhurst Park incident, particularly after our forward’s ‘apology’ at his disciplinary hearing.

“God, I thought,” said Davies, anticipating what Cantona might say at the hearing. “Prepare for fireworks. I recalled a previous French FA hearing when Cantona smacked an official in the face. Anything was possible here. In perfectly good English, Eric delivered the most astonishing speech I’ve ever heard. ‘I would like to apologise to the chairman of the commission,’ Eric began. ‘I would like to apologise to Manchester United, Maurice Watkins and Alex Ferguson. I like to apologise to my teammates. I want to apologise to the FA. And I would like to apologise to the prostitute who shared my bed last night.’ Had I honestly heard that? At least two members of the commission certainly hadn’t grasped it. Cantona was taking the Mickey. He had to be. His apology to a non-existent prostitute was.”

Ooooh ahhh Cantona!

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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11 Comments

  1. BE$HER says:

    just love him without even seeing him play

  2. A MAN UNITED FAN says:

    how unreal is this man

    legend of a football

    but all round person
    this guy is a genius

  3. RedTone says:

    This man is United, proud, brilliant, the best…

  4. mickey mouse owen says:

    one word: legend.

  5. Man U pwns says:

    Haha he apologized to those he felt he needed to first. As he got down the list he was hinting increasing disdain and contempt, come last he was stating someone non-existent. Legend, all right. In soccer and in speech.

  6. katty says:

    i just watched “au revoir cantona” and i’ve only 1 thing to say…

    long live king eric

  7. Superdorz says:

    God I miss this man. What a legend!

  8. OTRed says:

    Lol, he should talk more often, he’s like another version of Mourinho, just without the twatiness.

  9. AlexOfMancunia says:

    This man is an absolute hero.

    Long Live King Eric!

  10. Red-Manc says:

    what a friend we have in jesus, and his name is Cantona
    Oohh Ahhhh Cantona!

    The King 7

  11. supermanc123 says:

    Classic CANTONA. Nuff said.

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