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The Redemption of Eric Cantona: The Double Double of 1995-96 Part II

Cheer Up , Kevin Keegan

On course, for United to now go on to win the Double, having secured their place at Wembley, much depended on how Newcastle handled the pressures of the league run-in.And we got a very significant clue only a few days after the semi-finals, in one of the all-time great Premiership matches, on 3 April, 1996. This was a passionate end-to-end encounter in which the lead repeatedly changed hands before Liverpool finally beat Newcastle 4-3 with virtually the last kick of the match, from Stan Collymore. The Toons had been leading 3-2 with only 20 minutes to go, and it was no wonder that Kevin Keegan was seen slumped over Anfield’s advertising hoardings in despair at the end. ‘Kevin Keegan hangs his head, he’s devastated’, cried the commentator, knowing Newcastle had just thrown away one of their two games in hand, leaving United still at the top of the Premiership, three points clear. Mind you, with my capacity for pessimism over United I had a horrible fear at this point that Liverpool’s dramatic winner would be just the boost they’d need to overhaul United and win the league. Worse, as FA Cup Finalists the Double was now suddenly a possibility for them too. What a nightmarish thought.

To read this story in full, purchase Red Matters from Amazon.



  1. willierednut says:

    I wonder if Fergie will barter with Barton? ;)

  2. smartalex says:

    Maybe he’ll jump at Joey.

  3. willierednut says:

    Got those WMDs right here right here!

  4. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Just saw that piece on Strange that no one else has it.
    Seems even the Ginga-Ninja had his moments of prideful arrogance. Amazing how many tidbits and gems are coming out of the previously silent Paul!

  5. smartalex says:

    I’m playing the last episode season 3 right now.

  6. willierednut says:

    FletchTHEMAN – A moment of madness from the wee man. I always connected it to the Veron signing. We tried to accommodate Seba into the midfield and pissed off the ginger prince at the same time. A moment of weakness, but we’re all allowed one.


    I knew you’d get that lol. Essential viewing.

  7. DKB07 says:

    GHTT I don’t know if you’re reading this but David De Gea just tweeted Emily Jane’s video on Twitter, even he watches her!!/D_DeGea

  8. CedarsDevil says:

    I wonder who will be our hit player this season…….. Consistency will be expected from the old guard such as Vidic, Rio and co………. I am just wondering who will shine out for us over the course of the season. I do not buy into this second season syndrome crap so I am hoping the Little Pea will take off from where he left, Berba will as ever be class on the pitch and I do not give a shit if he scores them in fucking batches of 3′s or 5′s……… My money is on Rooney, 2 seasons ago he was excellent till his injury in March, last season he had a terrible start… My feeling is this will be the season when Rooney will unleash the beast in him over the course of the whole season and in turn along with Hernandez scare the living day lights out of PL defenders

  9. Costas says:

    Line up:

    De Gea; Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra; Nani, Cleverley, Anderson, Young; Rooney, Welbeck

    Berba can never start a game against Barca, lol.

  10. King Eric says:

    Cedars. Hello mate. I think Vidic will be as solid as ever. His first pre season for two years. Evra will be back to his best after the world cup debacle of last year summer and his loss of form. Rooney will be on fire. He looks sharp as fuck and appears to have put all the shit behind him. Also said the same of Hernandez. He won’t suffer second season syndrome. Yes defenders will take more notice of him but he has the pace and movement to lose them in a split second. May not see him till September or so though.

    Saw De Gea being interviewed. Seems a decent lad. Said its amazing to be here. Said Hernandez is incredible and helps him out all the time.

  11. The Fly says:

    De Gea has stated he intends to learn English immediately which I think is great news. But in the mean time I suppose it’s good he can chat with Chicharito.

  12. CedarsDevil says:

    King Eric

    I will have a drink to that thought my friend. I cannot bloody wait for the season to start, its been a dreadful wait……… Hopefully kick starting the campaign having put them scum bitters in their place first

  13. King Eric says:

    Costas. Hello mate. Cleverley and Anderson against Barca? A big test and chance to prove themselves tonight.

  14. King Eric says:

    Cedars. Oh cannot wait for it to start. Losing next week is not an option. Just seen a video of uniteds training sessions and meulensteen and strudwick has got them doing some good stuff. All possession football and one touch and shitloads of combinations. Rooney looks top drawer in that video.

  15. StatesideAussie says:

    Giles … thanks for the wonderful post. I like the way you add context of what was occurring in the wider world around those times. The anecdote about Barwick was interesting.

    But what really struck a chord with me was the closing description of Cantona and his role within the team … Eric Cantona “had such a tactical grip over the team from his central position it was almost like having a second manager, on the pitch. That was part of his educational role too, showing the younger players by example how to make use of space, how to offer angles, when to quicken the tempo, when to slow it down, when to hold back, when to push forward, when to get under the keeper’s nose, when to hang back at the edge of the area.”

    For mine, that is why I am hoping SAF will be able to bring in a player of the caliber of Sneijder or De Rossi or someone like that — not just because such a player would be a great asset by himself, but because our youngsters can only benefit from having someone like that leading by example on the field. We’ve still got Giggs for the next year, and Fletcher sets a fine example as well, but bringing these guys through will be a process over several years. It’s easy, when looking back over the years from a distance, to believe that Giggs, Scholes and the other “kids” just burst onto the scene and did it all themselves without any help. Thanks for reminding us there was more to it than that.

  16. StatesideAussie says:

    Gee … Berbatov not starting today? Bet he comes on from the bench.

  17. smartalex says:

    Is it too late to take that bet?


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