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16 Years Later, Legend of Eric Cantona’s Kung-Fu Kick Lives On

In a BBC interview last week with Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, here’s what the Frenchman said about his infamous kung-fu kick against a Crystal Palace supporter…

“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 the fans, so they are happy. It’s a kind of freedom for them. They [still] speak about that because maybe they felt it, because they felt something special physically – maybe it was a different feeling.

“It’s a great feeling, but different. I have seen so many players scoring goals, they know this kind of feeling.

“This one – a player jumping and kicking a hooligan – it’s not the kind of thing you see every day.”

Scroll down to see a video of Cantona flying through mid-air to deliver the kung-fu kick:

That kung fu kick was like a dream, ‘eh? More like “Death From Above” (as evidenced in the above new T-shirt from Studs Up Football Club, showing Cantona mid-air). Well, in the press conference that was called later, Cantona put his spin on the kung-fu kick by stating perhaps his most famous quote ever: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.” And then he walked out.

Cantona was later sentenced to 120 hours of community service for his kung-fu attack on the Crystal Palace fan. But the memory of that incident, which happened 16 years ago, still lives on. Nowadays Cantona is the director of football at the New York Cosmos.

The Death From Above T-shirt, which captures the infamous kung-fu kick, is available from Studs Up Football Club, the purveyors of fine, top quality football fashion T-shirts. The design is printed on a super soft 100% cotton tee. Custom SUFC hem and collar tags. This is definitely a conversation starter as well as a trendy shirt to wear that will be appreciated by die-hard football fans.

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  1. Dave C

    March 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I liked Cantona as a player (apart from the frequent temper tantrums that he finally grew out of after the kicking incident), but I always thought kung-fu kicking the fan was a sissy move.

    The guy might have deserved it, but to attack someone in a situation where you KNOW they won’t have the opportunity to retaliate is pretty soft. I wonder if Cantona would have been such a tough guy if it was a 1 v 1 situation without a bunch of stewards to wade in and break it up?

    • Marc Shepherd

      March 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      That guy, Matthew Simmons,wasn’t such a tough guy the next time United played Palace in the FA Cup. He was killed when the two sets of hooligans kicked it off in a pub.

  2. The Truth

    March 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    He was comparing the media to seagulls. They wanted a story from Cantona, the trawler, but he did not want to give them one.

  3. jose

    March 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

    gaffer, i never understood that sea gulls comment by cantona, i always thought he was drunk when he said that, lol.

  4. warren

    March 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Word of advice, Gaffer: NEVER use the word “trendy” if you’re trying to promote something!

    • The Gaffer

      March 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Warren, looks trendy to me.

      The Gaffer

  5. Joe

    March 12, 2011 at 8:36 am

    The way this man defends his actions simply by throwing in the buzz word “hooligan” is disgusting. It’s a shame that the New York Cosmos decided to associate themselves with this thug.

    • King Eric

      March 12, 2011 at 11:26 am

      obviously you know nothing about it, so i’d do a little research first before jumping to such bold conclusions. just like zidane’s head butt, they were both seriously abused verbally and snapped, obviously both mistakes as they’ll admit, but i think both the “hooligan” and marco got a small portion of what they deserved. maybe you should think, hmmm must have been pretty bad if they were to react in such a manner. both zidane and cantona paid much larger prices for their actions. it’s not in eric’s character to regret things and he simply admitted that and moved on.

      the cosmos couldn’t have chosen a better image for the rebirth of their club by electing pele as their honorary president and cantona as their director of soccer. both are football icons and legends. cheers for the post gaffer, i already had the interview saved, but didn’t know about the new shirt.

  6. Richard the Manc

    March 12, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I’ve had the EPL app since it’s inception but now it just seems as a teaser to news on your site. An iPhone compatible page is one of the reasons to use an app in the first place and you’ve taken that away with the launch of EPL Pro. I’m not sure that was the best idea. I don’t go to sites such as sky or sports illustrated soccer on my iPhone because of the compatibility issues. I’m sure the money is a good thing but, in the long-term, I’m not sure this is the best way to go and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I might be late to this arguement but I just thought I should get my two cents in.

    • The Gaffer

      March 12, 2011 at 8:01 am

      Richard, thanks for the feedback. You’re the first to make this comment. I understand where you’re coming from because I have an iPhone and I often use the EPL Talk iPhone app, too. In each article on the iPhone app, there’s a link to click through to the website to read the entire contents on your iPhone. While the site isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s pretty readable on the iPhone when pinching the screen.

      The other option is to download one of the free RSS reader apps that are available on the iPhone. And when you become a member of EPL Talk Pro, you’ll receive a private RSS feed that will display the entire contents. More info at

      The Gaffer

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