I've been to see La Wiki... You must admit, it's been a while. And I needed her advice about this one - "Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona (born 24 May 1966), a French former footie player of the late 1980s and 1990s.
He ended his professional footballing career at Manchester United, and is often regarded as having played a major talismanic role in the revival of the team as a footballing powerhouse and he enjoys iconic status at the club. In 2001, he was voted their player of the century, and to this day United fans refer to him as "King Eric".
Following his retirement from football, he took up a career in cinema and had a cameo role in the 1998 film Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett", one of la Fhina's favourite actresses.
Many of Fhina's friends met Eric, (and found him to be a very gracious and decent chap), when they acted as Tudor Mob extras in the crowd scenes where Elizabeth comes out to see the French King, her suitor, sailing in her royal barge along the river Thames, which was actually filmed around Alnwick Castle, also famous for the Harry Potter films...
At a presser, Cantona gave what is perhaps his most famous quotation. Referring to how journos would monitor his behaviour, Cantona said, in a slow and deliberate manner:
|“||When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown in to the sea.||”|
In 1998, the Football League, as part of its centenary season celebrations, included Cantona on its list of 100 League Legends.
In 2007, he performed a spoken-word role on an album, which translates as, Mechanic of the Heart, by French rock band Dionysos.
In 2009, he featured in an British television advert for a new model of the Renault Laguna. Fhina used to have a wonderful, racing green, Renault Laguna, and actually cried when it was man-handled onto the back of the beautifully gargantuan, scrap-dealer's truck when it finally gasped its last...And I just watched Cantona a couple of weeks ago on our, sort of, equivalent to Jay Leno's show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross...
I had actually collected all these thoughts and pictures months ago, so it was serendipitous, (I do love that word), that 'Ooh, aah, Cantona' (as they used to chant on the footie terraces) was on Wossie's show... and that he had been recently feted at the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France.
Apparently the new film that Cantona is in, Looking for Eric, is directed by the fabulous Ken Loach, and concerns a Mancunian postie, Eric Bishop, who is depressed and disenchanted with his lot in life, and envisions Cantona, his footballing idol, as his life-coach...
Loach's comedy-drama, which has proved a commercially appealing picture from a director better known for gritty social realism — Remember 'Kes'? - will bring Cantona to the attention of new audiences, perhaps even in America, where you might never have heard of this legend...
"He is both athlete and icon, a football philosopher as famed for his cryptic pronouncements as for his stunning goals.
"Looking for Eric" plays on that reputation to comic effect. Cantona is the idol of central character Eric Bishop (British actor Steve Evets), a middle-aged Manchester mailman who pulls himself out of depression through imagined conversations with his hero. Cantona appears in Eric's bedroom for motivational chats, dispensing nuggets of wisdom such as, "He who is afraid to throw the dice will never throw a six."
"We live in a world of image," Cantona said. "I've tried to be just myself — which is an image also."
It's a satisfyingly cryptic answer from a man who became a favorite at Manchester United in the 1990s. He helped the team win four league titles in five years but also gained a reputation for volatility (Fhina says, for volatility, read passion!), and was suspended for nine months after landing a flying kick on a fan who heckled him". (Some snippets of text borrowed from TheInsider.com)
What a life-coach he would be, non?!