On This Day: Eric, 1995
In the mid-90s, there was literally no doubt as to the identity of the coolest man in the world. Style, substance, attitude and presence; what more could you possibly want?
I’ve been lucky enough to have my life significantly enhanced by no small amount of reflected glory – I’ve seen United win leagues and cups playing outrageously good football, and I’ve seen them clinch an unprecedented treble with two goals in injury time. But no single moment means as much, nor gave me as much naches, as Eric Cantona leaping into a leather jacket on 25 January 1995.
United supporters are a critical bunch. Plenty of our heroes both on and off the pitch have their detractors, and Eric’s actions cost us a league title. But no one ever cared because football isn’t about that and neither is life; the point is to be true to yourself whatever the consequences. You might call it glory.
Eric being Eric, another one arrived anyway by way of spectacular and glorious fuck-you, but it wasn’t crucial – he conceptualised a version of virtue measured in joy, not trophies. Though severely was that fuck-you deserved. Suddenly everyone was a moralising martial arts expert, able to differentiate between kung-fu, karate, muay thai and savate, the shrillness of the outrage reinforcing the point: never hold back, you are who you are.
Happy Eric Day, and good yomtov.
Photo courtesy of Well Offside