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Friday 28 October 2016

Eric Cantona kung-fu kick: Where are they now?

Published 25/01/2016 | 11:00

Man Utd' s Eric Cantona jumps into the crowd with his infamous Kung- Fu kick on a Palace supporter after being sent- off
Man Utd' s Eric Cantona jumps into the crowd with his infamous Kung- Fu kick on a Palace supporter after being sent- off

What happened to the key players in Eric Cantona's attack on a fan in 1995?

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Eric Cantona

Retired from football at 30 at the end of the 1996-97 season, citing a desire to become an actor. Quickly became captain of the French national beach football team instead.

Later said he wondered if he had bowed out too early: "When you quit football it is not easy, your life becomes difficult. I should know because sometimes I feel I quit too young. I loved the game but I no longer had the passion to go to bed early, not to go out with my friends, not to drink, and not to do a lot of other things, the things I like in life."

Has appeared in and directed a number of films, most notably co-starring in Ken Loach's Looking For Eric in 2009. Still yet to satisfactorily explain sardines-trawler-seagulls metaphor.

Matthew Simmons

The man Cantona attacked, 20 years old at the time, was alleged to have told Cantona to "f*** off back to France". His story was that he had merely shouted "Off! Off! Off! It's an early bath for you, Mr Cantona!"

After the initial blitz of post-kick publicity Simmons faded from the public eye. This was a time before Celebrity Big Brother, you see.

Has spoken of losing his job and becoming estranged from members of his family during the fall-out from the incident. Was found guilty of actual bodily harm during a fracas at a youth football match in 2011 and was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years, plus 150 hours of community service.

Richard Shaw

Crystal Palace defender who Cantona lashed out at, leading to his red card. Palace team-mate John Salako has said Cantona was wound up by Shaw's close attention during the game: "Richard is the best man marker ever.

He had a job to do on Eric and he did it so well Eric got so frustrated he literally booted Shawsy up the arse. Eric lost the plot."

Shaw was relegated with Palace at the end of the 1994-95 season, but did win player of the year award. Joined Coventry in November 1995 and made more than 300 appearances for the club before finishing his playing career at Millwall.

Moved onto coaching staff at Millwall before joining Coventry as assistant to former Palace team-mate Andy Thorn. Now a youth coach back at Crystal Palace.

Norman Davies

Manchester United's kitman was the man tasked with the challenging job of dragging Cantona into the dressing room. Earned the nickname "Vaseline" from the United players for his failed attempt to grab hold of the Frenchman as he lost his temper and threw himself at Simmons.

Once back in the dressing room, Davies said Cantona "...was furious. He wanted to go out again. I locked the door and told him 'if you want to go back on the pitch you'll have to go over my body and break the door down'."

Once Cantona had calmed down, Davies made him a cup of tea. The kitman was in charge of United's matchday gear for 23 years and widely adored at the club. Passed away in 2010, Sir Alex Ferguson said: "Manchester United has lost one of its biggest fans and I have lost a dear friend."

Paul Ince

Also attracted the attention of the police for his role in the skirmish with Simmons, but was found not guilty of throwing any punches. 1994-95 was to be Ince's last season at Old Trafford, he was sold to Internazionale for £7.5m at the end of the campaign.

Thrived in Italy, but his new club could only manager seventh then third place finishes in Serie A, so Ince returned to England in 1997 with Liverpool. Two years of Spice Boy shenanigans and declining returns saw him sold to Middlesbrough from £1m.

Saw out his playing days at Wolves before moving into management, when an unfortunate camera captured the extend of his tactical innovation during his time in charge of Blackburn. Has been out of work since leaving Blackpool in January 2014.

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