Cantona fails to cash in on his 'revolution'

Eric Cantona, previously famous for football and sardines, yesterday helped to spawn a giant red herring.

In an interview in October, Cantona called for "millions" of people to withdraw their money from banks, to "bring down the system". The idea developed into an international buzz on the internet calling for a "bloodless revolution" on December 7.

And so the day came. What happened? Not very much.

Cantona, now a successful film actor, had forewarned a bank in a small town in northern France that he intended to withdraw "a sum greater than €1,500" yesterday. Cantona was filming nearby -- a movie about bank robbers -- but did not turn up to claim his money.

Earlier, a group of costumed French political activists, one of them dressed up as Eric Cantona and the rest as cartoon bank robbers, withdrew a few hundred euros from a bank in Paris.

Another internet buzz pointed out that Cantona's wife, the actress Rachida Brakni, had often appeared in advertisements on French TV to promote the bank, Crédit Lyonnais.

Despite 34,000 promises given to sites promoting a "bloodless revolution", banks across Europe said there had been no noticeable increase in cash withdrawals or account closures.