VAR Reviews Eric Cantona’s Kung-Fu Kick: It’s Taken 25 Years To Make Up Its Mind
King Eric saw red and launched himself studs-first into a Crystal Palace fan 25 years ago today - but how would the world react if that famous kick happened today?
Cantona was the Premier League's biggest star in 1995 - and he played for the country's best team in Manchester United. (Yes, it was a while back.)
So the French forward fly-kicking an abusive fan after being sent off caused media meltdown.
Cantona got an eight-month ban, then unleashed his most famous quote: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."
Of course, Eric fronted up and said that piece of insanity out loud to the press. He didn't just fire off a tweet, mainly because Twitter didn't exist. We didn't even have a crumb of Instagram.
The internet was a slow, empty husk with zero social media. Simpler times! But what if Cantona's kung-fu kick happened in the here and now of 2020?
Gets VAR aid
Before he's even left the pitch, VAR reviews the red card, giving Cantona time to take out six more fans and drop-kick Kayla the Eagle out of mid-air. (He's reintroduced after it's proved a Palace armpit was offside 17 phases of play before the sending off.)
Causes Twitter lunacy
Manchester United super-fan creates detailed, 47-message thread on Twitter explaining exactly why Cantona did it, plus a conspiracy theory to debunk it all. Nobody makes it past tweet five.
Vince McMahon pounces to sign Cantona, just as he once captured a banned Mike Tyson. Eric debuts as masked wrestler 'Red Mist', putting the boot to Brock Lesnar before revealing his identity to set up a cage rematch at WrestleMania 36.
Gets the odds
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Paddy Power create a market on what next for Cantona: Never play for United again 8/1. Sent to prison where he sets up his own football team 25/1. Sign for Palace 50/1. Join UFC 75/1. Fight fan in charity boxing match 100/1. Change his name to 'Bruce Lee' Cantona 150/1.
Cantona gets cast in Kung Fu Panda 4 as an arrogant French rooster and ropes in teammate David Beckham to voice a shy, handsome stallion. Gary 'goalgasm' Neville is still awaiting a phone call.
Provokes the pundits
Gary Lineker gets in early with one of his dad-joke puns, Gary Neville blames Ed Woodward for it all, while Graeme Souness weirdly thinks it's all Paul Pogba's fault.
Cancels Randy Orton
The attack becomes 2020's biggest meme as a fly-kicking Cantona is superimposed on to every video from building demolitions to big Shaq stacking it. Sorry, Randy, the RKO era is finally over.
Gets pied off
Manchester bakery announces they will create food in honour of the moment: Cantona Cakes with the attack iced on, spicy pies that "have a kick" and are filled with Kung Pao Chicken. Delicious. Possibly.
Pals up with Conor
#CantonaChallenge is trending as MMA stars show off their own high-risk kicks. Conor McGregor subsequently offers to train Eric in MMA. Cantona accepts, Dillon Danis offers to fight him.
Causes Shreeves breakdown
Sky Sports track down the fan Cantona attacked and interview him at home. Geoff Shreeves asks him to recreate the moment. Shreeves tears both his ACLs trying to replicate the kick.
Makes a millionaire
A Cantona Kick website is quickly created, selling themed merchandise: T-shirts, toy figures, wristbands, toothbrushes, etc. The 14-year-old behind it becomes a millionaire and is now our boss.
Gets back ASAP
In the year of our lord 2020, the Prem isn't banning their biggest star for eight months - not when he was provoked by xenophobic insults. Cantona gets a two-month ban, during which time he must wear a purple suit and promote Cadbury in Qatar.