Cantona says ‘I would have loved to have kicked him even harder’ over 1995 kung-fu kick

The date is January 25, 1995. It is Crystal Palace v Manchester United at Selhurst Park. And Eric Cantona has just kung-fu kicked Palace fan Matthew Simmonds.

The fallout was huge. Cantona was banned from football for a total of nine months, fined £30,000 and handed a sentence of 120 hours of community service after pleading guilty to assault.

There was also his infamous press conference following the incident, where he uttered the words: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”

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He would go on to return to play again for United until his retirement in 1997.

The Frenchman has rarely spoken about the incident since – but did touch upon the subject in the new film The United Way, which he co-wrote.

You can watch the trailer here.

‘I have one regret’ over kick’ – Cantona

In the film, Cantona says about the incident which could have ended his career (quotes via Daily Mail): “I have been insulted thousands of times and have never reacted, but sometimes you are fragile.

“I have one regret. I would have loved to have kicked him even harder.

“I was banned for nine months. They wanted me to be an example.”

Cantona also discussed his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, who managed the Frenchman throughout his time at United.

He spoke about the time he almost left United after it was found that he played in a friendly match during his suspension, but was supported by his manager.

He explained: “It was just a friendly game, but the journalist was on top of a tree outside and he took a picture. Unfortunately he didn’t fall.

“The next day it was in the paper and the FA wanted to ban me even more.

“The manager found the right words like always. And I loved him and respected him. Like a father.

“When a manager does something like this to his player, the player will give his life to the manager, to the club and to the fans.”

Current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and former players David Beckham, Teddy Sheringham, and Bryan Robson also feature in the film.

It also features an interview with former United manager Tommy Docherty, who sadly passed away in December at the age of 92.

The United Way is set to be released on May 10.

Featured Image Credit: Getty