It became one of the most iconic moments in Premier League history and with good reason.
When Manchester United’s Eric Cantona launched himself over the advertising hoardings at Selhurst Park and king-fu kicked Crystal Palace fan, Matthew Simmons, there were always going to be obvious and severe repercussions for the Frenchman.
Sent off after clashing with Palace’s Richard Shaw in the 1995 encounter, Cantona was making his way to the tunnel which, unlike most grounds, was placed behind one of the corner flags.
As he did so, Simmons said something, which Cantona has previously claimed was racist, and it prompted him to react as he did, earning himself a nine-month ban from the game, a two-week prison sentence later commuted to 120 hours community service and the loss of the captaincy of the French national side.
In a new documentary called ‘The United Way,’ rather than apologise for his actions, Cantona made a shocking claim.
“I have been insulted thousands of times and have never reacted, but sometimes you are fragile,” he said, cited by the Daily Mirror.
“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.”
Though such actions can never be condoned, the context of the incident makes them a little more understandable.