By Alex Netherton
Eric Cantona is the most influential footballer of the last 10 years. Unfortunately for a website with the comments enabled, this isn’t an opinion: it is indisputable fact.
Eric Cantona won five titles in six years. Being French , he had a year off. Being Cantona, he had a year off because he broke the fourth wall of football, in a valiant attempt to break the face of a particular vermin at Selhurst Park. Now, to anyone with any sense of justice , which cannot be separated from misanthropy, that’s better than winning a title.
Cantona brought justice and violent retribution to football in the most irrepressible and undeniably fair manner that football has seen. Football in the late 1980s and early 1990s in England had an accepted violent streak. Roy Keane could do this to Neil Pointon. Gordon Strachan could exist. Cantona has influenced what we get now by carrying this into the late nineties, but highlighted the failings in the modern footballer by just doing it so much better. Admire his blackout rage funks on YouTube, and compare it to the sullen self-pitying vengeance of David Beckham at the World Club Championships in 2000 or John Terry and Jamie Carragher in their whole lives.
I don’t want to be down on football, and life, all the time, but Cesc Fabregas is the only footballer in the Premier League who has taken his team from one era into another – the only worthwhile constant from the notoriously quiet arse end of the Invincible Highbury Gunners to the notoriously quiet posh seats (every seat) of the Emirates. Cesc is no stranger to the Footballers’ Arrogant Funk. How has he defined his rage at injustice and the existence of other people? He’s kicked a fan in the face. Hang on, that should read: He’s thrown pizza at an old bloke and gobbed at Brian Horton. Well done Cesc!
Of course Le Funk wasn’t just deserving of