Lock up your seagulls. (c)Georges Biard
That Cantona bloke was alreet, but was he really that good? He might have skyrocketed Manchester United to superstardom with a new brand of footballing ‘je ne se quoi’ in the 1990s, but would he even be considered for Owen Coyle’s first XI in 2013? Well, only if he agrees not to pinch his Irn Bru, I guess.
Ahem. Sensitive caffeinated beverage issues and extreme facetiousness aside, I regard Monsieur Cantona as one of the figures that first attracted me to competitive pigbladder booting in the 1990s. Rupert Murdoch also deserves a mention in here somewhere, but it isn’t fashionable to like him anymore so I will not do so. And anybody screaming ‘you just did’ at their computer screens ought to be reminded they are the only person in the room right now, and talking at inanimate objects is as futile an activity as convincing Dave Whelan to build a second bridge over the River Pye.
Forgive me for drifting into ‘hopeless nostalgic’ mode, but any sort of central midfield goalscorer is bound to conjure memories of the great man, in particular a 10-year old me delightedly cheering a certain 85th minute FA Cup-winning goal. I wasn’t ever a Manchester United fan, and that’s testament to Ze King’s captivating qualities.
Upon witnessing Nick Powell skip past two defenders before leaving the Maribor ‘keeper face-down in an unpleasant mixture of mud and artificially manufactured grass, I was instantly transported back to those heady days of my monobrowed hero basking in the Wembley sunshine. It was a highly welcome piece of fleet-footed entertainment worthy of its own piece of history and confirmed my suspicion that Powell is indeed greater than Eric Cantona. Actually, the evidence is somewhat compelling when you really think about it…
1. There is no chance of Powell retiring early to become an actor.
You won’t see him in advertisements for pens, hair replacement formula or alcoholic beverages, though he might do the odd spot for orange-coloured soft drinks.
2. And he isn’t a big fat show-off.
The trouble with Cantona is that he’s always trying to walk it in.
3. Cantona was more interested in making bagels.
As reported in this BBC documentary. “Maybe he should start, you know, thinking about playing football.” — Kevin Keegan.
4. And he always preferred to be at the beach.
Now I know they use sand to fill pitch divots, but this is ridiculous.
5. Powell has more interesting goal celebrations.
Cantona looked so shocked when he scored this goal that he couldn’t think of a creative way to mark the occasion. So he just stood there. Rubbish!
6. Powell doesn’t like rugby… probably.
Oh Eric, why did you defect to the Dark Side? Oh dear, this evidence is more damning by the femtosecond.
7. Cantona was crap at penalties.
Now, nobody likes a smart-bottom. It’s a good job Eric wasn’t playing under Ferguson at the time of this ‘performance’, otherwise he might have needed that extra pair of ear muffs.
8. Cantona admits he was terrible.
Right, that’s proof enough for me. I shall henceforth rip down my Cantona poster and replace it with a digital picture frame compilation of all Powell’s goals for Wigan Athletic. Eric, I used to think you were cool, but not n’more.