In a new biography, Cantona – The Rebel Who Would Be King, Phillipe Auclair charts the career of Eric Cantona as being one punctuated by threats to and considerations of retirement. “Football is a minor art, what interests me is major art,” he declared at the tender age of 21. His love/hate relationship with the game is an additional intriguing layer of drama to his spectacular story.
This coincides neatly with a recent conversation I had with a Liverpool fan. He sought to pour cold water over my Cantona-loving flames of passion by stating (quite accurately) that had the English Premier League had the kind of money flowing through it that it does now, Manchester United and other English clubs in the early 1990s would have been exercising their stronger economic position by bringing in the technically & athletically superior players then monopolized by Italian & Spanish clubs. Indeed, but would they have carried the same drama & spectacle about them? I think not. Objectively efficient, but subjectively less… superb. And I for one would surely have loved football less.