Looking for Eric: Manchester United fan dismisses Crystal Palace protests as supporters plan to honour Eric Cantona

A Manchester United supporter has said linking the death of a Crystal Palace fan three months after the infamous Eric Cantona kung-fu kick is ‘ridiculous’.

United fans are set to don rubber Eric Cantona masks at Crystal Palace tomorrow, paying homage to the Frenchman, who is adored by the Old Trafford faithful.

A number of United fans revealed their cheeky plan to honour Cantona on Twitter, which has caused outcry among Palace supporters.

The infamous ‘kung-Fu’ kick incident, where Eric launched a flying kick into Palace fan Matthew Simmons, happened during a heated match at Selhurst Park in 1995, after Cantona received a red card.

As he walked off the pitch, to the amazement of the crowd and the millions watching at home, Cantona brazenly walks over to the stands and delivers a lunging kick towards Simmons.

The world was left in complete shock, and Cantona was subsequently fined £20,000 and was banned for nine months.

Much of the fan anger on the Palace side relates to the death of 35-year-old Paul Nixon who died during a violent clash between the two sets of supporters some three months later.

Violence broke out at a pub several miles away from Villa Park, Birmingham, prior to the FA Cup semi-final between the two clubs.

MM spoke to one fan who plans to take part in the homage, and says Palace fans are wrong to link the two incidents.

Preferring to speak under his Twitter handle, @BusbyMUFC said: “If I’m 100% honest, they’re looking for something to offended by Eric Cantona isn’t responsible for that, and they know full well that the Eric Cantona masks are nothing to do with the Paul Nixon incident and are entirely to do with him kicking Matthew Simmons, and just celebrating Eric in general.

He continued: “If you’re going to link it back to Eric then why can’t you link it back to the chap who was giving him crap from the stands? And why can’t you link it back to Palace getting to that stage, and then you might as well link it all the way back, like a butterfly effect. It’s ridiculous.

“I’m a scientist, I’m a logical guy, it doesn’t make sense, there’s no need to be offended by it when you know it’s just a laugh.

“I think the Palace fans are simply choosing to be offended, rather than actually being offended.”

While United fans deny the link, the incident clearly hasn’t been forgotten by Palace fans. One fan wrote on Twitter: “United bringing Cantona masks on Saturday? Imagine we started singing songs about Munich? Double standards. Utter wankers. #cpfc,” said @bradleyewles.

@ConnorHarbs3 said: “For united fans to take Cantona masks to Selhurst on Saturday would be an utter disgrace and a let down to both clubs.”

One Palace fan says that anyone donning the insensitive mask should not be allowed into the ground. @GilesyL14 said: “Any idiot who tries to wear a Cantona mask to Selhurst on Saturday, should be refused entry. As simple as that.”

Image courtesy of M Bubble, via YouTube, with thanks.

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