To be honest although I like football there are hardly any players I think are interesting enough to go and listen to them talk about themselves. Having said that if there is one footballer who has made an impression both on and (just) off the pitch then it is Eric Cantona. He is probably one of, if not the, most talked about, skillful and Iconic players in the history of the Premier League.

No big surprise that the crowd were mostly male and mostly Man United fans. The stage was as basic as it could be with just a table, two chairs, a projection screen and some drinks, which was fine because everyone was only there to see the man himself.

Eric strolled onto the stage and received a standing ovation before he had even spoken a word. He was accompanied by an interviewer who I assume was there to keep the show moving along but needed to take more control as it was quite disjointed in parts.

Eric is of course a hero to Man United fans so can do no wrong. He had only good words to say about the team, Sir Alex Ferguson and his fellow players and paid special homage to the influence his father had on him as a young lad trying to make it and as a successful player. The other sides of his character such as the Kung Foo kick were discussed but he rightly wanted to concentrate on the positive side of his career.

What seemed most important to him was that he not be imprisoned by his past and as much as he enjoyed his time as a footballer he has moved on to other things. Eric has branched out since retiring from football including making the film 'Looking For Eric' with Ken Loach which has obviously been a high point and holds fond memories for him.

He has a new passion to replace 'the drug' that was football and that is now acting. It was also really interesting to hear that he does not actually miss football and has no photos, medals or any other mementos in his house instead he looks to the future.

Considering the price of the tickets I was surprised when the show only lasted forty-five minutes and that included a question and answer session at the end, which was a bit hit and miss and just sort of fizzled out as Eric left the stage. The backdrop could have been put to much better use and shown pictures that related to the questions being asked or more clips from his playing days or film roles.

For a Man United fan this may have been the equivalent of being in heaven, but for myself and the people I spoke to leaving the venue it was too short, too disjointed, too random and completely lacking in structure. The questions were supposed to have been written six months ago which should have been enough time to put a better show together but to be honest it looked as though they were making it up as they went along.


Eric Cantona, the legendary ex-Manchester United footballer, is doing his first short UK tour. It did not begin well.

The first half consisted of a small screen showing grainy highlights of some of Cantona’s goals, an iffy comedian, and a seemingly endless auction of football memorabilia. This resulted in audience members booing, and many leaving early for the half-hour interval.

After the break, Eric Cantona walked on to a standing ovation, immediately capturing and charming the crowd with his intelligent lively personality and that smooth husky French accent.

During his brief career at Manchester United – winning four Premier League titles and two FA Cups in just five seasons – Cantona acknowledged his manager Alex Ferguson’s motivational skills, producing a key mix of love and respect from his players.

Playing for United with his back straight, chest puffed out, shirt collar up, Erik became King of Old Trafford.

Asked whether he missed playing football in packed stadiums, Cantona admitted missing the adrenaline rushes, but refused to be “a prisoner of the past” as “tomorrow is more important”.

During his subsequent career as a film actor, Cantona acknowledged director Ken Loach for his “talent, humanity and humility”.

Audience questions included a lady pleading “Will you marry me?” and another requesting Cantona’s famous quote about “seagulls, trawlers and sardines”.

Eric Cantona plays Manchester’s Lowry Theatre from February 22-26, and the London Palladium this Friday 24.

Ooo-aah, what a star!