Working life is full of stressful situations where somebody may occasionally say something that ruffles your feathers.
It could be a co-worker complaining about the tea you’ve just made for them, or a customer complaining about the level of service he or she has just received even though you’ve damn near broken your left arm trying to do your best.
The point is, despite how desirable or indeed justified it may seem in the heat of the moment to kung fu kick someone that says something out of turn, unfortunately you just can’t.
Ex-Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona however, was not the sort of person to be restrained by convention like the rest of us mere mortals.
‘King Eric,’ as he was known by supporters, had achieved iconic status at Old Trafford after inspiring them to successive league titles, the first ending a barren run of 26 years, after his arrival from Leeds in November 1992.
On the 25th January 1995, defending champions United travelled to south-east London to play Crystal Palace. United were in second place, two points behind the league’s leaders Blackburn, who they had beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford three days earlier with Cantona scoring the winner. Victory at lowly Palace would mark a return for United to the top of the league.
In the 48th minute, Cantona is sent off and walks off down the side of the pitch with United kitman Norman Davies escorting him towards the dressing rooms.
Palace fan Matthew Simmonds then allegedly started swearing at Cantona on his way to the dugout and apparently called his mother a ‘French whore’ which was the turning point. Next thing you know, Cantona is over the barrier and giving him a kung-fu kick, punches are flying and all hell breaks loose.
The incident still resonates as one of sport’s most extraordinary events, even by the standards of the ongoing melodrama that is premiership football and people have said that it was the most famous common assault case in the history of the English legal system.
Cantona received a sentence of 120 hours community service for his martial arts madness after getting his initial two week prison sentence commuted on appeal.
Whatever your opinion on the matter, take a look at Mr. Cantona’s handiwork for yourself before taking a second to consider which of your colleagues you’ve imagined doing the same thing to in the middle of an office barney.