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Conjuring Eric Cantona

Tiger Woods' speech this morning reeked of desperation to regain his family, his career, his adoring fans and media, his image, his sponsors. The setting was tense, the backdrop looked like a grade school auditorium and, midway through the 15-minute event, the primary camera blacked out. His words did seem heartfelt, and despite his robotic manner, he showed a sliver of emotion.

What does Tiger have to do with soccer? Well, nothing really. Although a few years ago, when asked whether his kids would play soccer, he responded: "No, not soccer. Hopefully something more physical.'' Like golf, maybe?

Anyway, Woods' speech paled in comparison to the one delivered by Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, the Frenchman who, in 1995, as part of a news conference following his flying kick at a Crystal Palace supporter in the first row of stands, said: "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

Other Cantona gems, from one of my favorite small-format books, "La Philosophie de Cantona" (Ringpull Press, 1995):

"If people talk about you, it's because you exist. I'm proud that they talk about me. Whether it's good or bad."
"A good goal is one which is important and beautiful."
"You need a particular talent to please. I don't have this talent."
"From Oldham to Chelsea and from Liverpool to Luton, my heart beats to the rhythm of the fans."
"We footballers are lucky. We are healthy, we play a game, we work outdoors and we earn money and win trophies. All the same we must never lose our sense of what's going on around us."

By Steve Goff  |  February 19, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  England , France  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Friday kickaround
Next: Luis Gil signs with MLS


Synopsis of Tiger Woods Press Conference:

Sorry I had sex with so many women....
Now get off my lawn!

Posted by: LostinPotomac | February 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if his boy Henry (aka the other Cheater from those Gillette ads) is aware of Tiger's statement?

Forget about the SI jinx. What about the Gillette jinx! Henry. Tiger. Erh Um Tom Gillette. Gillette stadium (sorry Pats and Rev fans)... What is the over/under that Federer is going to have some drama in the near future?

Anyways, I wish Tiger well. Don't hate the player; hate the game.

Sometimes even when you pick more "physical" activities and it looks like you really won, you actually really lost...

Posted by: yankiboy | February 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ooo Ahh Cantona ! Ooo Ahh Cantona ! Ooo Ahh Cantona !

Posted by: Charisma_Man | February 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I think you mean "reeked" not "wreaked"...

Posted by: edgeonyou | February 19, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Cantona was one crazy .......

Posted by: yankiboy | February 19, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Football -- no, the world -- needs more Eric Cantonas and fewer Tiger Woods

Posted by: kmg27 | February 19, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Another blow to what I believe is an overrated league:

Scotland will lose one of their two Champions League places from the season after next, the Scottish Premier League confirmed on Friday.

Thursday's Europa League results for Belgian clubs saw them overtake Scotland into 15th spot in UEFA's co-efficient ranking table.

Posted by: Reignking | February 19, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

When Soccer Insider loyalists follow Goff, they expect to __________________________ (fill in the blank)

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | February 19, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Cantona, I highly recommend "Looking for Eric" to those of you who haven't seen it yet.

Posted by: BooThisMan | February 19, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

When I lived in London, Cantona was at his ManU peak. He was such a pleaseure to watch and helped make me a soccer fan - so I am forever indebted. Sardines for seagulls and other such marvelous concepts only add to the mystique. That being said, I could have gone without the flying karate kick of the opposing supporter - even quirkiness has its limits.

Posted by: assocfoot | February 19, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't know who he is, except that he played for ManU. I just saw the flying kick the other day because it was the 15th(?) anniversary.

Posted by: Reignking | February 19, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

woo, lots to respond to here...

@yankiboy - forget Federer, let it be Jeter!

@kmg27 - absolutely. even after his scandal, Tiger shows no signs of being much other than a bland, corporate-sponsored athlete. give me some personality, please. it's why Ovehckin over Crosby is such a no-brainer or why the Williams sisters have always been more popular than, say, Justine Henin.

@Reignking - agreed. outside of the Old Firm, the SPL is almost drama free every year. if a team like Cardiff can play in the English leagues, why not add Rangers and Celtic to the mix? (i'm sure there are plenty of reasons that people will be happy to share).

@Rand-al-Thor - ...they expect to be told about things before they happen.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | February 19, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Reignking, he was also the guy emceeing those Nike World Cup commercials a few years back -- "first goal wins" etc. He'd gained many pounds since his playing days.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | February 19, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

If there's anything that I learned from Tiger's statement and the reaction from people to it, it's that its now beyond a doubt that Stephen A. Smith is nothing more than a pompous moron.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 19, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Tiger Woods is a nancy boy with no spine. I laughed at his tears and laugh at anyone who thinks he was sincere. The only thing he is sorry for is getting caught.

Posted by: mjwies11 | February 19, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Either Goff could not wait to slam Woods or there isn't much going on in the soccer world. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!

Posted by: no_recess | February 19, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if John Terry is taking notes.

Posted by: jclinger | February 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@Reignking - agreed. outside of the Old Firm, the SPL is almost drama free every year. if a team like Cardiff can play in the English leagues, why not add Rangers and Celtic to the mix? (i'm sure there are plenty of reasons that people will be happy to share).

Posted by: dimesmakedollars

Wales didn't have a league until recently.

Posted by: Reignking | February 19, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Rangers and Celtic could start playing against English opposition next year if they wanted to. They would have to start at the bottom and work their way up via promotion. They don't want to do that so they can stay in their two team league in their imaginary country.

Posted by: csd1 | February 19, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

It was interesting, this business of Tiger's return to spirituality, and his therapy. He's been on sort of a Booty-ist Retreat, I guess.

Posted by: OWNTF | February 19, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Cantona is one of my favorite personalities of the world, regardless of sport. I talk about him because he exists.

Posted by: beergorila | February 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

*Agree with @BoothisMan. Watched Looking for Eric coming back from a vacation. It's not great cinema, but is entertaining with a great denouement.

Posted by: LookingDangerous | February 19, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Is Cantona a philosopher?
He doesn't have an S in his name

Posted by: owendylan | February 19, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

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