Party of the Week: No sardines in sight as King Eric returns

The lights of Old Trafford were left on to celebrate the return of the footballing cult hero Eric Cantona in his new incarnation as movie star.

The well-groomed Manchester United legend, fresh from Cannes, was back in town to attend the UK premiere of his new movie, Looking for Eric.

Cantona was flanked by his two brothers, Jean-Marie and Joel, at the glitzy after-party, which was held at The Lowry Centre, Salford, just a stone's throw from his old stomping ground.

Guests included the film's director Ken Loach and his wife Lesley Ashton, who munched on typical northern fare, such as miniature Yorkshire puddings.

A giant cookie decorated with the image of Cantona's number 7 shirt, baked by a local cake shop, also did the rounds. Cantona, 42, who stars as himself in the comedy, has also featured recently in the low-budget movie French Film.

He spent most of the time at the party graciously signing autographs, having already been mobbed at the shopping centre as he went into the premiere.

Also at the party were the film's writer, Paul Laverty, Looking for Eric star Steve Evets, who plays the postman and football fan who receives life-coaching from Cantona, as well as other cast members, including Lucy-Jo Hudson and the Shameless star Gerard Kearns.

Cast members from Hollyoaks queued up excitedly to have their photograph taken with the footballer-turned-actor who happily wandered around before heading into Manchester to enjoy a late-night curry at one of his favourite local restaurants.

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