Reminders of Cantona affair

Sir Alex Ferguson says there have been no plans made as to how Rio Ferdinand will be kept mentally and physically fit when the ban begins but he will continue to be involved in squad activities at Carrington.

During Eric Cantona's eight-month suspension, which began nine years ago, Manchester United attempted to arrange private friendlies with Oldham and Rochdale to keep the Frenchman's spirits and sharpness up, until the FA intervened to stop them. "I have not addressed that situation because it has not yet arisen," Ferguson said yesterday. "We will have to assess what the boy wants to do and his views are very important on this."

Whether or not any appeal is successful, Ferguson's experience of the Cantona affair could prove extremely useful in ensuring Ferdinand's sentence is served with the minimum possible disruption. Ferdinand, like Cantona, will be allowed to train, although any attempt to arrange private matches will be prohibited.

Intense though the media pressure is on Ferdinand, it is nothing like that which enveloped Manchester United following Cantona's assault on a Crystal Palace fan in January 1995, which led to criminal charges. Cantona exploded in fury when he and his wife, who was six months pregnant, were confronted by television cameras while on holiday, which led to a threat to retire from football.

Ferdinand is much more comfortable with the media, has used his contract with the Sun to pursue his case vigorously and has nothing like the Frenchman's volatility. Manchester United have stated that Ferdinand will be paid in full during the ban and will be given all the support at the club's disposal.

Ferguson genuinely feared that Cantona would carry out his threat to leave Manchester United during the ban and went to great lengths to persuade him otherwise, riding clandestinely through the streets of Paris on the back of a Harley-Davidson to meet him in a restaurant. Though stating that "no man is unbreakable", the Manchester United manager regards Ferdinand as "mentally strong" and unlikely to do anything rash. This includes taking up an acting career.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'