BOOK OF THE WEEK; The Meaning of Cantona: Meditations on Life, Art and Perfectly Weighted Balls by Terence Blacker and William Donaldson (Mainstream Publishing, hardback, pounds 9.99)
Monday 02 June 1997
When the trawler pulled in, the thinking seagulls gathered. Two of them have filled their net with sardines.
Intellectual sardines. Poetic sardines. Semiotic sardines. Deconstructed sardines. Ironic sardines. Mon genius as signifier, Brian. As the title puts it, perfectly weighted balls.
From the back streets of Marseilles - "Who is this skilful boy with his strange dreams? And why does he wear his collar up? - to 2,047, when an old man plays boules, his head full of dreams, Eric pursues beauty and truth, truth and beauty.
The book is written in the aphoristic style popularised by the much-travelled German midfield general, Friedrich "Butch" Nietzche, and the Rapid Vienna and Cambridge United playmaker, Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Wittgo" to his team- mates.
Which is to say in bits. Like this. Numbered bits. There are 630. Biographical, philosophical. Chocker with pithy pensees and episodic epigrams, parodic premises and cod conclusions.
Some of it is true. Most of it is false. Some of it is a little bit naughty. "Ash in the mouth" indeed. This contravenes Wittgo's dictum in his 92 Sportspages Book Of The Year, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."
Cantona: what does the word signify? An apparent paradox. The measured flick that makes a dichotomy of the back four, the measured kick that removes the disruptive opposing supporter to the back of the stands.
Et ce livre? Il signifie quoi?
Jean Luc Godard, Benny Hill, wee Strachany, the Skeggie Nude Ballet. Herr Hans Bowler, whose head was shaped like a traffic cone. Venners singing "Rhinestone Cowboy" at the Scribes West karaoke night. Herbert Lom and Peter Osgood. The psychology of football positions. Ravanelli discovering his inner child. Eric taking English lessons from Jan Molby, Eric going to meet his good friend Chappo in the snug bar of the Goat in Boots.These are some of the exquisite pleasures of this book.
And now the king has abdicated. Among the previous works of one of the authors, Terry Blacker - Tel - is Alone and Just Fine: A Guide to Mid- Life Independence. This is not, strangely, about Eric. But it could be.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
Anthony Martial: Manchester United's new signing received Patrice Evra's boots as a kid
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...
£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...