Eric Cantona: "I didn’t hit the Palace fan strong enough. I should have hit him harder"

What stands out most from your time growing up in Marseille? Were you a happy child or were you always frowning then too?
Steven Price, Ashton-on-Mersey
I was a happy child. We had a strong, close family, which gives you the best education you can get. We were working-class and satisfied with the small things in life. We were polite and always said please and thank you. We were respectful to others and enjoyed life. We sang, smiled and loved. We were immigrants, Mediterranean people. My father came from Italy, my mother from Barcelona.

I was there when I was a child to see my grandfather. I was 10 and liked it very much. He came to France after the Spanish Civil War. He was not allowed to return for 15 years under the Franco regime.  When I finished in Manchester I went to live in Barcelona for three years, to relive those childhood memories. To read and live. I liked Barcelona. [FFT: Have you read Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell?] No, but I would like to. Can you send it to me? Now, I am in Marseille, a football city where OM [Olympique Marseille, another of Cantona’s former teams] is like a religion. It’s a cosmopolitan, passionate city and the people live for football.

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