THE infamous Eric Cantona Kung Fu kick is one of those historic events enabling people to remember exactly where they were at the time it happened.

Personally, I was at home in my London apartment watching the BBC Nine O’Clock News with my then girlfriend. All of a sudden, they switched to gripping coverage of the incident at Selhurst Park.

I recall muttering to myself: “What the hell is he doing?”

Anyway, I spotted with interest that a book is now being published this summer entitled ‘Chaos, Controversy and THAT Kung Fu Kick: 94/95 The Premier League’s Most Dramatic Season’. 

Eric Cantona book

It was a year when betting odds - and more specifically football betting odds - went through the roof!

Therefore for my latest blog, I caught up with the book’s author Rob Fletcher to find out about his work…

Rob, how memorable was the 1994/95 campaign?

The title of my book sums up the season perfectly. There was Newcastle’s long unbeaten start to their fixtures, the Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers title race and an incredibly impressive Nottingham Forest.

And that was just on the pitch. Off the pitch, there was a massive cull of managers, huge transfers and Eric Cantona…

Yes, the most explosive incident was Eric Cantona’s altercation with a fan at Selhurst Park. Just remind us what happened there?

This is probably what everyone remembers most from the season. After getting roughed up by the Crystal Palace defenders in the first half, four minutes into the second half Cantona got himself sent off.

On his way to the tunnel he was given plenty of verbal abuse from home supporters. One fan in particular got up close and personal with Cantona. So the Frenchman dived into the crowd feet first!

What the supporter said is not the most pleasant or polite comment and certainly drew the fury of Cantona. Still, diving into the crowd is not exactly what he should have done! The fall-out was massive.

Rob Fletcher Eric Cantona

Manchester United banned Cantona, which the FA then extended and Inter Milan even tried to lure him away from Old Trafford during his ban.

Cantona was also given two weeks in prison which was overturned on appeal. The sentence became community service; basically coaching young players at The Cliff training ground. Not too bad at all for Eric really.

How was the title decided?

With Cantona out of the picture and Blackburn Rovers stuttering as the season reached a climax, the title was decided on the final day.

Kenny Dalglish led his Blackburn team out at Anfield and Alex Ferguson took Manchester United to Upton Park. Significantly, Rovers were two points clear going into those final games but there was still plenty of drama.

Alan Shearer put Blackburn into the lead after 20 minutes and it looked like plain sailing for Rovers when West Ham went 1-0 up against United on 31 minutes.

Things got interesting once Brian McClair equalised early in the second half for United, who then laid siege on West Ham’s goal for the rest of the game.

A real turn came when John Barnes equalised for Liverpool. United did everything but score a second goal to get the win. Incredibly, Blackburn conceded again from a Jamie Redknapp free kick.

It didn’t matter though. When an excited Liverpool fan leaned over and hugged Dalglish, he knew it was over and Blackburn had won the title.

Which managerial sackings took place?

There’s a reason why chaos is the first word in the title of the book. Look at November from this season and there were three managerial sackings, three caretakers in post and two resignations to join clubs that had sacked their manager!

Keeping up with it in the book was almost impossible. Ossie Ardiles, Mike Walker and Ron Atkinson were all sacked in the first 10 days of the month!

Then the managerial merry-go-round began with Gerry Francis leaving QPR for Spurs, Joe Royle departing Oldham for his old side Everton and Brian Little leaving relegation contenders Leicester to revive Aston Villa.

A key sacking was George Graham from Arsenal after financial allegations left the club without much choice but to relieve him of his duties.

Major transfers?

Coming off back to back titles, Manchester United looked primed and ready for another assault on the crown but there were plenty of challengers too.

Spurs were the first team to make their move when chairman Alan Sugar met with Jürgen Klinsmann on a boat in Monaco. That transfer, for about £2 million, showed that the Premiership (as it was known then) was in the market for a different type of signing.

Blackburn were one of United’s main rivals and they broke the transfer record to sign Chris Sutton for £5 million after a battle with Arsenal for his signature.

Joining Klinsmann at Spurs were Gheorghe Popescu and Ilie Dumitrescu. They had impressed for Romania at the World Cup so Tottenham boss Ossie Ardiles decided they would make sound investments.

Bryan Roy arrived in the Premiership after being part of Holland’s USA 1994 squad. His signing for promoted side Nottingham Forest was a key reason they finished in third place.

The most shocking transfer of the season was Andy Cole’s move from Newcastle United to Manchester United. After a falling out with Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan, Cole was sold for £6 million while Keith Gillespie (valued at £1 million) moved the other way.

It was a huge statement of intent by Ferguson and United, but it took some time for Cole to adapt to his new side. Fees increased across the league and the range of players that arrived from abroad increased too as the face of English football changed significantly.

Who were the top goalscorers and strikers?

The top five goalscorers were English. Alan Shearer led the way with an incredible 34 goals in 42 league games (there were 22 teams in the division at this time). Nine goals behind him was Robbie Fowler on 25, which was a fantastic return for the youngster.

Les Ferdinand, Stan Collymore and Andy Cole were the other Englishmen to score more than 20 league goals. The final player to reach the 20 mark was Jürgen Klinsmann, who impressed everyone throughout the season.

How much research did you undertake for your book?

As much as I could manage! One of the things I did was to obtain many football magazines from around the time. The weekly ones especially give you a feeling for what the period was like, which helps with adding context and understanding behind what I am writing.

Added to that, reading everything possible about players, teams and tactics helps understand the time too. A couple of the most useful books were Alex Ferguson’s and Alan Shearer’s diaries of the season.

They gave a real-time view of what was happening when the action unfolded. Other than that, watching games and highlights was vital. There were some classic matches and performances that are well worth reliving.

The clashes between the top sides were always entertaining and filled with incidents. Research is the fun part of writing a book. But to be honest, I feel like that part could go on forever as there is so much you can delve into.

*Credit for the photos in this article belongs to Tony Incenzo*

Tony is an experienced football broadcaster who has worked for Clubcall, Capital Gold, IRN Sport, talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. 

His devotion to Queens Park Rangers saw him reach 50 years without missing a home game in April 2023.

Tony is also a Non-League football expert having visited more than 2,500 different football grounds in his matchday groundhopping.

You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo.