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Cantona mask tribute causes storm

ESPN staff
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A United fan wearing an Eric Cantona mask during a match against Liverpool in 2009 © Getty Images
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Crystal Palace fans are furious with a proposed plan by Manchester United supporters to wear Eric Cantona masks to the game between the two sides at Selhurst Park this weekend.

When Cantona went kung fu fighting

Eric Cantona was banned from football for eight months for kicking a Crystal Palace fan © PA Photos
  • As Eric Cantona's infamous kung fu kick approaches its 20th anniversary, ESPN's Nick Atkin talks to the people who were there about what actually happened.
  • Click here to read more

Tensions between the two sets of fans remain high after the notorious kung fu kick from Cantona on a Palace fan during a game in February 1995, which led a nine-month ban and £20,000 fine for the Frenchman.

Three months later, in an unrelated incident, Palace supporter Paul Nixon died during an outbreak of violence between the two sets of fans at a pub near Villa Park before an FA Cup semi-final between the clubs which ended 2-2, with United prevailing in the replay 2-0.

Despite the incidents being separate, Palace fanzine Five Year Plan insists the masks are a means for United fans to mock Nixon's death.

The fanzine said on Twitter: "Celebrating the death of an innocent football fan? P-a-r-t-y".

United fans carrying Cantona masks were refused entry to Selhurst Park when the teams last met at the stadium in 2005.

The idea has been formulated by Stretford End Flags, who insist the idea is simply to pay homage to one of United's most iconic players.

After announcing that "lots of Cantona masks and flags will be taken to Palace on Saturday" on Twitter, the group also insisted Palace fans are wrong to think there is a link.

The group tweeted: "The only people who are linking the incidents are deluded Palace fans who are feeding off myths. 2+ 2 = 7"

They later added: "According to Palace fans, we should never sing Cantona's name again as it is insulting to them."

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