Behind the scenes

Inside the Big Issue: Living legend Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona talks about his legacy, Manchester United (and chances of him becoming manager) in an interview in this week’s Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue - Eric Cantona

Since striding into Old Trafford, collar up, in December 1992, electrifying Manchester United, igniting Sir Alex Ferguson’s unassailable legacy and revolutionising football in Britain, the idea of Eric Cantona as being something other, elevated, an untouchable, has persisted, and grown.

This is not just because of football. Unquestionably he was an incredible player – physically imposing, a goal-scorer of key goals in key moments, fearless and fearsome, yet possessing rare skill.

Those with only a passing regard for the game know his name. While he has made around 30 films since retirement and moved through art and poetry, always agitating for issues he believes in, particularly for people who are homeless, it is the idea of a life lived intentionally on his own terms that continues to draw focus and sets Eric Cantona apart.

And now Cantona brings that Cantonaness to his newest endeavour, a live album, of songs written by Cantona and recorded in a tour last winter.

Cantona Sings Eric, with titles like “I’ll Make My Own Heaven”, where he insists ‘I’m only judged by myself’ (as if there were any doubt), “We Believe in Ourselves” andI Love You So Much”, a love note to United fans (seagulls and trawlers are referenced), will appear ahead of a new tour in April.

He talks about his life and legacy, enduring fondness for Manchester United (and chances of him becoming manager) plus plenty more in an exclusive interview in this week’s Big Issue.

What else is in this week’s Big Issue?

“My time on the Bibby Stockholm” – we speak to a resident on the notorious barge for asylum seekers

In an interview with the Big Issue, a former resident of the Bibby Stockholm has described life on board the barge, from medical problems to internet being cut in the wake of a death by suicide.

“They cut the network for two days – we couldn’t share or use anything,” said the former resident, speaking to the Big Issue through an interpreter.

“They didn’t say it’s because of the incident, they said it’s a technical issue and we are trying to fix it.”

Meet the new mums who rely on baby banks as a vital lifeline

Baby banks are doing incredible work to help families, but it is tragic that they are so desperately needed in the cost of living crisis. They need donations to keep up with soaring demand.

“It makes me extremely angry that we live in the sixth richest country in the world and families are in this position,” one baby bank provider said. “It doesn’t need to be that way. We need some anger in society and some recognition that we won’t stand for this.”

Playing backgammon on the Great Wall of China with Rick Edwards

If he could, acclaimed journalist and TV presenter Rick Edwards would relive two moments. 

“The first would be the first time me and Emer [Kenny, his wife] kissed… The other one would be when I was about 32 and me and my best friend camped on the Great Wall of China,” he told the Big Issue. “I’m still not entirely sure you’re allowed to do it, but we went with a guide. We had to clamber over a barrier and he kept saying, “This is completely fi ne”, and we were like “OK!” 

Read his full letter to his younger self in this week’s issue.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Inside the Big Issue: The Museum of Homelessness
Inside the Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue: The Museum of Homelessness

Inside the Big Issue: Beavers and other creatures making Britain better
The Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue: Beavers and other creatures making Britain better

Inside the Big Issue: The curtain comes down on TV game changer Inside No 9
Inside the Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue: The curtain comes down on TV game changer Inside No 9

Inside the Big Issue: The economic impact of Taylor Swift
Inside the Big Issue

Inside the Big Issue: The economic impact of Taylor Swift

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know