Eric Cantona, the Kung Fu-kicking, French movie star who used to play football for Manchester United, is reported, this evening, to be seriously considering making a comeback to the game he has always said he loved - Pétanque.
Pétanque is a form of boules with the aim of throwing metal balls as close as is possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally "piglet") or jack, while standing completely inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground.
The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel, but can also be played on grass, sand or other surfaces. The current form of the game originated in 1907 in La Ciotat, in Provence, in southern France.
The casual form of the game of pétanque is played by about 17 million people in France, mostly during their summer vacations. There are about 375,000 players licensed with the Fédération Française de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal (FFPJP). Well, that's according to Wikipedia, anyway.
Cantona has been out of Pétanque since he was involved in a rather ugly incident back in 2001, when he charged at, and Kung Fu-kicked, a spectator during a game in Provence.
Speaking to me on the phone this morning, Cantona said:
"You know, Monkey, when ze seagulls follow ze troaler, it iss because zey sink sardines will be srown into ze sea".
I told Eric this was utter boules, and he concurred, saying that he will probably make a comeback as Manchester United manager when Sir Alex Ferguson has finished eating all his sardines.