When Eric Cantona announced his intention to swim the English Channel to prove his love for Kronenbourg 1664, there was no doubt many a naysayer who questioned his ability.
The notoriously challenging feat has been attempted by many and completed by few - harsh currents, freezing temperatures and shipping lane chaos all contribute to this sporting feat being one of true heart and bravery.
Cantona’s relationship with the premium lager has been well documented, and the Frenchman’s love for the brand has now reached new levels of commitment; back in June, he pledged that if 10,000 Brits agreed Kronenbourg 1664 to be the most suprême tasting lager in the world, he would don a wetsuit and set off across the channel.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long to rack up support - come August, the counter exceeded all expectation with over forty thousand Brits backing the challenge.
Speaking in reference to the phenomenal support, the Frenchman declared his intentions, “Zut alors! So many of you agreed that Kronenbourg is the supreme tasting beer in the world, so I will swim the Channel to salute your great taste… nothing is too far for Cantona.”
With his steely determination, sporting prowess and love for the premium lager never questioned, could the fiery Frenchman make it across the water in true Cantona style, or would his ambition sink fast?
Never one to do things quietly, the challenge was bolstered and hyped in the days leading up to the swim by a projection of Cantona in his swimwear onto the white cliffs of Dover (remind anyone of another famous Manchester number 7?), and some celebrity backers in the form of revered chef Michel Roux Jr, who created a specially crafted Goose Fat to help him on his way (the world’s only Michelin star rub down).
Said the culinary king, "I’m a man with roots in both Britain and France, so when I heard that Eric Cantona was going to swim the English Channel, I wanted to help in the best way I could. Not only is my graisse de canard magnificent with potatoes, it will also guarantee any Channel swimmer glides through the water with elegant ease."
No pressure then Eric.
On August the 6th and with hype at a high, the challenge was on. Donning a specially designed swimsuit (with a popped collar, obviously), and greased up to the eyeballs in Michel Roux Jr’s special stuff, he took the plunge into the choppy waters.
Battling currents, trawlers, sardines and seagulls, Cantona forged his way through the high seas towards the English shoreline.
As a crowd of well-wishers looked on in awe, his pace slowed, and he approached a luxury yacht moored several hundred meters from the French shore.
Climbing aboard, he made his way to the top deck, where the Man Utd legend proceeded to swim continual laps in a luxury heated swimming pool as the cruiser navigated the channel.
As a man true to his word, Cantona reached the other side - but in a way only he could.
Proving that style, taste and Kronenbourg 1664 are synonymous, he completed the challenge in record time.
Upon pulling into Dover, awaited by media, fans and the odd seagull, the Frenchman raised a glass to the British public and their love of Kronenbourg 1664. Echoing his sentiments from the glory days of 1995, he proclaimed in true cryptic fashion. “It’s not where the seagull flies to…it’s how it gets there”.
Wise words Mr Cantona - now time for a well deserved pint of Kronenbourg 1664.