VIDEO: 25 years on from Eric Cantona's bizarre indoor match and snub for Sheffield Wednesday

Eric Cantona's days at Sheffield Wednesday were short lived.
Eric Cantona's days at Sheffield Wednesday were short lived.
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He was "le one" that got away - and 25 years ago, fiery French footballer Eric Cantona turned his back on a move to Sheffield Wednesday after a bizarre debut.

It was in the winter of 1992 that the Owls made the footballing headlines when Cantona, who would go on to become one of the game's greatest ever - if most controversial - stars.

Love him or loathe him, King Eric divided the world of football during his playing days - but rather than the glittering career he enjoyed with Manchester United, the Frenchman could have been a Hillsborough favourite.

But he made only one appearance in the blue and white stripes emblazoned with the Mr Tom sponsor - on an indoor court.

Back in 1991, Nimes were desperate to get rid of the hot-headed Cantona after he threw a ball at a referee.

His response to getting a one-month ban for the act? He walked up to each member of the French FA's disciplinary panel and called them an idiot.

Cantona was only briefly on the books at Hillsborough.

Cantona was only briefly on the books at Hillsborough.

Cantona was threatening to retire from the game, but the chance to move to England changed his mind and Sheffield Wednesday were the first to offer Cantona a trial.

After a week of training indoors due to bad weather and including his debut on a synthetic pitch, then boss Trevor Francis asked the striker to stay on another week and train on grass.

Cantona wasn't keen and was signed by Leeds United, whom he helped to the First Division title before joining Manchester United to win several more trophies - and of course, deliver that kung fu kick and his infamous speech about seagulls and trawlers that turned him into a cult footballing icon.

It was exactly 25 years ago today that Cantona made his full English debut for Leeds - but his association with the English game began with a rejection. Liverpool manager Graeme Souness was approached after a game against Auxerre.

Cantona in the blue and white stripes in January 1992.

Cantona in the blue and white stripes in January 1992.

He said: "We had played Auxerre at home and Michel Platini came to see me. He said he had a player — a problem boy but a proper player. Cantona. I said the last thing I needed was another problem player.

"I said I was looking for something else. I said no thanks."

Which is what led Eric to Sheffield.

The Star dubbed him "Eric Le Brat" and so it would prove - after playing one match for the Owls in the 6-a-side Transatlantic Challenge at Sheffield Arena in January 1992, he was on his way up the M1 to Leeds.

Some of The Star's Cantona headlines.

Some of The Star's Cantona headlines.

Said Francis at the time: "He rejected my request and he’s gone to Leeds, it’s a great move for him, and I wish him the very best."