(UKPA) – 3 hours ago
The man who was kicked by Eric Cantona has told a court he punched another man at a children’s football match in south east London after he was called “Nazi scum”.
Matthew Simmons, 36, who received the kung fu kick at a game between Manchester United and Crystal Palace in 1995, is accused of assaulting Stuart Cooper, the former manager of his son’s football team.
Simmons is said to have held a grudge because his son, now 13, was dropped from the under-8s side when his infamous altercation with French striker Cantona was brought to Mr Cooper’s attention.
He claims he was acting in self-defence when the pair crossed paths at the pre-season friendly game in south east London in August 2010, fearing Mr Cooper was going to strike him.
Construction worker Simmons told Kingston Crown Court, south London: “As I got approximately level to him, he moved around sharply. He called me ‘Nazi scum’. He had a clenched fist and there was no doubt in my mind that he was in the process of going to punch me.
“When I knew he was in the process of punching me, unfortunately I punched him.”
Mr Cooper had told the jury he received blows to his face, arm and chest, leaving him with a bloody nose and covered in bruises, including a black eye.
Referring to the “Nazi scum” comment, Simmons denied having any particular political allegiance, and specifically being a supporter of the British National Party. Prosecutor Michael Logsdon had suggested to him it was his far-right leanings, as well as his notoriety after the Cantona incident at Selhurst Park, that led to Simmons’ son being excluded from his under-8s team.