The painting, which was on display last month at Manchester's City Art Gallery, has caused quite a stir. The Reverend David Holloway, vicar of Jesmond parish church in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and the founder of a group fighting to maintain traditional standards in the Church of England, dubbed it "both offensive and blasphemous." Browne maintains that his work is not meant to be insulting but rather a tongue-in-cheek comment on the godlike status of sports stars. "It reflects street humor," he says. "The kind of humor the fans have."
Those fans may hope that life imitates art and Cantona (who, far from offended by the painting, bought it) makes a comeback. At least one observer would not be surprised. "Big stars like to bring the curtain down several times," says Guy Roux, coach of Auxerre, where Cantona started his pro career in 1983. "I am sure he will have a few encores."