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Tyne Talk

Newcastle United Making Headlines In France Football

11 years ago

In the run up to the Newcastle United v Chelsea match, we took a phone call from Thierry Marchand of ‘France Football’, which is ‘the’ top football publication over the Channel.

In a bumper feature on Newcastle’s French Revolution, as well as quotes in the article from myself, France Football have also reproduced the last cover of ‘The Mag along with the following wording;

“la french connection eu une du magazine du club”

Which translates, thanks to Pierre as always, to;

‘The French connection on the front of the club magazine’

People interviewed in the article

Mark Jensen, editor of fanzine The Mag,
Malcolm MacDonald
Kath Cassidy, the venerable Tea Lady
The Strawberry Pub
Martin, a pillar of the Duke of Wellington pub
John Gibson
Alan Pardew
Derek Llambias
Tim Krul
Lee Ryder


Bienvenue à Neufchâteau
Welcome to Neufchâteau

THE PRESENCE OF TEN FRENCH PLAYERS at Newcastle disrupts the daily life at the club but not the fans, who have quickly adopted them after a convincing win against the Blues.

When Alan Pardew replaced Moussa Sissoko with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the 92nd minute, St.James’ Park rose as one man to sing a song which will soon become a fashionable mantra in English stadiums: “You’ll never get past Sissoko, he is magic do you know?”.

Yes, the true achievement of the day for Moussa Sissoko is indeed already having a song to his name.


In addition to being one of the cities in the world where the nightlife is the most lively, Newcastle has become an attractive feature for the French: that of becoming an additional side of Ligue 1.

At the stadium, the fans wear berets, moustaches and French flags, on which you can read: “Come on Magpies” (the name for Newcastle players) singing or shouting “Vive le Toon“, Alan Pardew is nicknamed “Depardew”.

Kath Cassidy, the venerable club tea lady (85 years old) asks laughing if she will have to get coffee and croissants. Not to mention The Strawberry Pub, opposite St.James’ Park, renamed in French “La Fraise”. The Geordies (name of the locals) are crazy for the French.



“The profile of the players is significantly different from Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton, Andy Carroll and Alan Smith, who we had two years ago” observed by Mark Jensen, editor of fanzine, The Mag. Whether on or off the field. For Jensen as for many others, the two are the same. “We do not care one bit about their nationality, even though we like the French since Ginola and Laurent Robert came; the important thing is that they understand the culture of the club.”

The culture in question, in this industrial town once located in mining country, is the one of “Wor Jackie”, which is “Our Jackie” in the local Geordie dialect. Jackie, whose statue protects St.James’ Park, was Jackie Milburn, the legend of the Magpies, cousin of the Charlton brothers, a symbol of an era (the 50s) when Newcastle United were dominating in England. But Newcastle has not won on home soil since 1955 (the FA Cup).

Their last championship win was in 1927. The passion, it is intact, 50,000 people per game (third highest average in the Premier League behind Arsenal and MU), matches sold out, the fans, the famous Toon Army, moving in thousands everywhere. A strong identity. Working class football. And more importantly a desire shared by an entire city. “Contrary to Manchester, Liverpool or London, there is only one club here”, says Martin, a pillar of the Duke of Wellington pub. “That has the effect of bonding everyone.”

Derek Llambias, Sporting Director, sees his French players as “a breath of fresh air”. As does the Dutch keeper,Tim Krul: “I am impressed by the speed and manner in which they have adapted. Usually, when there is a contingent of players from the same country at the club, they remain together. Not here.”

The initial interest in France with regard to Newcastle United’s French initiative is showing no signs of blowing over and if both the team and individuals like Cabaye and Sissoko continue this kind of form, then that interest is only going to go one way.

More on this bumper feature in France Football later.

Why not celebrate Newcastle United’s resurgence with a subscription (prices from £23) to the top selling Newcastle United magazine, new issue out next Saturday. Magazines sent out all over the UK as well as every country (including France!!) around the world you can think of. Order NOW in our online shop .



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