Newcastle United’s Season To Fly Or Crash and Burn In 90 Minutes
When the five French reinforcements arrived in January and hit the ground running, it was a case of what could possibly go wrong.
More international quality players from France? A no-brainer, shovel them in.
French journalists sauntered around Tyneside writing up the feelgood factor and were given open access to our French contingent, Ashley/Llambias keen to spread the word to a wider audience of how great things now were.
We even had a dressing up day at St.James’ Park with berets and onions or whatever, which many fans loved…while others squirmed with embarrassment at the idea of fans having their buttons pressed to be performing animals by the club.
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French players already on Tyneside would help the new boys settle and Yohan Cabaye was crowned king of the French toon army.
Results faded away and it was a close call with relegation until Swansea won at Wigan and Bosingwa gifted three points at QPR.
No buys in the summer and amongst other problems such as Cisse and Wonga, our recently crowned king wanted to be away to Arsenal and this only months after finally getting his best mate Debuchy over the line and over to Newcastle.
The French dream was beginning to smell a bit like one of their ripe cheeses.
Cabaye ended up missing in action and eventually stayed under sufferance, his performances gradually improving to somewhere near his best and everybody feeling the benefit.
Of the other French internationals Debuchy has gone from hero to zero, Ben Arfa the other way in some fans’ eyes, while Mapou has mixed the very good with the abysmal, and Sissoko is giving us plenty of sweat but little guile. With ironically, non-international Gouffran the most consistent.
We are now at a pivotal moment of Newcastle’s season I feel, France need to overturn a two goal deficit against Ukraine tomorrow night or the World cup dream is over, probably permanently for the likes of Cabaye and Debuchy with their respective ages, while Hatem Ben Arfa…?
Players like Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Debuchy have all won league titles so they have tasted success and will surely dream of more.
Our contacts in France suggest that Ben Arfa’s sudden dive in form could well be connected to possible messages from the Deschamps camp that no matter how many goals like the one against Fulham or performances such as the Villa display, there would be no place on the plane to Brazil for Hatem. His sudden drop in form was astonishing and hard to explain, so who knows?
As for Cabaye, no World Cup will surely mean he will sadly look for a Champions League level club at the earliest possible opportunity. I certainly don’t wish this to happen but Cabaye clearly wanted to be away in August and his comments later about Kinnear being to blame in a major way suggested there had been little or no kissing and making up.
A positive result against Ukraine could plausibly really set up Newcastle’s season but conceding that second goal in the away leg has really made it odds against France qualifying.
Cabaye is pivotal to Newcastle’s season and I think the worst possible result tomorrow would be if France fail to qualify AND Yohan doesn’t even have the chance to get on the pitch to try and help his country get a positive result.
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