Yohan Cabaye is back on Tyneside today.
A lot of water has flowed under the many bridges over the Tyne since he left almost four years ago.
Yohan Cabaye was seen by most Newcastle fans as the key player, the one who made the team tick, a midfielder of quality who got the 11 players performing as a functioning unit.
Newcastle supporters had repeatedly threatened to riot, or so the song goes, but in the event there were no riots on the streets, just a collapse on the pitch.
In that 2013/14 season, Newcastle and Alan Pardew, had once again accidentally hit on what looked a (relatively) successful formula.
Despite not buying a single player in the summer, loan striker Loic Remy combined with the likes of Cabaye, Tiote, Ben Arfa, and Sissoko (yes, honestly!) to produce a decent looking team, with attacking full-back Santon and Debuchy helping to make United look a quality attacking side much of the time.
As well as defeating Manchester United away, Newcastle also beat Chelsea at home and Spurs away, whilst Palace were easily dispatched 3-0 at Selhurst Park.
The first 22 games (before Cabaye left) of that 2013/14 season saw Newcastle pick up 36 points from a possible 66, after the Frenchman was sold in January 2014, Newcastle picked up 13 points from the final 48, with only four wins in 16 games.
Yohan Cabaye has returned to St James Park only once before, the 30 April 2016 saw Newcastle defeat Palace 1-0 and for a moment this looked set to be key to a survival route.
The midfielder provoked conspiracy theories from the Mackems, as his very average display was capped by a weak penalty that Karl Darlow still did very well to save.
A few things have changed even since that day, Andros Townsend scored a cracking winner that day for Newcastle, whilst Alan Pardew was sitting smugly in the away dugout looking forward to the FA Cup Final.
Yohan Cabaye was left out in early games under Frank de Boer but has played all four under Roy Hodgson and was key to their win over Chelsea last weekend.
It had been assumed Cabaye would leave next summer when aged 32, his contract runs out, Roy Hodgson says he needs to think about this week and not next summer at the moment, but he has spoken in glowing terms of his midfield general, as they prepare to take on Newcastle United.
“I’m loathe to talk about players playing in holding roles or attacking midfield role.
“People like Yohan Cabaye have all-round qualities.
“They can play deeper in the midfield and become the passer and fulcrum of the team because of their ability on the ball. Their composure and their passing ability but he can also score goals for us by getting forward.
“He has got an eye for goal and a very good understanding of the game.
“It’s about using all of his qualities as best we can without, in our way of seeing it, attempting to pigeon-hole him into one particular aspect of the game.
“I would put his main qualities as his passing ability and composure on the ball, his awareness and game understanding, and his workrate.
“His workrate has been quite outstanding; he really has worked a lot harder in the defensive aspects of the game than some players of his type might have been expected to do.
“I’ve only been here a few weeks, I haven’t been involved in anything like discussions about who we should be looking to build the team around, because I don’t know them well enough as yet
“Four games is not enough of a sample to make judgements, and it would be wrong of me to start saying we’re looking to build the team around whoever.
“It’s not only a case of what Crystal Palace want (after this season), it’s also a case of what Yohan Cabaye wants.
“I haven’t even dreamt of having that discussion, about 2018…2019, I’m really only concerned about 2017 and what the next six or seven months are going to be for me and the team.
“But you don’t play for France and the quality of French team he’s played in; you don’t get moves to Paris Saint-Germain, who are buying some of the best players in the world, you don’t get brought back to Crystal Palace, unless you have got some exceptional ability.
“His ability shouldn’t in any way be questioned. I’m just happy he’s using that ability and certainly his performance on Saturday was excellent.”