Why Newcastle’s French Day was not an embarrassment

February 26, 2013 in Premier League

A few people have claimed that Sunday’s match between Newcastle and Southampton was an embarrassment, but not because of the match itself, but because Newcastle had their ‘French Day’, with fans all over the stadium embracing the French culture that has swept over the Geordie nation. I am here to explain why this is not embarrassing in the slightest.

In the past couple of years, Newcastle United have bought 11 French players, some better than others, but all are embraced by the Toon Army, and Sunday saw the culmination of this. Yoan Gouffran, Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko, and Mathieu Debuchy all started, and while the game didn’t get off to the best start, with a goal from Morgan Schneiderlin - another French player on the pitch - Newcastle really turned it around, and seemed buoyed from the atmosphere surrounding St James’ Park, with Sissoko and then Cisse netting before half time. And by the end of the game, Le Toon had really put the game to bed, walking away with a 4-2 victory; the last time Newcastle scored four in the Premier League was back in April 2011 against Wolves, just to put that into perspective. So almost two years ago now.

The first goal Newcastle scored was an all-French affair, with Yoan Gouffran shooting from a narrow angle, making the keeper parry it straight into the oncoming Sissoko’s path. And the third was, once again, an all French affair, with Mathieu Debuchy hitting a cross onto Danny Fox’s hand, and former Lille team-mate Yohan Cabaye slotting the penalty away in cool fashion. And while I am aware that Newcastle’s two best players probably are Sissoko and Cabaye at the moment anyway, you still can’t help but feel that they were boosted by this overwhelming gesture from the fans.

And as for the notion that this would be embarrassing for the club, I completely can’t understand this, but maybe that is just me. Newcastle has always been a club that had one of the best fan bases in the country, and the initiative of having ‘French Day’ came from them, showing up in berets, with French flags, or wigs coloured blue, white and red. They have really taken these new players and made them feel like they are at home, admittedly in a fairly stereotypical kind of way, but being able to hear ‘La Marseillaise’, the French national anthem, booming around the stadium would surely boost the players’ morale. So, no, I don’t believe that this was embarrassing, and from the performance the team put on, they look well and truly back to the form they showed last year, thanks in no small part to their new French contingent.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got time for, hope you all enjoyed it, and make sure to come back next week for another installment of my articles.