Sign in / Join

'Newcastle is definitely not a stepping club anymore and it should never be', insists Rob Elliot

As Newcastle United’s supporters celebrated Mikel Merino’s goal with the sort of euphoric pandemonium that greets a late winner at the end of a largely dreary game, Jonjo Shelvey bowed down, fist clenched, a look of sheer glee on his face, in front of Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye.

Unnecessary, unsportsmanlike goading of a crestfallen opponent, perhaps, but for those who know their football on Tyneside it was more evocative than that. This was not just a win over Palace, it was a victory for a new Newcastle team over a player who came to symbolise all that was wrong with the old one.

Cabaye was a good player for Newcastle, the midfield playmaker in the team that incredibly finished fifth in 2012,  his first season after joining from Lille under Alan Pardew. But he was neither a loyal, dedicated or, at times, a pleasant one. He was one of those who that went through the motions of being a Newcastle player, an individual who assumed, after one good season, that he should be allowed to leave for bigger and better things.

And when he was not, he sulked and was never the same again, eventually becoming so disillusioned, that he went on strike to try and force the club to accept an offer from Arsenal that was way short of their own valuation.

When reporters asked Pardew what his teammates thought of Cabaye in the days after that ugly episode, he revealed so much about the problems behind the scenes when he said many of them sympathised with the Frenchman. That attitude continued long after Cabaye eventually left for PSG, which is why Newcastle were relegated in 2015.

Leave a reply