Former Toon midfielder David Ginola has defended Newcastle United as a club, in a Euro 2012 TV debate in France.
Ginola was guest pundit on the TV show and was happy to stick up for NUFC and the city of Newcastle. After Friday’s 2-0 win for Les Bleus over Ukraine in which Toon’s Yohan Cabaye scored the second goal, the host on TV channel M6 questioned the extent to which Cabaye had improved as a player at Newcastle.
The exchange began when Ginola suggested that Cabaye had come on leaps and bounds due to a successful debut season on Tyneside. He was interrupted by the host who said “Is he good because he is in England and at Newcastle now?“
Ginola was having none of it and fought the club’s corner. The full transcript of the exchange has been translated by our French writer Jean Assad:
Ginola: “He [Cabaye] has gained confidence by playing in the Newcastle team, which has had a very successful season. He has had the support of the fans and the people at the club who think he has a real future at Newcastle. He is playing with confidence and we didn’t just see that in his goal but also his overall play in the centre of the pitch. You feel that he looks stronger and has gained more experience. In just a season at Newcastle, he has taken his game to another level and you can see how it is helping France.”
Host: “You have played for Newcastle yourself and when Cabaye left for Newcastle we were all asking ‘why is he going there?’ because it’s not a big English club. If it isn’t just a club to gain experience at, like for [Hatem] Ben Arfa, then why go there?”
Ginola: “It’s about the league.”
Host: “So it’s not about Newcastle?”
Ginola: “It’s about the league in one way and the club too. In England, every weekend you play against top quality teams. The English game is very open, fast and physical. There are no breaks or time outs.”
Host: “What about Newcastle as a city? Is it a happy place?”
Ginola: “It’s a great place, even though there has been an economic crisis in the North of England. Newcastle has been classed as the second city in the world after Buenos Aires where they party the most. Not that the players party much (smiles).”
‘Daveed’ played 75 games for Newcastle over two seasons at the club (1995-1997) and scored seven goals.