Mark Brophy

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Cabaye Reintegration Required

Classically fans wait for the dust to settle after a transfer window shuts, to see the repercussions. The closing of the summer transfer window has dislodged about as much dust at NUFC as the contents of an unopened tomb; or more to the point, as the dead moths in a wallet that never opens. Repercussions there still are, however. Pretty much the only activity in the last month involving the club was a half-hearted bid from Arsenal for midfielder Yohan Cabaye. After what seemed like a deliberately low bid to make the player aware of their interest, they never returned. The Gunners ended up spending £40m+ on Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid and I have to say if my choice was that or upwards of £20m on Cabaye I’d choose the German too. Cabaye was unsettled and didn’t appear on Newcastle’s first two games of the season. When he finally did  return as a sub in Saturday’s win against Fulham, having realised the interest in him wasn’t enough to meet Newcastle’s price, a section of the crowd booed him.

The sentiment is understandable. It’s tough for fans to see a player who has pulled out all the stops to move elsewhere end up pulling on the shirt again. Loyalty for a football fan can override all other considerations. Look how hard Newcastle fans find it to protest in any meaningful way – by which I mean not turning up – against Mike Ashley’s running of the club. We’re all aware that players don’t share that loyalty. How could they? It’s a job for them, nothing more. Just like any of us they may like a particular job more than another, but that won’t stop them moving if they have a chance to enhance their career. When a desire to leave is made so very public as Cabaye’s was, it becomes very difficult to ignore however. Refusing to play, if that is what he did, is unprofessional, disloyal, and a slap in the face for the club’s followers. The truth as to players’ relationships with the club can no longer be conveniently swept to one side.

It’s tempting to call for him to be consigned indefinitely to the reserves, to make an example that no player will forget as his chances of national selection disappear in a World Cup year. It’s also tempting to insist he doesn’t displace others in the team  who as yet haven’t publicly displayed their own particular brand of disloyalty. Tempting, but impractical. Cabaye is one of the best-paid players at the club, and just as it would be a disaster if one of Newcastle’s best-paid players was ineffective, they also can’t afford to leave him out as a spiteful punishment.

Quite simply Newcastle don’t have anyone else who can do what Cabaye can, no-one who is likely to pick out a chance-creating pass. When he’s on the field Newcastle’s results are markedly better. Against Fulham on Saturday, the introduction of Cabaye along with Loic Remy made the difference between a side struggling for penetration and one able to go on and win the game. Newcastle were relegation strugglers all last season, who then arguably didn’t strengthen at all in the summer while those around them spent money as if it was coming into fashion. It would be madness to weaken the side further by ignoring one of its best players purely because our collective pride had been pricked. If a relegation struggle is to be avoided, the club needs to have its best side on the pitch. Cabaye is here at least until January and until then he is in that best side.

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4 Comments

  1. Ritchie Forster says:

    nice comments … my own view of the whole affair was that Cabaye was stiched up by ncle ute. He is a very good professional … he would never let anyone down and he has been treat abysmally by his employers who just want a ‘quick buck’ … would they sell him for under £10 million when they had paid £5 of course not. He will give 100% on and off the field for Utd similar to Peter Withe, not like Shearer who short changed Gullet ,,, c’est la vie.

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    • Dave A says:

      If this was the case I would certainly expect Cabaye to come out and say he was fully available but sent home or not selected. I agree, having been booed once, we should now support him. He knows what fans think. I think he was one of the ones who let us down last season, and now he has every incentive to play well. Well, apart from the overall mess at the club.

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  2. Joe says:

    Couldn’t agree less. If ever there was a convenient time to make an example of a player, then Cabaye is it. I don’t see anything spiteful about calling a player’s bluff. Cabaye effectively downed tools for two (important, they all are) league games, in a misguided effort to display his sudden disinterest in his current employers. The big risk of course, is that the window would shut and deny him his coveted move. Most players have the sense to keep onside with their manager & fans in case it didn’t happen. He couldn’t lace up his boots for another fortnight, and get on with it? If being a footballer is “just a job”, as is argued, then tell me what employer would let their employee get away with that sort of behaviour? It’s hardly professional, if that’s how they want to call it.
    Could we do without Cabaye until January? Certainly yes. It is argued that he is the only player at the club able to do what he does. And what is that? The occassional flashes of brilliance he shows between large periods of going missing are becoming less common than his flashes of temper. I’m sure that HBA could do (exactly) the same, and looks as if he’d thrive at it.

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  3. FJS says:

    Now me being a cynical old bugger about this generation of footballers who will take a bet that in the month of December Cabaye either gets himself sent off or a two or three week injury leading upto the january transfer window and his agent will hawk him about again !!!!!!

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