You could be forgiven for thinking that Yohan Cabaye isn’t the emotional sort. Happy not to rely on the chest-beating machismo attributed to the likes of Damien Delaney and Mile Jedinak, his personality is far more serene, but following last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final win, the former PSG man was bursting with enthusiasm.
His career brought him to these shores with Newcastle United in 2011, where he soon won the hearts of the Toon Army, but after three years on Tyneside, the pull of a move back to his native county proved too much of a temptation to ignore, forcing him to wave goodbye to the North East without a medal to his name.
Upon arrival back in the French capital, he was part of a squad which won the domestic treble; a feat which fits neatly alongside the arguably more impressive league and cup double he managed with Lille back in 2011. It would have been easy for him to rest on his laurels, a small cog in a machine far greater than him in Paris, but to his credit, he sacrificed Champions League football for another shot at success in the UK under the management of Alan Pardew.
The outpouring of joy put across in the interview attached above speaks volumes about the man behind the image that Cabaye has carved for himself. For all the trophies that came his way across the channel, it’s obvious that a triumph on these shores would mean more to him, possibly as a consequence of his greater involvement in the team from week to week.
There is no doubt that the rough and tumble style of Premier League football will eventually take its toll on Cabaye in a physical sense, but his desire to challenge himself is something we should all admire. Here is a man who isn’t content to take the easy options presented to him, preferring instead to take a kicking if it allows him to satisfy the addiction he evidently has for the English game.
His gushing comments on Palace’s fan-base come from a place of honesty, and pay rightful tribute to the stoicism we have collectively shown since Christmas. Placing us on a par with Newcastle should be seen as a real compliment, given the love-affair he had with the Geordie faithful during his time in the North East, offering us all a reminder that, when players are given our full backing, the respond in an extremely positive way.
He may have only been on our books since last summer, but Yohan already appears to understand exactly what it is that makes us unique as a club. Having seen life on the other side of the figurative fence, he’s evidently content to spend his time with us instead, who’d have thought it?