Newcastle fans seemed to love the sight of Jonjo Shelvey mocking Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye in the aftermath of Mikel Merino’s headed winner at St James’ Park last Saturday but according to reports, the former Charlton man may face a ban for his actions.
Often championed by the Magpies faithful as a player who loves to get stuck into the opposition, it came as little surprise to see him goading Cabaye in the split second after Merino’s header found the back of the net. Aside from Yohan’s well publicised history with the North East club, his first-half challenge on DeAndre Yedlin prompted outrage in the stands with many adamant that he should have been given a straight red card by referee Stuart Attwell.
Never one to miss an opportunity to get into his competitor’s face, Shelvey embraced Merino’s winner with real gusto, bouncing up off the turf after an aerial challenge with Cabaye before leaning over him and fist-pumping a few inches away from his face. Whilst I could take this opportunity to denounce him completely, I’m not above admitting that I can understand why players like him inspire a certain sense of admiration amongst their own supporters; football fandom is a hugely tribal experience after all.
That being said, the game’s authorities may well come down heavily on the midfielder, given the precedent that has been set elsewhere for similar instances in the past. Thanks to the Newcastle supporters, the incident has been a hot topic of discussion all weekend which, with his already sketchy disciplinary record, may work against Shelvey in the long run.
I’m the first to admit that the sight of his bristling little face, akin to an energy saving light-bulb with eyes angered me on Saturday but in many ways, it is players like him who become cult heroes at their respective clubs, simply because they’re unafraid to get under everyone’s skin.
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