WHAT happy faces at the Newcastle United training ground this week.
You could just imagine the squad’s indigenuous minority winding up their new French colleagues by giving them some mischievious phrases to repeat.
“Want to know what to call the manager? Just go up to him and say.....”
I’m sure you get the drift.
Too be honest, I couldn’t give a tuppenny where Newcastle’s players are from as long as they do the business on the pitch.
The important signing of the window so far is – wait for it while I double check the spelling – Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
The £6.7m signing from Montpellier certainly looks an imposing centre half with an impressive pedigree to match.
But Newcastle do not have good form when it comes to buying expensive Gallic defenders.
The names Alain Goma and Jean-Alain Boumsong spring painfully to mind.
With the French foreign legion already increased by four this transfer window – and another two rumoured to be on the way – it would be wrong to expect them all to gel immediately.
Time, however, is something Newcastle do not have.
Next Tuesday sees manager Alan Pardew, or whatever his new signings call him, and his players travel to fellow strugglers Aston Villa.
An Aston Villa who will have played three times since Newcastle’s last fixture.
Pardew has used the club’s midweek Europa League commitments as mitigation for several awful Premier League performances against fresher opponents.
At Villa Park he will have no such excuse.
“Prepared” is the motto on Villa’s club badge.
Newcastle had better well be.
– GAVIN LEDWITH