Former Newcastle left back Olivier Bernard has talked about the new Frenchmen at Newcastle, and he has said that Newcastle made a mistake when they brought in an interpreter in late January to help with the language problem, since all five new Frenchmen couldn’t speak any English.
Olivier Bernard – while at Newcastle in Bobby Robson’s mercurial reign
But it was clear at the time the new French players had to make a running start with their Newcastle careers, since Newcastle were 5th bottom of the league, after that disastrous 2-1 Reading defeat, which was the last game before the four Frenchmen arrived in a matter of five days in the following week.
As it turned out we finished up 5th bottom of the league four months later, our second worst performance in the Premier League ever.
This is what Olivier said today in the Evening Chronicle:
“It’s vitally important that the French lads at Newcastle United speak and understand English.” “Getting an interpreter in was the wrong thing to do because it made the new French guys lazy.”
“They didn’t have to learn English and that is so wrong.” “I never understand why that happened.” “Yohan Cabaye speaks English and Gabriel Obertan is fluent. They could have helped.”
“They should have been at least trying to speak English 24 hours a day. Helping them with the interpreter was wrong.”
Alan Pardew was finally able to do without an interpreter, but that wasn’t until the last few weeks of the season, and two of the new Frenchmen – Sissoko and Haidara, were out injured.
But it’s clear that the new boys will need to learn English over the summer, and as a test maybe Alan should send them out to be interviewed in English, when they return for pre-season – or shortly thereafter.
But we cannot have our players giving interviews in French, and the sooner they learn English the better it will be for everybody.
We assume they are all busy – very busy – taking English lessons this summer.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org