Journalism

Yohan Cabaye: I know the fuss Crystal Palace have made of me but there’s no pressure

London Evening Standard

Crystal Palace’s sole win at Chelsea came 33 years ago when both clubs were in the old second division. Tomorrow, Palace go to Stamford Bridge with the champions, after a shaky start to the season, buoyed by the impact of new arrival Pedro.

But Yohan Cabaye, Palace’s record £13million signing, says: “We won’t be scared of them. No, no, no. They have to feel that we are not scared of them. Tomorrow, we will not let Chelsea players play as they like.”

We are talking in the media room of Palace’s Beckenham training ground and, on the wall, is the exhortation “Respect the enemy’s strength” from the Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu. Cabaye glances at it and says: “We respect them, we respect all teams. But we will focus on getting something out of the game. I am not worried about the quality they have got.”

There is one Chelsea player whose quality the 29-year-old knows well, his former Lille team-mate Eden Hazard. “He is very special, the best player in the Premier League,” he says. “He could win the Ballon d’Or.”

In the last five years this FIFA award, signifying the world’s best player, has been shared by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Latest blog

Why Platini is the Dauphin, the insider, in the battle to succeed Blatter

Inside World Football

The contest to succeed Sepp Blatter could still produce surprises, not least we could have more candidates. Some Africans, aided by European advisers, are still trying to find a heavyweight African, Tokyo Sexwale is the name most often mentioned, to provide a realistic chance of the first black man occupying Blatter’s wonderful House of Football in Zurich. Prince Ali could still stand. But whatever the final list of candidates already the contour of the election is clear. This is that Michel Platini is the insider and Chung Mong-joon the outsider.

Now this may come as a surprise. After all, is Platini not the man promoted by Europeans to clean up football and provide the new, alternative, leadership that FIFA desperately needs? That Platini will be different to Blatter cannot be doubted. For a start he will discard the Imperial Presidency that Blatter has built up. The Swiss presents FIFA as the Vatican of sport and, despite not having any territory or Army, sees himself as the head of a state. Platini has no such pretensions and will not only be more softly spoken, and say less, but will be seen less.

Read more >

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Welcome to my website which has a flavour of my activities over 30 years as a writer and broadcaster. There are details of my books, articles, broadcasting, public speaking and awards.

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My new book Game Changer is about the rise and rise of the English Premier League.

The Premier League’s rise was a spectacular cocktail of events, few of which were properly anticipated let alone planned for. Game Changer takes us on a mesmerizing journey charting this rise, involving high stakes, multi-billion pound deals, powerful and rich people, and the future of the beautiful game.

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The spirit of the game was first nurtured on the playing fields of the English public school and this Corinthian spirit was then exported around the world. Today, sport is dominated by corruption, money and celebrity. Yet, we still believe and talk about the game as if it had a higher moral purpose. This book tells the story of how sport has lost its original spirit and how it emerged in the 20th century as the most powerful political tool in the world.

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