SRtRC coach Olivier Bernard tells Brian McNally that Newcastle's French signings can help race relations
In an interview with The Mirror, our own Olivier Bernard has told Brian McNally he believes Newcastle's 5 January signings, all of whom are French, can aid football's fight against racism.
Speaking of the criticism around the increasing French numbers at St James' Park, Bernard said "I don’t foresee any big problems for Newcastle.
“Having players around them from their own country has helped the French lads settle in quickly at Newcastle.
“The French influence at Newcastle was also a major factor in helping attract internationals of the quality of Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Newcastle have signed some top-class players at prices that are really competitive compared to England.
“Yanga-Mbiwa was simply the best defender in France – we are lucky to have him. Debuchy and Sissoko are two exciting talents. Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara are also very good players
“The French influx gives Newcastle a tremendous boost and strengthened the squad to the extent where relegation is out of the picture now.
“My feeling is Newcastle will easily finish in the top 10. And I can see the team doing well in the Europa League too.”
Chief Executive Ged Grebby agrees, and believes foreign signings have had a positive effect on the city, saying: “There has been a huge sea-change in the city and it now has a big multi-cultural make-up. The racists have been isolated.
“Newcastle is now a warm, welcoming place and people go out out of their way to make the new lads welcome – waving French flags with ‘Le Toon’ written on them, and even the famous Strawberry pub behind the ground was given a French name."
Read the original interview here.