Yohan Cabaye admits he was ‘surprised’ when Joe Kinnear called him ‘kebab’ on live radio in 2013

Yohan Cabaye Newcastle Joe Kinnear
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Newcastle United's former owner Mike Ashley appointed Joe Kinnear as director of football in 2013, controversy was in close order - and not for his football-related decisions. 

During an infamous radio interview with Talksport, Kinnear said he had been awarded the LMA Manager of the Year award three times despite only winning it once, claimed to have signed goalkeeper Tim Krul when he managed the club between 2008 and 2009 when Graeme Souness actually bought the Dutchman to the club in 2005, and went on to mispronounce a series of players names, too. 

Kinnear ended up calling Hatem Ben Arfa "Afra", Sammy Ameobi "Amamobi", and Yohan Cabaye "Kebab". Clearly, this didn't go down well with either the fanbase or the players. 

Ameobi later tweeted: "Wow, at least get my name right."

When FourFourTwo asked what Yohan Cabaye's reaction to being called "Kebab" was, the Frenchman admits he was taken slightly aback.

"I was surprised. I was surprised that someone working for the club didn’t know his players’ names," he told FFT.

"But it’s OK. Maybe if I scored some goals, the fans would call my name and he could remember it."

Players in the Newcastle dressing room didn't let him forget new nickname the director of football had just given him, either, with Cabaye revealing that Steven Taylor was at the forefront of poking fun.

"Always Steven Taylor. When I was thinking he was serious, in fact, no, he wasn’t. He was always joking. I remember when I scored a free-kick against Stoke, he was doing a mirror of the keeper, who was trying to put his wall in place; Steven was doing the same thing right in front of him. That’s just typical Steven Taylor."

Of course, Cabaye played through Ashley's reign at Newcastle, performing admirably on the pitch even if the decisions taken by the owner regarding finances were unpopular among fans. 

Newcastle's training facilities were notoriously poor for a top-flight professional club, with a paddling poor often cited as one of the main indicators for Ashley's lack of investment in the infrastructure of the club. 

Cabaye admits he doesn't remember there being a paddling pool at the club, though he does compare Newcastle's training ground to the one at Lille, where he started his career. 

"At that time, I’d have been comparing Newcastle’s training centre with the one at Lille. 

"Lille’s is huge – massive – and they built that in 2007, so a long time ago now but at the time it was modern for a football club. When I got to Newcastle, it was a small building – like a big house with small training facilities. It was strange. 

"But I loved it, to be honest. The pitches there were brilliant. I don’t remember a paddling pool, though!"

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.