YOHAN Cabaye will never forget the day he felt he’d fully arrived as a Newcastle United player – the derby win over Sunderland back in August.
Cabaye played a starring role in only his second game for the club as the Magpies beat their rivals 1-0 at the Stadium of Light thanks to a Ryan Taylor free-kick.
And the reaction of the travelling Toon Army at the final whistle left the Frenchman in no doubt about what playing in the black and white stripes meant.
And he hopes to see similar delirious faces among the Newcastle fans come 2pm tomorrow after the 146th Tyne-Wear derby.
“When we went over to the fans I realised what it meant to them to beat Sunderland,” said Cabaye, signed for £4.8m from Lille in the summer.
“The crowd was amazing that day which was fantastic for me as it was only my second game. It gave me a taste of what it was going to be like.
“It was like, welcome to England!
“We gave a very nice gift to the fans that day.
“I have only good memories because we won.
“When I signed for Newcastle everybody spoke to me about Sunderland and the derby.
“I was very, very happy at the thought of playing in this game.
“I hope we can celebrate the win in the same manner after the game, just like we did at Sunderland.”
Cabaye, pictured, expects the atmosphere to be white-hot at St James’s Park tomorrow, but fresh from returning from a three-game FA ban after an incident against Brighton, the midfielder knows United must keep their cool – and keep 11 men on the pitch.
“We can’t lose this game because we know how special this game is,” he added. “It’s special for the fans and for us and for the club.
“We can only get three points like a normal game! But it’s not normal because of what it means to the people of the city.
“So what’s most important for us is to keep 11 players on the pitch and to stay relaxed.
“We have to be present and standing on the pitch if we are to win this game.
“We also have to win to end a run of two bad results for us.
“We have to focus on three points and afterwards if we win – that’s for the fans.”
Don’t forget Monday’s Gazette for a full match report and reaction from both sides.