SIR Alex Ferguson was famously once told you can’t win anything with kids.
Yet Manchester United did just that.
And how many Newcastle United supporters felt the club couldn’t achieve anything this season with a strong French influence in the dressing room?
After all, players from across the Channel have brought flair and frustration to Tyneside in equal measure during the Premier League era.
However, it’s so far, so good at St James’s Park.
And Saturday’s hard-fought win at Molineux, a stadium which hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Newcastle in recent decades, illustrated the resilience in Alan Pardew’s new-look side.
Yohan Cabaye, a technically-gifted player who possesses tremendous vision, mixed it along with his team-mates.
Signed for £4.3m from French double winners Lille, the 25-year-old’s already looking a steal.
No wonder there was a Tricolour flag unfurled in the away end at the Stadium of Light back in August.
Cabaye’s midfield partnership with French-speaking Cheik Tiote – whose value has also spiralled since his move to England – has already caught the imagination, and with Hatem Ben Arfa still to come into the team there’s a healthy optimism among fans, whatever their feelings towards owner Mike Ashley.
Ashley’s made his £1bn-plus fortune buying and selling.
And his transfer policy has led the club to delve heavily into the French market, where chief scout Graham Carr is particularly well-connected.
Again, it’s so far, so good this season in that respect, with Sylvain Marveaux, signed on a free transfer from Rennes, having also showed promise.
A week or two ago, a journalist from French TV station Canal+ was on Tyneside interviewing the club’s French legion.
After Newcastle’s 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, he surprisingly couldn’t quite get his head around the perception of French flair on Tyneside, fostered by the United careers of David Ginola, Laurent Robert and Charles N’Zogbia.
Robert and N’Zogbia played for the club during my time in the Press box, and both, it’s fair to say, weren’t the easiest characters to manage.
The late, great Sir Bobby Robson would often remark that he’d had Robert in his office more times than any player in his managerial career.
Unplayable one week, and invisible the next, it wasn’t hard to see what Sir Bobby was getting at.
Robert himself didn’t take kindly to some criticism, and the sight of him racing into the Press room at St James’s Park and throw a punch at a colleague after one game is still a vivid memory, though not as vivid as the two goals he scored against Newcastle’s next opponents, Tottenham Hotspur, almost eight years ago.
N’Zogbia didn’t have much time for the media, either, and he also tested the patience of Robson’s successors, most memorably after a desperate first-half performance at Fratton Park during Glenn Roeder’s tenure.
Yet that fact many supporters would have been happy to welcome the 25-year-old back in the summer says a lot about his talent.
A glance at Ben Arfa’s career shows he’s been involved in a scrape or two, though the most gifted players invariably do need careful handling.
That French TV reporter said that Ben Arfa was feted in French as the next big thing as a teenager, and, as such, his footballing career’s been played out under an intense spotlight in his homeland.
Away from that glare at St James’s Park, the hope is he can fulfil his immense potential.
Already, his popularity rivals that of Ginola and Robert in their pomp, and that’s after just a handful of appearances.
Of course, a long English winter stretches out ahead of Cabaye and co, and the adaptation of those who have crossed the Channel this summer will only be fully complete at the end of their first campaign on Tyneside.
But for the moment, Vive la France.