Food for thought or is it an excuse well past its sell-by date?

David Ginola with Newcastle United
David Ginola with Newcastle United

​Sheffield seems to be slightly on the up football-wise.

Both big clubs in the fifth round FA Cup draw​, both on a run of decent results. We even got a mention on BBC’s Danny Baker show from winger turned winemaker David Ginola.

The ex-Newcastle and Tottenham man spoke of his introduction to British ‘culture’ when he arrived at Newcastle from Paris St Germain in 1995.

Newcastle were playing Sheffield Wednesday and the team went for their pre-match meal.

Ginola, brought up amid the peach and cherry trees in a village on the outskirts of the millionaires’ playground of St Tropez, was used to fruit, pasta and fresh fish for his pre-match scoff.

“My first away trip was Sheffield Wednesday and we had at the pre-match meal I saw red, orange sauce on the beans and I thought what the *** *is that?

“I’d seen beans before obviously but not like that and not for a pre-match meal! I saw the guys putting beans on the top of toast with butter and I said: ‘Are you sure? Are you sure about this being a healthy pre-match meal?’

Calm down a bit Dave.

We all know that the game in this country in terms of nutrition, fitness and diet has come on tons since 1995 and we may share Ginola’s horror at a full English, pre-match. Now they are all into chicken and pulses and slow release energy.

But look what good it’s done our players.

In 1996, one year after Ginola’s beans on toast epiphany we lost in the semi-final of Euro-96 where beans on toast was a lot lot less of a worry than boozing and the ‘Dentist’s Chair’.

But for Gazza’s hesitation against Germany where he slid in half a second too late to score in ‘Golden Goal’ extra time, we could have won the competition.

‘We probably would if we’d been in better condition,’ I hear the smart Alecs chirp.

Maybe, but we’ve been on rice and tuna for 15 years now and we’ve never been anywhere near a semi-final since. Times have changed but the reason Ginola was so good in those days wasn’t because he ate olives and lean meat, it was because he had pace, balance and power with a ball at his feet.

He’d have been a top player on pre-match haricots sur toast, full English or plain bread and dripping.