Newcastle United to participate amongst Europe’s elite for the first time in 20 years

Newcastle United qualify for Champions League after beating Leicester City in the Premier League at St. James' Park

St. James' Park pre-match: credit-Tom McCarthy
St. James' Park pre-match ceremony inside the ground: credit: Tom McCarthy

The Magpies earned their place in the Champions League after securing a 0-0 draw against relegation threatened Leicester City on Monday night.

With European football returning to St James’ Park, lets take a look back at Newcastle’s recent European history.

2012-13 Europa League campaign 

The most successful season for Newcastle under the ownership of Mike Ashley came in the 2012/13 season with the Magpies participating in the Europa League.

After navigating a tricky play-off fixture against Greek side Atromitos, United were placed in Group D alongside French side, Bordeaux, Portuguese Marítimo and Club Brugge from Belgium.

Three draws alongside two home victories against Bordeaux and Club Brugge saw Newcastle accumulate nine points; a tally that saw them progress second out of the group behind Bordeaux.

In the round of 32, the Magpies took on Ukrainian side, Metalist Kharkiv. After a 0-0 draw at home, a Shola Ameobi penalty was enough to brush off the Ukrainians and move into the round of 16.

The round of 16 saw a tight affair with a tricky game against Russian side, Anzhi Makhachkala. Another close affair was played out and a 94th minute Papiss Cissé goal was all that was needed to send the Geordies into the Quarter-finals.

Portuguese giants Benfica waited for Newcastle in the Quarters and a tough first away leg saw the Geordies 3-1 down heading into the game at St James’ Park. The mountain was too big to climb and despite another Papiss Cissé goal, the visitors responded to break Newcastle hearts, dumping them out of the competition.


2003/04 UEFA Cup

Newcastle’s most successful European campaign in the 21st century came in the 2003/4 UEFA Cup after they were eliminated from the Champions League 3rd qualifying round by Partizan Belgrade on penalties.

The Newcastle team managed by Sir Bobby Robson brushed aside NAC Breda 6-0 in the first round to set up a second round clash against Swiss side, FC Basel. The Geordies battled hard in Switzerland to take a 3-2 lead back to St James’ Park, and there efforts were rewarded after a 1-0 home win saw them progress 4-2 on aggregate.

The Magpies cruised into the Quarter-finals after beating the Norwegian side, Valegrenga 4-2 in the third round and Spanish side, Mallorca 7-1 in the fourth round.

In the quarters, United faced a tricky PSV Eindhoven side in a tie that saw Jermain Jenas equalise to bring the sides to Newcastle with the scores level (1-1). A memorable night at St James’ Park saw Newcastle qualify for the semi-final after goals from Captain Alan Shearer and Vice-Captain, Gary Speed.

Alan Shearer, Newcastle United Captain and top scorer:
Alan Shearer celebrating goal with famous celebration:

The run was eventually brought to an end when the Magpies came up against the formidable Marseille. There was nothing to separate the sides in the first leg and the teams went to France with the score 0-0.

In the second leg, French striker, Didier Drogba produced a masterclass scoring twice to book Marseille their spot in the final; a game they would eventually lose to Valencia.

With European success few and far between, the Newcastle faithful will hope that under new ownership, their European fortunes will turn a new page.