Newcastle fans are some of the most loyal supporters anywhere in the country. Despite their club not having won a major trophy in England since they lifted the FA Cup in 1955, fans of the Magpies have stuck by their team.
In that period, there have been moments to cheer. Newcastle was involved in the title hunt in the 90s on several occasions, while they lifted the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006, a competition which no longer exists today. Newcastle fans have also had some great nights in Europe in the early 00s. Here is a trip down memory lane to remember some of those moments and a look at if the Magpies are close to returning to Europe any time soon.
Premier League Survival The Priority At The Moment
It is looking increasingly unlikely that Newcastle will not qualify into a European competition next season. The priority will be to ensure they remain in the Premier League at the end of the 2020/21 campaign. If Newcastle can secure Premier League football season, the targets can be raised next season. Steve Bruce has a strong nucleus of players who, with the addition of 2-3 quality stars, could really climb up the table.
The UEFA Europa League will be the obvious goal for a return to Europe. There are four English clubs still involved in the competition this season, with Tottenham the favourites with Europa League odds of 6/1. Premier League clubs have had a good record in the tournament over the last few years.
To secure some of the best players in Europe, the budget will have to be available. A lot is going to depend on the investment given to the manager this summer. Bruce was backed in the last summer transfer window and the minimum is going to be required again to edge the gap between themselves and the top six.
European Football Helps Attract The Best Players
Qualification into Europe is going to be important for Newcastle to tempt some of the leading stars across the continent to move to the North East club. This was the case in 2002 when the Magpies had Champions League football to look forward to as they were able to sign Jonathan Woodgate from Leeds.
Just a couple of years later, Newcastle added Patrick Kluivert, Nicky Butt and Jean-Alain Boumsong to their squad. Three players who had a lot of European experience and were able to help them to the quarter-final of the UEFA Cup.
Some Huge Wins In 2002/03 Campaign
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 26, 2017
Many Newcastle’s greatest European nights came in the 2002/03 Champions League campaign where they reached the second group stage of the tournament. During that season they were able to do the double over German side Bayer Leverkusen. In the fixture at St James’ Park, club legend Alan Shearer scored a hat-trick in the opening 36 minutes of the game. They also had a memorable 3-2 victory over Feyenoord in the Netherlands.
Earlier in the campaign, Newcastle was able to defeat Italian giants Juventus 1-0 at home. The opposition that day included the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Lilian Thuram, Edgar Davids, Pavel Nedved and Alessandro Del Piero.
Newcastle fans will be dreaming of more big nights in the future and given the size of the club, it is something which should be the goal, sooner rather than later.