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Newcastle United has been in stunning form this season under Eddie Howe, after 19 games played, the Magpies have lost just a single game, which was against Liverpool at Anfield.
The club is now firmly placed in the Premier League’s top four and UEFA Champions League football could be set to return to St James’ Park next season after a long absence.
Newcastle has made many signings since their takeover by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and they have quickly reaped the rewards.
Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, and Dan Burn have all been crucial homegrown additions that have helped Newcastle fight at the peak of the league again.
Impact of Signings
According to the outright odds on the Premier League, Newcastle is now odds on favorites to finish in a top-four position offered at -162.5.
With UCL football now likely to take place in the North East of England next season, it is a fitting time to look back at the most famous European nights that St James’ Park has witnessed.
Newcastle vs PSV Eindhoven UEFA Cup
Newcastle featured in the UEFA Cup many times before the tournament was renamed to the UEFA Europa League.
One of the most iconic nights in that competition came against Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in the quarter-final in 2003/04.
It was the second leg of the contest, and the Magpies had left Eindhoven with a 1-1 draw putting them in a good position to make the last four of a European competition.
The Premier League all-time leading goalscorer Alan Shearer slotted the opener early on and an incredible performance from Irishman Shay Given in goal ensured Newcastle maintained their grip on their game for a significant period.
However, in the second half, PSV did eventually strike back, but the intense atmosphere around St James Park’ inspired the winner, which came from Gary Speed just minutes later.
The result meant Newcastle reached their first European semi-final in 35 years and remains one of the greatest nights in the club’s history.
Newcastle vs Barcelona UCL
In the group stage of 1997/98, Newcastle met a Barcelona team filled with genuine world beaters all over the pitch including Rivaldo and Luis Figo.
Newcastle under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish raced to a remarkable three-goal lead with all of the goals coming from Colombian Faustino Asprilla.
Barcelona did stage a late fightback but the Toon held on to a 3-2 win and secured what is arguable to this day their greatest-ever victory.
Of course, next year there is certainly a strong chance of Newcastle earning the opportunity to prove themselves against the European elite with a new generation of players.
Ujpesti Dozsa Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
In the 1968/69 edition of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Newcastle joined an exclusive list of teams to have won the European trophy.
The final was a two-legged affair and, at St James’ Park Newcastle, all but ended the tie with a three-goal victory.
However in the second leg in Hungary, two first-half goals from Dozsa had Newcastle’s chances of lifting their first-ever European silverware in doubt.
But similarly to the Barcelona victory they produced a resilient defensive performance and held on.
Newcastle is a team that certainly does not lack history in continental football, and they will now be hoping and maybe even expecting to have the chance to extend that history under Eddie Howe next season. We can expect many more famous European nights at St James’ Park in the future.
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