Newcastle has had an outstanding season and has secured a spot in the Champions League for next year. The team secured their return to elite European football with a 0-0 draw against Leicester at St James’ Park. The Magpies have only lost five games in the league and have deservedly secured a top-four spot. Eddie Howe’s side has produced some thrilling football while having the second-best defensive record in the league behind title-winners Manchester City. Newcastle needed just one point from their final two games, and they have done enough to secure their spot in the Champions League.
Newcastle was once a regular in European football during the late 1990s and early 2000s, but that all changed once Mike Ashley became the club’s owner. Under Ashley, the Magpies were relegated twice and achieved European football once during his 14 years on Tyneside. However, that tenure ended in October 2021 when Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), PCP Capital Partners, and the Reuben brothers purchased the club. Now under new ownership, the Magpies dream of making it to Europe for the first time in ten years.
The last time Newcastle played in Europe was during the 2012/13 season under Alan Pardew, where they finished fifth. The following season, they competed in the Europa League, where they made it to the quarter-finals but lost to Benfica. Newcastle’s last taste of European success was in 1969 when they lifted the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the original Europa League).
The wait for Champions League football has been even longer for Newcastle, who have only ever competed in the main part of UEFA’s premier competition twice. The first time was during the 1997/98 season, where they crashed out despite beating Barcelona 3-2 at St James’ Park. They then took part in the 2002/03 Champions League campaign and made it through to the second group stage but lost their first three games before beating Juventus and Feyenoord. However, a 2-0 defeat in the final match against Barcelona saw Newcastle’s European dream ended, and they haven’t been back since. The Magpies did make it to the qualification stage of the Champions League the following year but were knocked out by Partizan Belgrade.
Newcastle fans are excited to have elite European football back on Tyneside next year and are ready for trips around Europe. The team’s success this season has been remarkable, and they will undoubtedly be looking to make a statement in the Champions League next year.