Newcastle Miles Away From Europe

Having watched the last two European League matches involving Liverpool, Arsenal and the two Milan sides this week, it puts into perspective where Newcastle are in today’s football hierarchy – nowhere.


Kevin Keegan – can he qualify us for Europe next season?

Watching those sides has shown we are miles away from a European Champions league place, and indeed we may still have a struggle this season to even stay in the Premier League.

We don’t have a big squad but we are also suffering from being just a mediocre team, because we’ll play just 43 games this season., one of the lowest number of games in a long time. But when you don’t qualify for Europe, and don’t have good runs in the two local cups in England you don’t play many games.

We’ll play 43 games this year, and will not play many more than that next year, since again we will not even qualify for Europe’s second class tournament, the UEFA Cup. As an example with last season, we have played 43 games through the end of February and ended up playing 55 games in total, 12 more than this season. Even is we go all the way next season in both cups, we’ll still only play about 50 games, so we hardly need a huge squad, at least for next season.

Maybe Newcastle do need to ignite the Geordie fans with a win on Saturday because this season has been little less than a complete and utter disaster.

But watching those great European games in the last two days, has shown just how far we have fallen in the football world, since Bobby Robson left the club. To be more accurate since Bobby was sacked from the club.

We don’t see any reason why the top players on display, would ever want to join Newcastle, they would have too much to lose in terms of playing in Europe. We just have to do something next season to finish in the top 6, which is what most of us thought we’d finish this season – how wrong can you be.

Keegan has a hard job ahead of him, but we’d be happier and more convinced of success if Alan Shearer joins him as assistant manager in the summer.

But whatever happens, it’s still a long road ahead for Newcastle. Also the reason given for the sacking of Robson after 3 successive seasons in the top 5 now looks more comical every day – 5th place in the league wasn’t good enough.

But is also indicative of some of the stupid decisions the club made while Freddy Shepherd was at the helm. At least progress has been made by Shepherd not being in control now – that’s real progress, at least off the field. We now have better people at the top – so we can only hope – and pray – things can be turned around – quickly.

But there’s no doubt the club have let their loyal Newcastle fans down badly in the time since September, 2004, when Bobby was sacked.

Comments very welcome.

39 comments so far

  • adam

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #1

    i echo those sentiments ed. i would love it if we were the ones playing milan in a champions league knock out game. but we are so far behind that level, we need the hubble telescope. at least we have something to aim for. i hope mike ashley was watching those games

  • Paul P

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #2

    as i said yesterday, we are 4 years away from anything at the moment. we are 10 years behind man u/arsenal. 5 years behind chelsea, 4 years behind arsenal. the way to claw it back is firstly improve the squad in the summer and next year and also bring the kids through. the higher we finish up the league, the better it will get.

  • howway geordies

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #3

    Did most of us really think that we’d finish in the top 6 this season? I didn’t.

    Finishing 5th wasn’t the sole reason why Sir Bobby Robson was sacked.

  • Paul P

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #4

    i meant 4 years behind liverpool not arsenal lol!!

  • Paul P

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #5

    no i thought we would finish 10th or something around there, certainly not top 6 material. team, squad aint good enough for that. my feeling was that it was a mid table squad and how right i am with it turning out to be just that

  • UTD111

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #6

    Agree with everything you say Ed – nothing to add!

  • milner fan

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #7

    i think 16th this season, just avoiding religation. Then next season with a complete overhaul of the squad i can see us ending up 10th with maybe a good fa cup run. Normally quater finals before being knocked out by chelski. I cant see newcastle being in uefa cup until 2009/2010 season at the earliest.

  • Graeme

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #8

    If the owner wants European football after next season, he could have it. It all depends on where he wants the club to be.

    We will only find out when the season ends and the recruitment of new players starts. Thats where his ambition for the club will become evident. Should be interesting times!!!!

  • Lokan

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #9

    Shearer as an assistant manager would be disastrous for us. Keegan is a great motivator but lacks tactical knowledge and needs an assistant that can help him with that. That man is definitely not Shearer.

  • thelongshanks

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #10

    We need to end the season on a bit of a high.We lost dyer,solano,parker,bramble(i know sh*t),babayaro(worse),moore etc so that in itself is a fresh start. We have to go back before we go forward.only 4 of our new signings had prem experience and our 3 best mids left when they got the london bug.We need a couple of points to keep us up and the summer should be very exciting if we havent scared players off joining us.I think two years before we are back in europe but with luck and alot of money we cud be back up there next season.Heres hoping!

  • Berks via Gateshead

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #11

    Very good article – the best I’ve read on us in a while. We are significantly behind other teams. I think the most alarming thing is, if you use the ‘years behind’ comparison, I don’t think we should be comparing ourselves with the ‘big 4’ – it’s the rest we’re siginificantly behind. My view – we’re at least 2 years behind Villa, Spurs (only since Ramos) and Everton. A frightening prospect. That would then put us at least a further 3 behind the ‘big 4’. Then factor in everyone’s progress year on year and the scale of the task becomes apparent. This is where Mort’s startegy of getting Wise et al to recruit the best youth becomes sensible. This should be seen as an accelerant project – the only way we can hope to get anywhere near the top of the league in a 5 year timescale.
    Keegan can turn it round given time – but the Summer will need a significant (£70m+?) investment in the first team. I reckon this then needs to be continued each year in ’09 + ‘010.
    Sorry to be pessimistic – but the sooner we as fans recognise our predicament the sooner we will start supporting the team come what may!

  • Bosck

    Feb 21, 2008 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #12

    milner fan, i still think we’ll come 13th at the end of the season, albeit only collecting 11 points between now and then.

    went on the bbc fixture predictor and entered till the end of the season, and fortunately some of the teams below us have some tough fixtures, and are also playing each other, so at least one of them is guarranteed not to get maximum points and many of those games may result in a draw.

    This is the table that i finished with after completing the predictor, only on my opinions of course but didnt exactly predict our results over confidentally.

    Pld GD Points
    1. Arsenal 38 55 94
    2. Man Utd 38 61 92
    3. Chelsea 38 34 81
    4. Everton 38 29 72
    5. Man City 38 16 72
    6. Liverpool 38 29 69
    7. Aston Villa 38 25 68
    8. Tottenham 38 21 62
    9. Portsmouth 38 19 62
    10. Blackburn 38 2 58
    11. West Ham 38 5 53
    12. Middlesbrough 38 -21 40
    13. Newcastle 38 -24 39
    14. Bolton 38 -23 31
    15. Reading 38 -34 30
    16. Wigan 38 -33 29
    17. Sunderland 38 -37 29
    18. Birmingham 38 -23 27
    19. Fulham 38 -32 24
    20. Derby 38 -69 10

  • Black Caesar

    Feb 21, 2008 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #13

    You lot can forget CL and UEFA Cup football with Keegan in charge. The guy is f***ing useless!!!

  • Mac

    Feb 21, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #14

    Yeah i agree. But as i’ve said if Kev wants to buy British this is how he should spend the reported 50 Million.
    14 m on Bentley
    11m on Carrick
    6 m on Dunne
    6m on Bridge
    7m on Ashton
    Sell a few of our under achieving crop and bring in Crouch 9m and Wes Brown on a free. Europe no problem

  • Bill F

    Feb 21, 2008 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #15

    I feel a bit like Marvin the paranoid droid, it’s all so depressing that even making this comment is an effort. We are light years behind the likes of Everton and Villa. It will take something special to lift my spirits. Actually I don’t know why I’m bothering to be honest.

  • John

    Feb 21, 2008 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #16

    Mac – Dunne is’nt British

  • John

    Feb 21, 2008 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #17

    he not worth 6 mill either mate..We could get someone better than him…Being Irish i’ve seen plenty off him..He is def prone to a mistake and he’s not what we need to be a good defencive unit…

    Woud agree on the rest of your players thouigh..would be great to get all that lot

  • Southside Jordy

    Feb 21, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    Comment #18

    Chin up lad’s things could be worse……….could’nt they??????

  • nufctj

    Feb 21, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #19

    Someone needs to explain to me the obsession with signing British (read English) players on this blog? Are some of you living in a fantasy land? Is Newcastle United the Great White Hope of the EPL? We are going to take the league and make waves in Europe with a starting 11 that is dominated by English players? It’s not going to happen folks! Take a look at Arsenal, Chelsea, ManUre..even Liverpool. The simple fact of the matter is to play the style of football we claim to want to see, we would need technically superior players. By and large, these players are not being produced by the English youth system. So realistically if we want to be a top four team, we have to sign more European, South American, African and even Asian players. When our starting 11 becomes about 80% foreign, you will start to see the brand of football you see Arsenal play.

    Dunne is Irish… Mac, dumb twit.

  • ScottyT

    Feb 21, 2008 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #20

    howay geordies.. no tbh i didnt i expected midtable bout 9th – 11th because i wasnt totally convinced by sam at first didnt think his football would suit us and i was right.

    and yes we are miles behind europe now imo it may take at least 2 or 3 seasons to even get close to there now. not good.

  • Paul P

    Feb 21, 2008 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #21

    Nufctj – spot on mate. Yes it will be nice to get a couple of english players in such as Carrick who can pass a ball and bridge, but you look at man u, who is their most technical player, ronaldo and he’s of course a foreigner. they have also tevez, nani, anderson, vidic, giggs (welsh), evre, van der sar, park je sung, only rooney, ferdinand, gary neville, scholes, hargreeves and carrick who are english, arsenal have no english players bar hoyte and walcott, it is right, we need a mixture of english, good technical foreign players, youth to take us forward. then we might see the style of play we want to see.

  • Michael

    Feb 21, 2008 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #22

    With Keegan at the helm, forget Champions league football or any european football. Keegan is a traditional old old old fashioned manager and will go for the FA cup, carling cups. that is keegan material.

    Europe, keep dreaming mate. to go fast you buy a fast car, to perform well you get a performer, not a man who has quit four times in his career and has been out of football since 2004 and has not seen a game since 2005. Keegans own words not mine.

    Understand this, You are dreaming of Champions league football when we have a relegation battle on pour hands. Keegan should only talk about the matter at hand. That demonstrates focus.

  • ChrisL

    Feb 21, 2008 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #23

    Apart from the “everything will be alright when Shearer joins up” I agree totally. We’re in a mess as a club.
    But I have faith that we’ll cling on to the prem & move forward some, next season (probably not Europe yet though).

  • Dragoner

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #24

    it is true that freddy was an awful chairman, but the ones we have now are not that superior to him. Just look at what they have done already.

    hardly any money for transfers

    sacking a manager in the TRANSFER WINDOW

    failing to get the manager they wanted and trying desperately to cover it up with pathetic PR

    people need to ask some serious questions.

    Why would the board back sam only a few days before sacking him?

    why were we in talks with clubs if it was never our aim to buy anyone in january?

    why hasn’t an assistant manager been appointed yet?

  • Dragoner

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #25

    keegan was appointed to keep newcastle fans happy so that they wouldnt have to spend money in january…cheapskates

  • Dragoner

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #26

    We have one of the richest chairmans in the EPL yet you would think we were broke. Newcastle need to stop with this “pro-english” bullshit.

    english owner, enlish chairman, english manager, english players….ENGLISH ARE CRAP!

    all this stuff about the top teams losing their “roots” is just shit! they aren’t the ones being laughed at every single week.

  • mikeygd

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #27

    All those already starting to doubt what kevin keegan can do then please remind yourself

  • Berks via Gateshead

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #28

    Mac – your choice of players would be great but totally unrealistic. It’s a plague afflicting us Geordies – totally unrealistic views of our pulling power.

    Carrick – not a chance! He plays the majority of games for MUFC at the mo with Hargreaves being injured so often. Why leave MUFC for NUFC?
    Bentley – would go only to a top 4 side. Arrogant little Cockney.
    Dunne – Why would he leave MCFC for NUFC?
    Bridge – Is keeping Cole out of CFC. Again, why would he join NUFC?
    Ashton – possible but unlikely.
    Crouch – Benitez wouldn’t sell him. Plus – why leave LFC for NUFC?

    The only players we will attract in the next 3 years will be either:
    – young, inexperienced & unknown but full of potential;
    – Old, experienced, effective professionals with a few years left in the tank;
    – Slightly over-the-hill superstars wanting one last pay-day; or
    – Foreign & ready to take the NUFC dollar.

    Nothing wrong with any of the above as long as they take pride in their shirt and play to their potential.

    I’ve had enough of whinging. We are where we are – let’s get behind the lads and roar on our progress.

  • Zx

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #29

    I have no doubt KK can do the job. He needs time to turn things around. At least a summer to put us back into the top half of the table.

    Alan Smith, Nicky Butt. They are good players and are committed even though they are not playing very well. Support the team by supporting all the players, give them confidence. I believe they are trying very hard to turn things around.

    Don’t put too much hope on us beating Man Utd. Meanwhile, keep the faith that we will survive the relegation battle. Survival is the short term target, nothing else matters.

  • Eric

    Feb 21, 2008 at 4:39 PM

    Comment #30

    Well said Berks via Gateshead. No one gave us a chance last time we did Manky U for five. We did it though – and in style. They can be beaten. So can arse and all. There comes a time in everybody’s life – and that applies to the top 4 just as much as anybody else.


    Feb 21, 2008 at 5:08 PM

    Comment #31

    Dragoner havent you got anything better to do than slag of our club

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 21, 2008 at 5:40 PM

    Comment #32

    Agree with Dragoner, people always so oh he english this is english but english is crap and the quality english is bloody expensive.

  • Toon for life.

    Feb 21, 2008 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #33

    Good points, Ed.

    But I think it all depends on who we bring in the summer. Look at Portsmouth two years ago. Staring relegation in the face. Some money and they’re now challenging for europe. Newcastle for me have major, major potential. It just hasn’t been realised yet. Next season probably 8th/9th. Season after though(if we keep Keegan) I can see us challenging top 5. Easily.

  • cooldj

    Feb 21, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    Comment #34

    i hate to be the one that says this but technically newcastle is in europe. now if you’d said newcastle was miles away from Africa then yeah, that’s a different matter.

  • cooldj

    Feb 21, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    Comment #35

    only joking by the way

    and can i just add that i COMPLETELY AGREE WITH DRAGONER over his point that “english are crap”. (well at managing at least)

    I’ve been banging on for ages that we should appoint a foreign manager. all the best clubs have foreign managers- every single one. Why should we suffer just because we are pro english.

  • cooldj

    Feb 21, 2008 at 6:16 PM

    Comment #36

    I wanted us to have a stab at getting a quality foreign manager even when kk was linked. I’ll support him because of what he did and the way he played-It sounds Krul but its true. My cries fell on Duff ears Butt Given this fact I’m gOwen to keep supporting him until I Carr n’t no more when I’m Forster to stop because he leaves for whatever reason.

    Beye Beye now.

  • Dragoner

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:06 PM

    Comment #37

    lol @ cool

  • Dragoner

    Feb 21, 2008 at 11:09 PM

    Comment #38

    Craigg i aint “slagging off our club” i am just stating what seems to be the obvious. I am usually fairly positive regardless of the situation we are in, but i cant take it anymore, we are constantly being led by idiots who consistently make the wrong decisions. that goes for everything from team selection, all the way to managerial appointments. I am sick of it!

  • Mr T

    Feb 22, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #39

    we’re nowhere in the domestic hierachy, nevermind europe.


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