It’s not surprising that Newcastle’s opponents in the 4th qualifying round of the Europa League, Greek side Atromitos, are already holding their hands up and saying they have no chance against such a big name club like Newcastle United, who play on such a famous ground as St James’ Park.
Giorgos Spanos – Atromitos owner
But that’s the kind of stuff we would expect from our opponents as the mind games have begun, and on the other side of things Alan Pardew has already said it will be a difficult couple of games for Newcastle, because after all we will be playing largely our second eleven in those games.
Of course if the lads play like they did at Gateshead on Tuesday night, we should have no worries at all.
The Greek side’s owner, Giorgos Spanos, has said he would have preferred to play any other side in their section than Newcastle, who of course finished 5th in the Premier League last season and above current European Champions Chelsea and five times European Champions Liverpool.
Atromitos have played in Europe only once before – six years ago – which interestingly enough is the last time Newcastle were in Europe – and they lost to Seville in the then UEFA Cup in the their very first tie.
Spanos bought the Athens-based club in 2005, and thinks it’s going to be very tough for his side:
“I think we would have had a better chance against Hapoel Tel Aviv, AZ Alkmaar or even Partizan Belgrade. This is going to be very difficult for us against a team from a much higher level.”
“I suppose it is a big chance for our team to see what we can do against a very big name, but we are not expecting too much. Newcastle are strong and would expect to go through.”
“I see this as a great opportunity for our players, who are still learning about football, to experience the atmosphere of such a famous ground like St James’ Park.”
As we reported yesterday the Peristeri Stadium has a capacity of 10,200, and the club have trouble filling their stadium for the home games, and it will be interesting to see how many Newcastle fans will travel for the game, since it’s a great location.
It’s the first time since the 2006-2007 season that Newcastle fans will be able to travel to support Newcastle in European competition, and we have a feeling there will be another good turn out to support the lads.
The Greek club’s coach Dusan Bajevic, shown above, also thinks it will be a tough draw for the small Greek club:
“It’s a tough draw.” “English football is very popular worldwide and has its own characteristics.” “We will try with all our might.”
And Alan Pardew is not one to underestimate any club Newcastle play, whichever level they are at.
And the Magpies manager will have his coaches quickly doing their homework on the Greek side, as the Londoner prepares to launch Newcastle back into European competition for the first time in six seasons.
Sounds good to us.