Steven Taylor is the only player who is still at Newcastle who played in our last European game at St. James’ Park back in Match of 2007, when we beat AZ Alkmaar 4-2, and were three goals up after only 23 minutes of that game. Steve Harper was a sub on the bench with Shay Given in goal.
Steven Taylor – played in Newcastle’s last European game
However we were beaten in the return leg at Alkmaar 2-0 the following Thursday, and we were eliminated on away goals.
Steven has been interviews in The Times today and says that terrible relegation of three years ago actually helped Newcastle in the long run:
“The best thing for Newcastle was getting relegated.” “For me, that knocked everyone down to size; club, players, fans, even the media in a way because the expectations seeped away.”
“When I think about five years ago, the club felt like Big Brother. There was always something happening, always drama.” “But those days are gone and that’s important. That’s why we’ve been able to move on as a team and as a club.”
“We’ve got players who actually want to be here and do well for the club. It’s not about the pay packet.” “Sometimes in the past, the dressing room looked like a group of islands – the foreigners stuck together, the young lads, the old heads.”
“That can’t happen now. We’re such a small squad that everybody has got to mix.” “People would finish training and go straight home. I wouldn’t see them until the next day and you wouldn’t get much conversation out of them.”
“Sometimes you’d hardly speak to the players you were lining up with on a Saturday. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we’re succeeding now.” “This feels like an exciting time.” “After everything this club has been through, it feels like we can deal with anything.”
“We raised the bar by finishing fifth last season and we want to improve – that’s the pressure we’ve got.” “But after everything this club has been through, it feels like we can deal with anything. We want to make the most of it.”
“We left St James’ Park after the first game back in March of 2007 with everyone thinking, ‘This might be Newcastle’s year’.” “We took it for granted that the game was dead and buried – we all believed we’d qualified. That was our biggest mistake.”
“And then we went to Alkmaar, took our foot off the gas, and everything went wrong.”
It’s unlikely that Steven will start tonight, as Alan Pardew needs to keep some top players back for the game at Chelsea which kicks off at 5:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.
And with Shola Ameobi and Demba Ba both injured, we have only Papiss Cisse and 17 year-old Adam Campbell as recognized strikers in the squad, which is why we think Adam will get his chance tonight.
Pardew may pack the midfield and play only Papiss up front, at least at the start of the game, but we’re almost certain Adam will come on, and become the youngest player ever to play for Newcastle in Europe.
If that happens he will beat the record held by the then 17 year-old Andy Carroll, who played at Palermo back in November of 2006, and Tim Krul made his first team debt for the club in that game too at just 18 years old – a game which Newcastle won 1-0 and Tim was Man of the Match with a brilliant display.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org