Champion’s League Finalists Versus The Toon

Back when The Magpies mixed it with the elite.
Back when The Magpies mixed it with the elite.
There was a time when Newcastle United were regularly involved in football competitions on a European level. Tonight Juventus and Barcelona face off at the very pinnacle of club football competitions, so lets take the opportunity to reminisce over the times our club faced off against these Giants on the Continent.

We have faced off against Barcelona 4 times in the group stages of the Champion’s League – twice in the 1997/1998 season and a further two times in the 2002/2003 season. So, how did we fare? That year, we were drawn in Group C of the Champion’s League alongside Barcelona, Dinamo Kiev and PSV Eindhoven. We had featured in the UEFA Cup previously, but this was our first time mixing it with the cream of European football in modern times. Our first game was at home to Barcelona on 17th September 1997. It was a magical night of football, made unforgettable by Tino Asprilla’s 49 minute hat-trick putting us 3-0 up to the excitement of the home crowd and manager Kenny Dalglish. Kevin Keegan had resigned in January of the same year. Barcelona launched fight back with Luis Enrique and future Ballon d’Or winner Luis Figo scoring in the last 10 minutes. Despite this, we hung on to win 3-2 for what was one of the most famous victories in the club’s history. Keith Gillespie was also exceptional that night.

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Warren Barton, John Beresford, Steve Watson, Phillipe Albert, John Barnes, David Batty, Rob Lee, Tino Asprilla, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Keith Gillespie.

Barcelona: Ruud Hesp, Sergei Barjuan, Nadal, Michael Riziger, Luis Figo, Luis Enrique, De La Pena, Celades, Anderson, RivaldoEmmanuel Amunike.

You can watch long highlights here or a rather beautiful short clip here.

Unfortunately Newcastle Nearly Man King Kenny could not sustain us for the rest of the campaign and we would go on to lose the reverse fixture 1-0 thanks to a Giovanni strike and ultimately crash out of the competition in 3rd place with 7 points. It should be noted though that Barcelona did not top the group – they finished 4th behind us! Our other 4 points came against Kiev – who topped the group. Figure that one out..

The next time we would face Barcelona was in the second Group stage of the 2002/2003. But to get there, we had to qualify from the first group stage – where we would face the Old Lady of Italian football – Juventus. By now the late great (and personally my favourite ever manager) Sir Bobby Robson was at the helm of the Toon, having taken over in 1999.We were drawn in Group E alongside Dinamo Kiev (again), Feyenoord and Juve. I remember this group vividly because we started off badly, losing our first 3 games and looking certain to go crashing out as a laughing stock. Then the turning point came just 3 weeks after going down 2-0 to Juve in Turin thanks to strikes by now other than Alesandro Del Piero. We were back at St. James’ Park again on the 23rd October and the unlikeliest of hero’s secured a vital 3 points for us. His name was Andy Griffin. Watch the goal here and note John Carver amongst the staff. He has played a part in some great nights down the years. I always did like Andy Griffin, particularly for marshaling a certain David Ginola so well in an FA Cup game versus Tottenham.

Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Andy O’Brien, Andy Griffin, Titus Bramble, Aaron Hughes, Nolberto Solano, Jermaine Jenus, Gary Speed, Laurent Robert, Alan Shearer, Lomana Lua Lua.

Juventus: Gianluca Buffon, Ciro Ferrara, Mark Iuliano, Alesandro Birindelli, Lilian Thuram, Alessio Tacchinardi, Pavel Nedved, Mauro Camoranesi, Edgar Davids, Alesndro Del Piero, Marco Di Viao.

We would go on to beat Kiev 2-1 thanks to strikes by the greats Gary Speed and Alan Shearer before completing an astonishing turnaround by defeating Feyenoord 3-2 away from home. Craig Bellamy scored in injury time to take us through…Talk about drama!

We would move into phase two in Group A alongside Inter Milan, Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen. We kicked off the group getting battered by Inter 4-1. 3 down by half time, Nobby Solano puled one back only for Alvaro Recoba to complete the route. We then visited the Nou Camp and went down by 3 goals to 1, with none other than certified Mackem Slayer Shola Ameobi getting on the score sheet. We were being schooled at this level, but blimey was it an experience! Next up we travelled to Germany and beat Leverkusen 3-1. Our Shola scoring twice to show his Barca exploits were no fluke. On the return leg Big Al would score a hat-trick to secure a vital Group A lifeline. We had to beat Inter in Italy to have any chance of progressing and despite a Big Al brace, Christian Vieri and Ivan Cordoba would respond to secure the draw INter needed to knock us out of the Competition. We had one game left – a home tie with Barcelona and an opportunity to replicte the glorious 1997 victory, but ultimately typical comedy Titus Bramble defending was always just a moment away and Kluivert took advantage to set Barcelona on their way to a 2-0 victory.

I’d give Mike Ashley’s right arm and Lee Charnley’s spectacles for nights like that again…

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

127 thoughts on “Champion’s League Finalists Versus The Toon

  1. Thanks Shamrock, or should I say, did you have to. Remember it all too well which is why I’m so miserable now I suppose. God bless Tino who sent me into raptures that night. Ah, them was the days, never to be repeated under this tosser. 👿

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  2. It wasn’t about the winning
    but the taking part
    and giving it a bloody good go
    Oh how I dream for them days again.

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  3. I also wish the fat ******* would take a massive heart attack and die, but hey ho.

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  4. Boots – from the previous thread. So if we got Laudrup or De Boer in, what do you realistically believe they would achieve?.

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  5. Kim – better to have loved & lost than never to have loved at all. There are some fans out there who have never experienced such nights.

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  6. Shamrock they were the best day’s in the champions league. I never forget that day when Tino Asprilla scored that hatrick and all the commentator’s said we were going to lose. I also remember that one nil win over Juventus. Harper had an amazing game as goal keeper. I really miss champions league nights.

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  7. Europa League doesn’t even come close to champions league footy. I wish for those day’s again. Mike doesn’t understand any of that it’s all about the balance sheet to him.

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  8. Sharpy – who mentioned them guys ?
    Not me.
    I just asked you what you considered ‘doing a good job’ would entail and offered a suggestion.
    But to answer your reply question:
    Laudrop wouldn’t last til xmas and De Boer wouldn’t even entertain us in the first place.
    The club is a basket case and Schteve is the best we can do right now.
    If/when he achieves the targets I set out, then what ?

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  9. I ask that, because we could easily attain those lofty heights with the addition of a couple key players.
    Hmmmm sounds like a plan 😕

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  10. Beardsley Boots we don’t have the owner mate. A decent manager would be wasted here. If we added to the team that finished 5th we still wouldn’t get champions league under Pardew. It was a 1 off that season but it would take a miracle to achieve that again especially under Ashley’s regrime. I can’t understand why we got rid of Guthrie and Simpson ?

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  11. Cheese us Stem.
    It’s not about a decent manager.
    It’s about the whole ethos of the club.
    We are not set up to achieve anything except merely to exist in the EPL and as an advertising hoarding for the fat mans tat shop.
    This season was too close for comfort though and needs a little fine tuning.
    A new head coach and a couple new players in key positions should help.
    Bring on the mediocrity and be grateful

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  12. Don’t forget 50k crowd at the first home match of next season is a given.

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  13. Beardsley Boots I know what you mean mate. Just don’t know how to get rid of that fat slug. He might crash his helicopter one day and that’s the best we can hope for.

    Night all

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  14. Sharpy, was me mentioned De Boer and Laudrup. Not too bothered about the latter, but I think de Boer would be a great fit, used to bringing players through an academy and having little money to spend and who’s job is to coach the players made available to him. Sounds a lot like the job description. And he likes to try and play attractive attacking football. At a time when there were polls online offering a choice of 8-10 managers he was the overwhelming fans favourite, so I know I’m not alone.
    What do I think he would achieve? If nothing else some excitement and the potential promise of a new era, challenging and trying to win.
    Like I also mentioned, I’m not as dour on McClaren as a lot of others and have mentioned a few times I think he may do a decent job if given the backing he needs to do so. Unfortunately I also think to get the best out of him, he needs to be able to bring in his own staff. I don’t see how keeping the entire same coaching set up and just changing the figurehead/scapegoat is going to change much, if anything.
    Time will tell on both fronts.

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  15. Besides, the comment was more aimed at an annoyance that someone like that might be refused an opportunity to at least be interviewed, even if the club are convinced they’ll want McClaren. A little close-minded and short-sighted by my book.

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  16. McClaren could be a good appointmenk and the key for is to bring the best of Dummett Lascelles Haidara Abeid Vuckic Cabella Ayoze Sammy Aarons de Jong and Armstrong. Then our squad would be much stronger. If Austin doesnt come, bring back Carroll and make the perfect complement to Ayoze, Armstrong and Cabella. Next season, Cabella should be used as foward in the 442 in the Bellamy role if he plays.

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  17. Stem I think Guthrie went because he justvdis not have that drive/killer instinct to push on. Look at him now, released by Reading.

    It will interesting see what happens to the squad this window. I’m not holding my breath, but one can hope.

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  18. Cholo, I like Andy but bringing him back is a waste of time and money, he is simply too injury prone, we have enough of that with Saylor .

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  19. Shamrock good read, funny thing is I was thinking some of the same while watching the UCL final. It seems like such a long time ago now, and I dare say it will be a long time before it happens again.

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  20. I was a very big fan of Carroll but there is noway he will be back playing for us and to be honest I think he would be a waste of money, as Kim says he is always injuried and has been from he left us.

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  21. Taken from Chron article.

    But there will be no move for Andre Ayew, the Marseille free agent who was interesting them earlier in the year. United do not think he represents value for money.

    Isn’t he a free agent ❓ I know there are signing on fees and wages but even so.

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  22. Kim it’s probably got more to do with the fact Ayew wants european football. It puts us out of the race immediately. Remy won’t get that at Palace next season so he won’t go there. His happier being a bench warmer and to be fair Chelsea don’t really need him.

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  23. I have watched Marseilles quite a few times and Gignac is another free agent. He is 29 and until a few weeks ago we would not have considered him, but he is a good player and probably would like a PL pay day.

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  24. Kim, let’s be honest..what the **** would the chronicle know about the Ayew deal! …I’ll take wild stab in the dark and say, sweet **** all!

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  25. as much as a mug I feel supporting the toon under fatty I’m gonna get behind SM if he’s given money to spend. 👿

    There’s too much negativity on here which is manifesting into a whiny blog… . lets give him the benefit of the doubt and support the clubs decision. 🙄

    IF we don’t spend, then fair enough, but he may turn out to be a decent signing..

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  26. Gashley: I got what I wanted – Pardew gone and Carver demoted. If it is Steve as Manager I am getting behind him. I don’t know if you recall, but I listed many times why Carver should not be in charge when he was made caretaker. I won’t be making any such lists, I want to see how Steve does.

    If rumors of Lee Clarke are true it might be a way to push Carver further down the pecking order.

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  27. “There was a time when Newcastle United were regularly involved in football competitions on a European level.”……….so were Leeds United, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Lokomotiv Leipzig once upon a time.
    There were also periods when we were pish avoiding relegation and being downright average….before and after the Hall’s and Shepherds’, and in fact that is exactly where the club is heading, back to the status quo of mid-table mediocracy…

    Dream on Champions League dreamers, Ashley included…because it’s a load of a codswallop… Ashley’s blather was just a sound bite for Sky to put down the delusional Geordies in the eyes of the whole nation who have been getting on his and that nice Mr Pardew’s back… Jamie Carragher called it exactly right…

    Not trying to be a negger or owt like 🙂

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  28. Gashley@31, before you get behind the legendary Steve McClaren could you share something positive with us on “the whiney blog” so that we can all get our toon spirits up ? 😉 😆

    The thought of Lee Clark coming in and the toon bench sounding like episode 7 of Aufwiedersehen Pet really has my blood pumping…
    apart from that I can’t find much else mate… oh, hang on the leak at the Gallowgate End has been repaired but that is old news… 😆

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  29. MM I don’t believe for a second Ashley intends to bring us CL football under his stewardship.

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  30. We would have to near on spend 80m year on year simply to complete with the top 4 teams. I don’t balme Ashley for the lack of CL football.., I blame the mega spending and silly debt that teams have fattened themselves on… apart from the odd wildcard, the rich teams have a stranglehold on the competition!
    We were spending our share of coin when we were playing in Europe…It goes hand in hand…

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  31. MM: I am hoping that if it is Lee Clark and he is brought in above Carver then it will humiliate Carver enough for him to leave. At the very least he will have less responsibility. It has nothing to do with Geordies, I want Carver as far away from the first team as possible and this would be the new coach (Steve?) playing politics to do that.

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  32. Austin and Richards would definitely be a good start but I wonder if it will only be to replace Janmatt, who will be off to Man U or wherever. I would replace Cisse with Austin however. I think he would get us more goals and hold the ball up better. Hopefully Austin doesn’t do to well for England today if he plays!

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  33. @mm 😀
    I’m part of the whiny blog mate. The only positive is its a fresh start, new players are hopefully coming in and a potential shake up with the coaching setup. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy with SM but Pard’s got us to 5th and he was out of work with a poor record before he signed.

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  34. Gash@40, I “know” you mate, and know where you stand 😆 😆 …no probs there…

    I want to build on the happiness of still being in the EPL, but can’t move forward yet until the diddy’s running the club come back from there much-earned team building holiday at Haggerstone Castle……and unleash a whole muckle wad of new signings on us…

    Troy and Stuart79 will be scampering like lintys to renew there season tickets… 😆

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  35. Eric@38, you could be onto something there, I also can imagine Clarky wedged between Stone and Carver on the Aufwiedersehen Pet bench……Shearer will be getting a right blob on there being left out, although he does have his new statue and another year of that nice Gary Lineker to look forward too…

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  36. @MM 😆

    who knows. maybe theyre @Haggerston having a hush-hush meeting with Carlton Cole, secretly rushed in by a national express coach..

    My positive outlook may only last a matter of weeks 😀 👿 but I’m trying…

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  37. we either have to try and be positive with the new HC and get behind him, or call it a day once and for all.
    The negativity can’t continue surely.
    I’m with Eric on the whole Carver thing. If Schteve can get rid of him, it can only be a good thing. Not just him, the whole sorry lot can go for me.
    A clean sweep is needed and a fresh approach.
    Then start rebuilding the squad and get this train wreck of a club back on track.
    Toot Toot

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  38. I must say I am a little underwhelmed by the quality of player we seem to be getting linked with.

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  39. Simon…Heard earlier in the week he was but no idea if true or not…and if truth be told not really that bothered 😐

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  40. Thanks Richie, know what you mean, but think it might work out as in coach with love of the club but a major step up from Caver

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  41. Paul Scholes is the best pundit ever. He called the England game a waste of an afternoon and an end of season waste of space. Class.

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  42. The bottom line is he’s a top talent, Read some of the comments from the Milan supporters who are desperate to keep him

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  43. CC
    when ya say read the comments you mean all 1 of them 😆 we need a blooming left footed free kick expert and a right footed free kick expert lets look there 1st eh after we sort out the cbs 😆

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  44. Looks like Ayew is off to West Ham. We didn’t think he offered value for money! I mean, he’s only a free transfer!!

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  45. Boots – sorry mate I’ve been at graft all day, I wasn’t ignoring you. But I’ve since seen your post @45 and agree with you.
    It’s up to the individual, but I try and stay realistic when it comes to NUFC. I think best case scenario for us, whether it’s McClaren or Ashley or whoever is likely going to be trying for Europa and hope for cup runs. The top 4 for many years now has been made up of Man Utd, City, Chelsea & Arsenal. Liverpool & Spurs have tried & failed to break in – buying & selling players for big money along the way.
    If any new manager coming in can make us a consistent top 8 side and take us on cup runs, then that would be them doing a good job IMO.

    Any manager coming in that can achieve more than 15 points in the 2nd half of a season would be a success at the minute like 😆

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  46. SHARPY17
    sssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    leave the deal making to to tae bud 😯 😆 😆

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  47. TAE – you go for it buddy, you’d get my vote to replace Charnley if you could get Kane in. I read he’s a £50m target of Man Utd 😯

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  48. Also just read that Ashley is stepping down off the board and looking for 2 new members – his replacement & Irvings replacement for Financial director. If he’s going to stick to his promises in his interview, I would hope the best possible candidate gets the job and not just a promotion from within – or one of Ashleys mates, as per the usual MO.

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  49. SHARPY17
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< would want to see him for another season 1st meself to see if he carrys on from were he left off last season,could be a 1 off season but i dont think so but 50 million a lot of dosh

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  50. TAE – if I were Spurs I would take Henandez plus as much cash as possible for Kane and cash in on his good season. If they could get £20-30m that would allow them to get at least 1 other top CF in, which is what they need IMO.

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  51. If/when McClaren comes in, I think it’s highly likely that he will bring Steve Round with him. He’s a defensive coach which McClaren had at Boro, England and he brought him in on a part-time basis at Derby.
    He’ll probably also allow Woodman to leave for Palace and bring Eric Steele in as GK coach – who has worked with some top keepers in his time.

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  52. SHARPY17
    might be tempted to hang on to him meself he carrys on were he left off get double that for him next summer,but would need a good think about it 1st if i was them

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  53. Sharpy17@69, that’s me showing my age but you do know Eric Steele played for the toon ?….. in fact I’m sure I saw him play once over….

    another Geordie on the Aufwiedersehen Pet bench…. 🙂

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  54. Agree on Kane, looks a very good player but they need to see if he can replicate it again , He could be like Andy Carroll, one good season then all down hill.
    Can’t see Sissoko to spurs tbh, if he moves it would be to a bigger team or not at all. Not that he’s all that great like, it’s more what he thinks he’s worth.

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  55. KIMTOON
    i think sissiko is a very good player hes alot better than what we saw last season,i dont think his hearts in it meself his minds on greener grass in my opion thats what i thinks wrong

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  56. Munich – he started out with us didn’t he?. Before my time like, but I’m not sure if he’s a Geordie lad or not to be honest. He’s worked with some bloody good keepers though.

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  57. TAE, Agree, when he applies himself he is excellent but as you say he often looks like his heart is elsewhere. Mind you when he scored in the last game he was kissing the badge, not that that means much 🙄

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