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. KIMTOON
    were he needs to make his runs into the box stright down the middle ya will get a lot more goals from him if he dos that in my opion

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  2. but he would of defo being geting a good boot up the jacksy last season if i was carver

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  3. TAE/Kim – the reality is that every club is a selling club, and if Spuds get a big offer for Kane then they should take it – and spend the money more wisely than the Bale money. When you consider Kane wasn’t close to the first team before this season, then even Β£20m would have been considered big money.

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  4. he just seems the sort of player you sometimes need to pull to 1 side and stick an arm round him and give him some words of wisdom and other times a good kick up the behind

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  5. SHARPY17
    i hear what ya saying bud but it will be a gamble either way in my opion

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  6. I always hoped that Sissoko would develop into a bit of a Keane or Vieira type midfielder. A dominating midfielder who could lead & drive the team forward when it’s needed. I hoped he’d become a leader & possibly a future captain – but he seems to be more interested in leaving us than leading us

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  7. TAE – I know mate, my thinking is that Spuds have been heavily dependant on Kane this season for their goals. If they got Henandez & used the money to get say Berahino and someone else then they have better options. If Kanes injured then they are screwed – similar with Lpool and Sturridge this season

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  8. SHARPY17
    do you think his form could be something to do with tiote out of the side he seems better to me when tiotes there and a lot of the time i felt he was siting to deep? and agree hes defo that type of player that should be driveing the team forward

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  9. TAE, Sissoko always seemed to link up well with Cisse but I just think his mind is elsewhere.

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  10. TAE – no mate, I just don’t think he had the stomach for it if I’m honest – he wasn’t alone mind so I’m not pinning the blame on him.
    But I do think his comment about McClaren this week was a bit disrespectful – no idea who he is but good luck to him’. – to me that’s a comment from someone who doesn’t think he’ll be working with the fella next season.
    When you consider McClaren has been front runner for the job since Jan, you would have thought Sissoko could have Wiki’ed the ****er before now.

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  11. Gash – that’s for clearing that up mate, Wiki has got nowt on the guy – poor ****er. I hope McClaren does bring Steele & in particular Round in with him. He seems a good defensive coach and worked with Moyes at Everton & Man U as well. He has also spent time at NUFC when fat Sam was here.

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  12. I’ll be amazed if he’s allowed to bring in any of his own people. It would make Carver, Stone and Woodman redundant and they won’t pay them off.

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  13. Stu – I think they will allow Woodman to leave for a nominal fee, if it means McClaren getting who he wants. I reckon Stone could be moved over to work with Pedro so he can have Round in, or they may just leave Stone in place & bring Round in anyway – he was part time at Derby, so that could be an option too.

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  14. I really wanted Ian Holloway as our next manager. Just imagine the commentary after the match. The guys a genius at talking to the press

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  15. I am really glad to hear that Steve may be given some lee way on new coaches, even if it ends up as MM’s Auf Weidersehen Pet bench. As I have said before, move Ugly John to the U21s. I think he might actually do an OK job as they are more his level. In an ideal world he would be humiliated enough to just leave. In any case, this is the U21 record this year:

    Won 3
    Drew 4
    Lost 11

    Beardsley is not pulling his weight either and i would not be fussed if he was moved back to his “Ambassador” role to make way for Carver.

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  16. Eric if SM turn’s the job down then Ian Holloway is the man to turn things around for me. His won promotion twice with two championship team’s and that’s better than SM record at championship level. Millwall might want some compensation which I think Ashley can afford.

    Peter Beardsley always says nice thing’s about Ashley and how he runs the club. His going nowhere.

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  17. Stem: Beardsley was demoted to “Ambassador” once before. They like to have him connected to the club for PR but he might not be up to coaching, however great a player he was.

    I know people might think all I do is moan about the coaches but that is because I think they are way below our standard and have proved it. The corners and the Willo free kick proved it as we all know. Get shot of the lot of ’em.

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  18. And Woodman: does he have any drills with Timmy where they simulate game backpasses? I mean have a specific couple of hours where they have players lining up like in a game and have him do what he would do in a game? If they do, they could have fooled me, because he has regressed and a lot of that is confidence. I know Willo doesn’t inspire it but Colo and Janmaat are good ball players and Dummett and Colback aren’t bad either. He should not always be hoofing to midgets.

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  19. Don’t get me wrong on Timmy, I always thought his distribution was terrible. That was down to him and Woodman and probably not enough practice of real game situations where he would be pressured. I just think that he has got even worse if that was possible.

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  20. ERIC SYKES
    dint make me laugh about collo hes been past it 3 years now πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

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  21. weak butt in the air ,weak in the tackle,me mar can jog faster than he can and shes 69, never in the right place at the right time and if theres a way to mess it up collo will find it,worst captain i ever seen to boot,you will be cracking on next he deserves another contract 😯

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  22. limitations is hardly the word i would use liablity would be more like it πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

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  23. and peeps wonder why krul lacks conferdence so would i if i was him with laurel and hardy in front of me

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  24. them centre backs are the reason the front fella always seems isolated, the rest of the teams siting so deep trying to cover there weak butts why we lack punch

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  25. if they not got rid of this time next year we will be champship side of that im sure

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  26. TAE: I was not defending Colo and agree with much of what you say about the team being set up to defend weak centre backs. Krul’s didtribution is still sh!t though.

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  27. Dd Gea had the same problem with weak centre backs and his distribution was light years ahead of Kruls.

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  28. but at least 1 time this season his defenders have sold him out with back pass on 1 he wernt expecting it and wernt even ready to kick it

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  29. So QPR have slapped a Β£15M price tag on Austin. Next ?
    Chelsea want Β£10M for Bumford.
    Next. ?
    And this is the reality check that shows Β£60M budget is not going to be enough to fully rebuild this squad.
    It’s even worse as everyone knows we are desperate and hike up the asking price.
    The clueless crew have their work cut out for them in negotiations.
    Not so clever anymore Mikey.

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  30. Boots, We will get the usual rhetoric that English players don’t provide value for money. The fact that they are proven PL goal scorers and could be the difference between safety and relegation won’t enter the equation. πŸ™„

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  31. Kimtoon: judging by the match against Ireland yesterday there is not much value for money with English players πŸ™‚

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  32. Eric, Stirling is starting to look a greedy little brat imo. He’s at a good club who, with some good additions could challenge.

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  33. Let’s be honest, when a club just avoids relegation by the skin of their teeth it means they need to improve. Selling clubs know that and will just bump their prices up. Add to that the prices will have gone up as everyone knows the new TV deal starts next year.

    I’m sorry to say but there just isn’t any value Out there anymore and we all know we live value. We even turn down long term targets on free transfers because we don’t see value in them!

    Just a shambolic football club on every level in my opinion.

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  34. Stu , I’ve just done an article on that issue. Waiting for Dave to post it, so hold your fire mate πŸ˜†

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  35. SO DANNY INGS IS OFF TO LIVERPOOL.
    WE MIGHT HAVE TO GET USED TO THIS QUEEN SONG:

    Oh! Let’s go!

    Steve walks warily down the street
    With the brim pulled way down low.
    Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet,
    Machine guns ready to go.

    Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this?
    Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
    Out of the doorway the bullets rip
    To the sound of the beat

    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone, and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust!

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  36. Those are the actual lyrics, Freddy does sing “Steve walks warily down the street”. We should amend it to “Schteve”.

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  37. From the daily mail:

    After leaving United when David Moyes arrived, Steele worked for the Nike Academy at St George’s Park, the Premier League – ‘they wanted someone to go round on the new EPPP’ – and led coaching courses for the FA.

    ‘Then Steve got in touch,’ says Steele. ‘He said, ‘I have a chance of a really good job in the Championship.’ I said, ‘I ain’t travelling.’ I’ve lived in the Derbyshire area for 31 years. Four days later, Steve said, ‘Steeley, it’s 12.4 miles to the iPro from your house. I’ll see you tomorrow at 4 o’clock.’

    ‘I’ve enjoyed it. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve worked with. Great vision. Evolutionary. It’s based on winning but people have enjoyed the football we’ve played. The owners have been terrific backing him. We’ll finish the highest average gate in the Championship. The fans are unbelievable. The club has always been part of the community.’

    Newcastle, Steele’s boyhood club, have recognised the work done by McClaren and would like the 53-year-old as head coach come summer. Steele is too long in the tooth to rule anything out.

    ‘In football, everything is a possibility,’ he says. ‘I am a Geordie born and bred, and a good friend of mine, Peter Beardsley, still works for the club. All I would say is I am contracted and loyal to Derby County Football Club.

    ‘I have to do my best for the next four, hopefully seven games. Then everyone will sit down at the end, assess that, and say, ‘Where do we go from here?’

    Slightly contradictary on not wanting to travel from Derbyshire and failing to rule us out, He has certainly worked at some big clubs & so too has Steve Round. Would be both be good for us IMHO

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