This will cement Newcastle United reputation and stature back as a proper and professional football club

This will cement Newcastle United reputation and stature back as a proper and professional football club

Following on from the excellent Newcastle United draw away at AC Milan, there are some positives to glean, despite the undertone of disappointment that emanated from some quarters after the game.

The euphoria I and 50,000 others experienced at St James’ Park against Leicester City at the end of last season, when confirmation that Champions League football was secure, won’t leave me. The impossible dream had been achieved.

Dissenter: “But we’ll only draw away at AC Milan in the first game next season”. Me: 2Oooh, really? Well I suppose we’ll have to slum it then”. Do me a favour.

On hearing the game had ended (I was working) I was ecstatic, honestly delighted. The first game back in the Champions League in 20 years and we’d gone toe to toe with a giant of the competition and drew, in their own backyard. Work flew by after that.

Getting back home, my internet was down but I muddled through to get access to some highlights and by 2am, caught a glimpse of the action.

In short, it was evident by what I saw (and some of the stats) that we had rode our luck, heavily relied on a top goalkeeping display from Nick Pope and got away with the point.

So why the disappointment? Most lesser skilled teams do that away from home in the PREMIER LEAGUE, never mind Europe. We probably SHOULD have got beat but we DIDN’T. Point achieved.

Now, I’m firmly in the camp that the Champions League is merely an adventure for us at the moment and that the Premier League is our bread and butter. That is why whatever happens in Europe needs to be taken as an aside to what goes on in the League. Some fans may not like that but that’s unfortunately the way it is. Or is it?

I’ve weighed up the Champions League group we’ve been placed in, the “Group of Death” if you like… and to be honest, the fact that we’ve been given three massive and some say arduous teams to face, could play into our hands. We’ve got a point on the board, from a very tricky fixture, which is important, now we have to face PSG, Dortmund and finally Milan at St James’ Park before Christmas.

Now let’s say we get nothing from the away games against Dortmund and PSG, where will we end up if we were to nick just two wins from the three home games? Seven points would be respectable for me but likely not be enough. Or will it?

Looking back through the last few seasons, you need three wins as a minimum to get through to the next stage. Or do you?

The “Group of Death” holds a hidden positive, for Newcastle United at least.

The other teams could quite feasibly take points off each other and thus aiding our cause somewhat. A few draws between the other three and the odd win from ourselves could just sneak us through. Two wins? Seven points could be massive. Not necessarily good enough in previous years, but in a competitive group, who knows. It would surely give us the safety net of the Europe League.

Worst case scenario, we drop out of Europe altogether and have no further (European) commitments going into the second half of the season and in turn be fully focused on a crack at getting back there to the TOP table next season and it’s THIS that is crucial.

Our domestic form must pick up regardless of what we do against your ACs and PSGs. Focus must now turn to Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon.

Wherever we end up on the European front, I’m happy and positive with our start to life back in and amongst the elite. Nobody said it would be easy, but we must make sure that this season, isn’t just the briefest of dalliances with this competition.

Like I’ve said, it’s an adventure and one that will cement our reputation, revenue and stature back as a proper and professional football club once more.

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