In March 2012 we will complete a five year period in which Newcastle United have not appeared in any competitive European match.

Does it seem coincidence then that this is the same period in which Ashley has been in charge of our beloved club?

Statistics and lies can be interwoven but this is actually a fact. So are we expecting too much?

The round of 16 back then in 2007 ended in a defeat to Alkmarr Zaanstreek  (thankfully AZ for short) and thus started our absence of what might be called,  sitting at the top table of Europe’s elite.

In May of that same year Ashley bought Newcastle amidst much publicity and set about his 5 year plan of mass destruction. Well that’s what the NATO weapon inspectors have called it recently.

Gone were those wild sojourns into the unknown bars of France, Germany and Holland to savour the local beer and nibbles. Instead it was Doncaster, QPR and Peterborough for fizzy Fosters with burger and chips.

This undefined period goes on of course and is surely not what we deserve if we are to be a global brand. The situation seems to be more reminiscent of Donnay than say Dior methinks.

Although my rose-tinted vision of life with NUFC allows me to indulge in nothing short of fantasy football, at times I dream of a return to those stadiums of Europe that have small capacities and funny names.

Give me Halstads Bollklubb at the 15,500 capacity Orjans vall and I’ll swear I’ll go wobbly at the knees. I dare not mention Champions League at this stage for fear of putting the kibosh on the whole thing, but to hell with it, we can all have aspirations of grandeur at times.

The big boys league not only brings untold riches but also another chance perhaps to say I was on the La Rambla and was actually sober for a short while once again. Well sober until I hit the authentic 1930’s cocktail bar Boada’s on Carrer deis Tallers just off La Rambla. One of Barcelona’s best and the lads demolished some grog in there. Dream on eh!

However, like you I hope come May I am thinking of which far off foreign lands we might visit and pray it will not just be the same old 2 weeks in Benidorm with nothing else to follow!