As Newcastle progressed into the group stages of the Europa League, elsewhere United captured possibly the hardest draw possible in the Capital One Cup, which is the Carling Cup in last year’s money and simply the ‘League Cup’ to anybody of a certain age.

The times we’ve had a bye in the past, I’ve always thought that a nice easy draw in the third round and then you are only two matches (4th and 5th round) away from a two-legged semi-final, how difficult can that be?

I’m afraid the answer is…very.

Surely the League Cup is the biggest blot on Newcastle United’s modern day history, not just that we haven’t won it but the fact that apart from that 1976 Wembley trip, Newcastle haven’t even got to another semi-final in over forty years of trying in the competition.

Maybe we are due a change of luck and putting my positive hat on, maybe meeting the Mancs early on could be just what we need.

When you consider they went out of the Carling Cup last season at home to Palace and the previous year went out of the FA Cup to Leeds, it isn’t like they are unbeatable in what they clearly see as third and fourth rate competitions.

It is all to play for and maybe it will depend even more on what team Alan Pardew puts out rather than Ferguson.