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Should Newcastle United fans really want NUFC to qualify and play in Europe next season?

2 weeks ago
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The question I am pondering today… Should Newcastle United fans really want NUFC to qualify and play in Europe next season?

Newcastle United in Europe?

Surely a no-brainer?

I would agree, usually.

However, I think next season could present Newcastle United with a massive opportunity. In some ways, a unique opportunity. if NOT finishing in a qualifying for Europe spot this time.

Now no doubt some people are already calling me a Mackem, as is the way these days, when trying to think outside the box.

Anyway, let me explain.

THEN you can call me a Mackem for not wanting Newcastle United to end up in a European qualifying place for next season.

Clearing the treatment room

As you might have heard, Eddie Howe has occasionally been missing a few players this season.

Come the start of next season though, I expect / hope that we will have all of the following available to kick off the 2024/25 Premier League campaign:

Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Livramento,  Joelinton (after signing a new contract), Willock, Anderson, Lewis Miley, Barnes, Gordon, Bruno, Wilson, Isak

Eddie Howe will also have a number of these still in the squad Almiron, Longstaff, Lascelles, Burn, Hall (after making his loan permanent), Targett, Dubravka, Krafth, Murphy. Minteh as well potentially, if not sent on another loan.

End of the gamble

Sandro Tonali will see his gambling ban come to an end and become available again at the end of August 2024.

2024 European Championships

Fair to say that Newcastle United will have players in the current squad playing far less combined minutes out in Germany this summer, than any of the other Premier League clubs hoping to be competing towards the top end.

Summer 2024 trading

I have no doubt that we will see serious business by Newcastle United this summer.

They will have far more ability / flexibility to bring in quality new signings and that will be enhanced by a number of current first team squad players moving on. Some of them for quite significant amounts of cash compared to what could be banked in transfer fees in recent transfer windows, plus obviously just as (more?) importantly that increased FFP / PSR reach, over and above what comes in via transfer fees. Ever increasing revenues also playing a key role of course in this.

Then we have the European competitions next season…

An awful lot has been talked about stuff like a possible fifth place in the Champions League next season for a Premier League club that finishes fifth, if English clubs collectively do best or second best compared to the other countries competing this season in te three competitions.

However, I have seen little / nothing regarding just how full on this will be.

What is the new Champions League format?

The biggest change is to the group stage, which will become a single 36-team League stage. Each side faces eight different teams (four at home, four away). The top eight overall advance directly to the round of 16; sides finishing from ninth to 24th will contest the knockout round play-offs, with the victors going through to the last 16. From then on it is a straight knockout.

When are the 2024/25 Champions League League stage matches?

Matchday 1: 17–19 September 2024
Matchday 2: 1/2 October 2024
Matchday 3: 22/23 October 2024
Matchday 4: 5/6 November 2024
Matchday 5: 26/27 November 2024
Matchday 6: 10/11 December 2024
Matchday 7: 21/22 January 2025
Matchday 8: 29 January 2025

When is the 2024/25 Champions League knockout stage?

Knockout round play-offs: 11/12 & 18/19 February 2025
Round of 16: 4/5 & 11/12 March 2025
Quarter-finals: 8/9 & 15/16 April 2025
Semi-finals: 29/30 April & 6/7 May 2025
Final: 31 May 2025

Europa League 2024/25 format

It is exactly the same as the Champions League with eight games against eight different teams, with top eight in the ‘league’ going through automatically into the last 16 and the next 16 in the ‘league’ having play-offs.

When are the 2024/25 Europa League League stage matches?

Matchday 1: 25/26 September 2024
Matchday 2: 3 October 2024
Matchday 3: 24 October 2024
Matchday 4: 7 November 2024
Matchday 5: 28 November 2024
Matchday 6: 12 December 2024
Matchday 7: 23 January 2025
Matchday 8: 30 January 2025

When is the 2024/25 Europa League knockout stage?

Knockout round play-offs: 13 & 20 February 2025
Round of 16: 6 & 13 March 2025
Quarter-finals: 10 & 17 April 2025
Semi-finals: 1 & 8 May 2025
Final: 21 May 2025

So coming back to my question of whether Newcastle United fans should want to qualify this season for European competition in 2024/25, I hope you are beginning to see just how big a change it is going to be next season, how full on, when it comes to the number of European games.

If we are to qualify this season, then I think fair to say Europa League and not Champions League.

However, there are just as many games.

So if say Newcastle United got to the semi-finals of the Europa League next season, we would be playing in that competition…

September 2024 – One match
October 2024 – Two matches
November 2024 – Two matches
December 2024 – One match
January 2025 – Two matches
February 2025 – Two matches (if in the play-offs)
March 2025 – Two matches
April 2025 – Two matches
May 2025 – Two matches (Three if getting to the final!)

I honestly think that this season it is worth taking one step back (and not qualifying for Europe) and then potentially taking many massive steps forward next season.

I think we could have a massive go at the Premier League and certainly be very competitive in terms of aiming for a Champions League place for the 2025/26 competition and whisper it softly, but with how full on the Champions League is going to be next season, if Eddie Howe can get everybody back available AND add serious signings this summer, who is to say we couldn’t be competing at the very top end…?

You can also add in the domestic cups next season, as those in Europe even have matches to play in January 2025 as well.

I am happy for you to call me a Mackem BUT that doesn’t mean I am wrong!

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