As Newcastle United’s next Europa League opponents are the Portuguese footballing aristocrats of Benfica, I have been inspired to write a two part guide to the club.
In this first part, I will taking a brief look at the history of the club, as well as taking a look at the links between Benfica, Newcastle United and the North East in general. There aren’t a huge amount and Thursday will be the first time the teams have ever met in a competitive game, but they are quite interesting nonetheless.
History, facts and stats.
The club known as Sport Lisboa e Benfica, or simply “Benfica” was formed by 18 year old footballer Cosme Damião on 28 February 1904. In their 109 year history since then they have become Portugal’s most successful club, with 32 Portuguese League titles, 24 Portuguese Cups plus 3 Campeonato de Portugal titles (the old version of the cup), 4 Portuguese League Cups, 4 Portuguese Super Cups and not least, 2 European Cups won in 1960 and 1961. (more…)
With the news that Newcastle United will be facing Metalist Kharkiv over two legs in the the next round of our Europa League campaign, I thought it might be a good idea to probe this side from the north east of Ukraine.
Going on what Alan Pardew said when he was interviewed about the draw, he seems to know buggerall about them. When probed on how much he know about Metalist, he replied:
“Not much really”
So, Alan, you may find this helpful!
Currently fourth in the Ukrainian Premier Liga (behind Shakhtar Donetsk, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Dynamo Kyiv), they finished third last season as they have for the last six seasons, always behind the big two Ukrainian giants, Dynamo Kyiv and Shaktar Donetsk.
Roughly, they are strong side who are more or less on the same kind of level as our toughest opponents in the group stage, Girondins de Bordeaux, who we beat 3-0 at home and lost to 2-0 at their place. (more…)
Date: Saturday, 21st July. Venue: Káposztás Utcai Stadion, Sopron, Hungary. Kick off: 7pm local time / 6pm UK time Tickets TBC. UK TV: Live on ESPN UK.
This one sees the Magpies making another step up as they take on last years runners up from the Turkish Super Lig.
This one against the Istanbul club will be another “battle of the birds” as Fenerbahçe, like Norwich City over here, are known as the Canaries back in their native Turkey.
Formed in 1907, the Istanbul giants have been Turkish Süper Lig champions no less than 18 times, also winning the Turkish Cup five times and the Turkish Super Cup eight times. They feature a few names which will be familiar, including ex Liverpool forward and winger, Dirk Kuyt, who tranferred to the yellow Canaries at the end of last season. Another name from the team is Demba Ba’s mate from Senegal, Moussa Sow, who was the subject of Newcastle United transfer speculation when he was a Lille player in the past, with him being Ba’s mate and Yohan Cabaye’s former team mate and such. (more…)
Newcastle United’s series of pre season fixtures starts this evening in Chemnitz, as the Magpies kick off their European tour, playing six games (if you count one against the Dutch Den Haag which is yet to be officially confirmed). Two of the games will be played in Germany, one in Hungary and two in Portugal, though not necessarily against local sides.
The teams will be Chemitzer at their place in Saxony, AS Monaco in Bavaria, Fenerbahçe in Hungary, Olympiacos and SC Braga at Braga’s unusual Estádio Municipal de Braga, which has a huge rockface at one side of the stadium instead of the usual terracing. Finally the as yet unconfirmed one against ADO Den Haag will be played at Den Haag’s Kyocera Stadium in the the Hague. Although not officially confirmed by NUFC, the game has been definitely been confirmed by Den Haag.
Finally (for the moment), back in the UK, there will be another “Battle of the Birds” as the Magpies take on the Bluebirds of Cardiff City at their place, and the reserves / bairns will also take on Gatesheed at the Intenational Stadium. (more…)
Some of my best days supporting Newcastle have come away from St James’ Park. I don’t mean that as a criticism of our home ground as, quite simply, it isn’t.
Being at a match at St James’ Park can be a unique experience which is unrivalled so far on my travels, but being the adventurous type, combined with a lack of time, and sometimes a lack of money or transport, means that a lot of my support is now done away from SJP.
I would like nothing better than to be able to make every home game, but unfortunately I can’t. It costs me roughly £150 for a day at St James’, and sometimes that just isn’t possible.
Many of you know that I also work nights nowadays, and that it can roll into a Saturday morning, which also counts against me trying to make the 420-mile round trip to Newcastle. So as a compromise, I try to do as many games as my time and money allows me to, although perhaps inevitably most of these games come away from St James’ Park. (more…)