Newcastle United held Leicester City to a 0-0 draw at St James’ Park on Monday, officially clinching a top-4 finish and therefore qualifying for the next edition of the Champions League.
It is the first time since the 2002-03 season when Sir Bobby Robson was manager that the Magpies will be playing in the best European football competition.
WE ARE NEWCASTLE UNITED.— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) May 22, 2023
WE ARE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! pic.twitter.com/NaMKa6CJGJ
The goalless draw at home against a team struggling in 19th place in the league may not have been the expected result for Newcastle, but who the hell cares about that when all the lads needed was one point and that’s precisely what they got.
Just peeping at Kieran Trippier after the game—emotional to say the freaking least—expressing the significance of this achievement tells you everything you need to know. “It means everything,” he told Sky Sports. Reflecting on his decision to join Newcastle as the first superstar to sign with NUFC after the takeover on Oct. 2021, Trippier acknowledged the risks involved but always believed in the choices he made. Man, was Trippier right.
During the intense match at St. James’ Park, Newcastle struck the woodwork on three occasions. Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron both saw their attempts hit the post before halftime, while Bruno’s close-range header rattled the goal frame after the break.
Despite their dominance in possession and a total of 23 shots, the Magpies were unable to find the breakthrough they sought. However, mighty Nick Pope made a crucial save in stoppage time, denying Timothy Castagne’s volley and securing the vital point that sealed their top-4 finish, much to the delight of the home crowd and kickstarting a monster celebration that is probably still ongoing at some pubs across Newcastle.
Good morning!— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) May 23, 2023
Just in case you needed reminding... pic.twitter.com/cNTZEH1N40
The last time Newcastle tasted European football was during the 2012-13 campaign when they reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League under the guidance of Alan Pardew.
Eddie Howe’s team will now join league-champions Man City and runners-up Arsenal in the prestigious Champions League competition next season. The fourth spot is still up for grabs with Man Utd and Liverpool still in the run with two games left in the former’s schedule and only one in the Reds’.
Currently occupying the third position in the Premier League table with 72 points, Newcastle has surpassed even Sir Bobby Robson’s highest points tally during his tenure. This remarkable achievement highlights the progress made by the team under Howe’s leadership.
Qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League alone holds significant financial value. Based on this season’s numbers, it is worth €15.6m, according to different sources. Additionally, clubs receive nearly €3m for each group stage victory, and almost €1m for a draw, further emphasizing the potential rewards of Newcastle’s accomplishment—as if they needed any extra financial push.
It’s been reported that Newcastle’s Saudi-backed board will boost the coffers and expected budget of the club ahead of next summer’s transfer market by around an extra €85m after making official their presence in the UCL.
We did it.— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) May 22, 2023
Goodnight, #NUFC fans! pic.twitter.com/s3zATbPLO0
I still can’t believe what just happened, folks. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.