Newcastle have qualified for the Champions League for the third time in their history and the first in 20 years after securing a top-four Premier League finish.
Head coach Eddie Howe has joined an exclusive club alongside Kenny Dalglish, who guided the Magpies side he had inherited from Kevin Keegan into the competition for the first time in 1997, and Sir Bobby Robson, who matched his feat five years later.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at how the club have fared on their previous encounters with Europe’s big boys.
Temuri and Tino
If full-back John Beresford was the unlikely hero as the Magpies secured a 2-1 qualifying round first-leg victory over Croatia Zagreb with a place in the 1997-98 Champions League group stage at stake, it was Georgia international Temuri Ketsbaia who snatched the headlines in the return at the Maksimir Stadium when his strike in the last minute of extra-time secured a 2-2 draw on the night and a 4-3 aggregate win.
Dalglish’s men launched their Group C campaign in style when Faustino Asprilla scored a superb hat-trick in a stunning 3-2 victory over Barcelona, with Luis Enrique and Luis Figo on target for the visitors, but things went downhill from there.
A 2-2 draw with Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine was followed by back-to-back defeats at the hands of PSV Eindhoven and Michael Reiziger’s strike at the Nou Camp saw Barca – where Robson had been moved upstairs to make way for Louis Van Gaal – gain revenge before the adventure ended with a 2-0 home win over Dynamo.
Back to Barca
Kieron Dyer’s expert finish in Sarajevo and a 4-0 home win in which Alan Shearer scored the final goal saw Newcastle ease past FK Zeljeznicar to reach the competition proper for the second time in 2002.
Dynamo Kiev ensured they got off to a disappointing start with a 2-0 away defeat and their hopes of emerging from Group E looked to be over when Feyenoord won 1-0 at St James’ Park before two Alessandro Del Piero goals handed Juventus a 2-0 victory in Turin.
However, Andy Griffin fired Robson’s side to victory over the Italians on Tyneside and Shearer’s penalty snatched a 2-1 win against the Ukrainians to set up a memorable night in Rotterdam on which Craig Bellamy struck late to claim a 3-2 win over Feyenoord and send his side through to the second group stage as the first side to make it after losing the first three games.
Their reward was a daunting draw which pitched them into battle with Inter Milan, Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen, and their hopes were dealt a significant blow by a 4-1 home defeat by Inter in which Bellamy was sent off and Shearer later suspended on video evidence after a clash with Fabio Cannavaro.
A 3-1 defeat in Barcelona rubbed salt into the wound and although they beat Leverkusen home and away – with Shearer plundering a hat-trick on Tyneside – and drew 2-2 in Milan, Barca’s 2-0 win at St James’ meant the quarter-finals were beyond them.
The one that got away
Having finished third in the Premier League at the end of the 2002-03 season, Robson and his players were anticipating a second-successive crack at the Continent’s biggest and best, but after Nolberto Solano’s goal saw them return from Partizan Belgrade with a 1-0 win, they lost the home leg of their qualifying tie 1-0 and eventually went out on penalties.
Their consolation was a UEFA Cup run which was ended at the semi-final stage by Marseille striker Didier Drogba’s double.
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