So here we are, hours from Newcastle United’s first Champions League game for over twenty years.
AC Milan await inside San Siro, representing quite the first assignment for the Magpies in Europe.
While a group also containing European heavyweights in the form of Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund is probably as tough as it gets, these are the kind of nights the club could only have dreamed about for years.
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Simon Jordan says Champions League football is what brought Eddie Howe to Newcastle
Indeed, the talkSPORT pundit says Howe would have been tempted by the prospect of the Champions League when he took the job in late 2021.
Though Newcastle were at a low ebb when he arrived, the PIF ownership and all of their millions is, in Jordan’s view, what led Howe to St James’ Park.
“I think it’s great for Newcastle that they’re in the Champions League,” he said.
“I think it’s also a distraction for them in terms of their Premier League form because it’s a different experience. You’re the sum of all your parts and this is what Eddie Howe went to manage Newcastle for underneath this Saudi ownership.
“Whether that was so quickly is a different discussion.”
No one could have imagined it being so quick
Clearly, the investment and ambition PIF have shown made the idea of playing in this competition much more realistic than in the Mike Ashley days.
Still, surely no one could have seen it arrive so quickly. If Howe did, he’s arguably more optimistic than even the most ardent Newcastle supporter. The idea of getting to the big time must have been exciting but it is down to his coaching, not just PIF’s millions, that it is finally here.
Let’s enjoy it.