Football Season Guide

Newcastle United


Gaël Bigirimana (mid), Coventry), Romain Amalfitano (mid), Reims), Curtis Good (def), Melbourne Heart), Vurnon Anita (mid), Ajax)


Peter Lövenkrands (mid), Birmingham), Tamás Kádár (def), Roda), Alan Smith (mid), MK Dons), Danny Guthrie (mid), Reading), Leon Best (att), Blackburn), Fraser Forster (gk), Celtic),

Newcastle were one of the great stories last season as they pushed for a Champions League spot all the way to the last day of the season and only the fact that they had to face the actual champions Manchester City on the penultimate game of the season undid them. Alan Pardew deservedly got the award for manager of the season having shown superb management of resources and ability to make the team peak at the key moments. It is exciting times ahead for the Magpies who kept all their stars during the summer and now have a European campaign to look forward too. The squad now boasts some of the best midfield and attacking talent in the country while the return of Steven Taylor from a serious achilles injury will ensure a more solid and dependable Magpies side. Moreover, the Tynesiders are finally to make a breakthrough in their transfer campaign as Ajax's utility man Vurnon Anita is poised to complete a move after the two clubs finally agreed on a fee. Mathieu Debuchy remains a possibility too but time is running out to bridge the difference in valuation. Even without the Frenchman in the squad, the Tynesiders are still a very capable side and another Champions League places challenge is not beyond them. The big worry is how they will juggle the league campaign with the gruelling Europa League schedule with games on Thursday. Pardew will hope that the squad stays free of injuries and make a solid start of the season to maintain the momentum from the closing stage of the previous campaign.


The Magpies have the qualities to claim a European place and the goal is very much attainable again.