Amsterdam or Bust? Newcastle United vs Atromitos match preview

Posted on August 30th, 2012 | 27 Comments |

Ajax's Amsterdam ArenA.
The road to Amsterdam.
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Thusday 30th August, 2012.
Kick-Off: 8:00pm.
Referee: Stephen Studer‎ .

With the sides evenly matched at 1-1 after last week’s first leg Europa League tie in Athens, Newcastle United entertain FC Atromitos at St James’ Park this evening to determine which club will take the road towards the Amsterdam Arena (with some welcome additional revenue), and which team will pack away their passports and sun tan lotion for another season.

Should we prevail and make it through to the Group Stages we’ll be one of 48 teams split into 12 groups who will play one another, home and away during the next few months. After which, if we finish in the top two, we’ll move on to the Round of 32 having been joined by the eight clubs finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group.

Europa League Finances

So what exactly is at stake tomorrow evening? While we all know that this revamped second tier competition is the poor man’s version of the Champions League, it is encouraging for all competing clubs to learn they will now benefit from a greater proportion of the “Market Pool” to help add to the official UEFA prize money.

The “market pool” is an additional fund which is topped up by the various European TV companies who broadcast Europa League football in their various home countries, in our case ITV and ESPN. The money is distributed according to the proportional value of each television market represented by the clubs taking part in the UEFA Europa League. So, in addition to the €1.3 million (£1 million plus any match day income generated) Group Stage fee, there will also be performance bonuses of €200,000 (£158,000) for every win and €100,000 (£79,000) for every draw in the group stage. Moreover, qualification bonuses will be given to the teams that progress to the round of 32. The 12 group winners can anticipate earning an extra €400,000 (£317,000) apiece and the runners-up €200,000 (£158,000). With regard to the knockout phase, sides competing in the round of 32 will collect €200,000 each (£158,000), clubs in the round of 16 €350,000 (£277,000) the quarter-finalists €450,000 (£356,000) and the semi-finalists €1 million (£790,000). The UEFA Europa League winners will pick up €5 million (£4 million) and the runners-up €2.5 million (£2 million).

So all in all, a team could receive, at best, €9.9 million (£7.8 million) from playing in this season’s competition plus any additional revenue which would come from the market pool and of course their own stadium based revenue. To put that into context, when Fulham reached the final back in May 2010 they earned just over €10 million (£7.9 million) from their exploits.

Interestingly its not always the winners who make the most from this tournament. Last season Hannover 96 earned €8.5 million (£6.7 million) when reaching the Quarter Final while Besiktas grabbed €8.8 million (£7 million) despite going out in the previous round. Bilbao’s Athletic Club reached the final (€9.5 million or £7.5 million) as did Atletico Madrid who won the competion (€10.5 million or £8.3 million) yet both finalists made less than FC Schalke who went home to Germany with over €11 million (£8.7 million) having lost out in the Quarter Finals.

This occurs because some clubs can benefit if fewer representatives from their country reach the group stages, as the available money is divided between fewer clubs. This tends to benefit clubs from smaller countries e.g. in 2010/11 Panathinaikos received €14.4 million (£11.4 million) from the TV pool as Greece only had one qualifier. This was much more than the €9.7 million (£7.7 million) Lyon received as the French TV pool was divided between three clubs.

All of which is very small beer in comparison to the €60 million (£48.4 million) Chelsea got for winning the Champions League. Nonetheless, although not as lucrative as the Champions League, the Europa League does provide a club like Newcastle with the opportunity to experience European competition again after a five year period in the footballing wilderness. There’s also the added benefit of attracting players to the club, or at least keeping those who are still here because of our involvement in Europe.

As we found when we began our European adventures all those years ago, there is a real need for clubs to establish themselves and gain valuable experience in European football, with the longer term aim of progression into the Champions League.

Having won the UEFA Cup in 2007/08 and reached the Round of 16 of the UEFA Cup in 2008/09 and the Europa League in 2010/11, Zenit St Petersburg have done just that. Their exploits in the second tier tournament helped them to progress through the 2011/12 Champions League group stage and into the knockout rounds. Similarly, having won the UEFA Cup in 2008/09 and qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League in 2009/10, Shakhtar Donetsk qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2010/11 Champions League before losing to the eventual winners, FC Barcelona.

So all in all a massive night for The Toon and a game the players will hopefully never forget.


Newcastle (from): Tim Krul (G), Steve Harper (G), Rob Elliot (G), Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor, James Tavernier, James Perch, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Danny Simpson, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux, Dan Gosling, Vurnon Anita, Gael Bigirimana, Romain Amalfitano, Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Adam Campbell.

FC Atromitos (from): Charles Itandje (G), Velimir Radman (G), Fotis Karagiolidis (G), Evangelos Nastos, Giannis Skondras, Sokratis Fytanidis, Nikos Lazaridis, Efstathios Tavlaridis, Konstantinos Giannoulis, Walter Matías Iglesias, Elini Dimoutsos, Panagiotis Mpallas, Antonis Athanasiou, Evaggelos Economou, Georgios Makris, Anastasios Kantoutsis, Manolis Kallergis, Miguel Sebastián Garcia, Brito, Anastasios Karamanos, Nikola Beljic, Njazi Kuqi, Athanasios Karagounis, Chumbinho, Denis Epstein.

Although the 18 man squads will be announced officially later, we can be reasonably sure that Cheick Tiote will miss out again as he continues his fight for fitness. The Ivory Coast international has not played since damaging a calf muscle in the 2-1 Premier League victory over Tottenham (All those who remember when Andy Carroll developed a mystery ailment prior to the January 2011 window need to keep taking deep breaths until Friday night). Hatem Ben Arfa will also miss this match, serving the second of his three match ban, and of course Shola Ameobi (hamstring) will be missing as usual while younger bro Sammy (knee) is also ruled out. On the plus side though, Haris Vuckic should be fit once again for this game.

Pardew has to use the depth of his squad ahead of Sunday’s league clash with Aston Villa, although he has suggested that 17-year-old Adam Campbell is unlikely to make the 18 which, from a personal point of view, is a shame. We need a positive result despite the press reports stating a 0 – 0 draw will see us go through. Tavernier was a little overwhelmed last week so I’d bring Simmo back to work within a reasonably mobile back four.

Whether Cabaye plays is down to his fitness and, what may be, continuing uncertainty over his career at St James’ Park. After what was a long drawn out summer and pretty ineffective pre season, the fact that he seems to figure prominently in most of the transfer rumour mills could be a contributing factor? If he doesnt start we’ll miss his “creativity” but there’s no doubt he hasnt been at his best in the two games he’s played so far. So with an eye on the Villa game but also understanding the need to carry more threat than we did in the first leg, I’d give Anita the chance to play alongside Bigi in a solid defensive midfield pairing and release Amalfitano and Marveaux to support Demba Ba up front in what would be his debut in European football.

Atromitos will be confident going into this fixture after coming close to a stunning victory a week ago. The Greeks played their first league game of the season on Sunday and comfortably won away to Kerkyra on the island of Corfu.

Goals from Chumbinho (their on loan Brazilian midfielder) and centre back Fytanidis enabled them to go in at half time with a two goal cushion which they maintained during the second half. The 2 – 0 result sees our opponents sitting on top of the Greek Super League, albeit after just one game.

Manager Dusan Bajevic has no new injury concerns and will most likely send out the same team which began the game on Sunday, no doubt hoping to hit us on the break, as he played with a five man midfield and only one recognised striker.

My predicted teams

Newcastle United

Simpson, Perch, Saylor, R.Taylor
Anita, Bigirimana,
Amalfitano, Jonas, Marveaux,

FC Atromitos

Skondras, Tavlaridis, Fytanidis, Giannoulis,
Epstein, Karagounis, Iglesias, Dimoutsos, Chumbinho


Although we’ve performed well against previous Greek opposition in this competition (Shearer gave us a 1-0 victory over Panionios in the 2004-05 Uefa Cup Group Stage, and we managed an aggregate 7-1 win over Bajevic’s Olympiacos in the last 16 that same year) this is only Pardew’s fourth game in Europe. In 2006/07 he lost to Palermo in a two legged affair while, in the same season, Atromitos also made their debut in European football losing 1 – 6 on aggregate to holders, Seville.

Let us hope that it’s Pardew who comes through unscathed to fight another day!

We will be running our usual “match banter” feature for this game, which will be published around an hour before the kick off (7pm). After the game, we will also be posting match highlights and a video of the whole game if available.


NUFCBlog Author: AndyMac AndyMac has written 13 articles on this blog.

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27 Responses

  1. Great summary of the importance of tonight’s game, especially the financial breakdown. I also agree with the starting line-up suggested. I do think we’ll see Obertan feature in there somewhere as Pardew still seems to think he has something to offer. Europe aside this should be an interesting game to see how the new players are bedding in and how we cope without key players. I will breathe a sigh of relief when the window closes if we keep all our players, although I expect this to be tinged with dissapointment at our failure to strengthen our first team options. I would like to see Anita step up tonight – I have hopes he is capable of linking up with our forward play.

  2. Just reading on sky sports brendan rodgers saying that liverpool cant afford to have 35m 3rd choice players on the bench,or 6m wage wingers..translation,if downing wont play in defence he can go,plus hes from the north east,and carrol go away,i dont like you,i dont rate you and I dont want you to fight for your place,because you dont have a place here,oh and your from the north east…cant help but feel sorry for andy,bet he didnt see this coming,never know he might get an offer from stoke hahaha

  3. With the failures on the signings front, Pardew’s saying that he isn’t all that fussed with Europe, and that this competition and the League Cup will play second fiddle to the Premiership and the FA Cup:

    “The Capital One Cup and this competition will play second fiddle to the Premier League and FA Cup, in my view. These are great opportunities for them (bairns / fringe players) to show their wares. If we were fortunate enough to get to the later stages of the competition, then the profile of it would rise, and so would the standard of our team. I’m sure of it.”

  4. Again a bit more info than we realy need, but the lineup, how on earth did you imagine Jonas as the center of a 4-2-3-1, bizarre !
    Not to mention the fact you expect AP to play a 4-2-3-1 ?
    even more bizarre !

    Actually find it hard to imagine this side beating Gateshead, though Pardew has publicly stated that the competition is not important, and reading the amount of prizemoney involved, would be more rewarding to earn a higher league final position, without the effort of having to play so many games.
    Appears we are being prepared for another window where we spend nowt, with the Grey Gaffer, stating he would be happy with the status quo and either inviting bids or creating the idea that every club in the league want our players.
    Resulting in the fans giving a sigh of relief if we keep everyone, when in fact they should be pissed at the lack of defensive help.
    Yep the PR department is in overdrive, with nothing but feelgood suff from the local rags and blogs, must be spreading the wealth around.

    And why is it our best young players Abeid and Ferguson have been absent from this (not really important)competition ?
    Dont tell me Ferguson is injured , he’s recently been picked for the full Norn Iron side and played a blinder for the U21’s.

    Strange things going on at L’pool, with ex Engerland winger Downing, being told he has no future there unless he converts to a FB role, not to mention wor Andy being told he has no future period (thats full stop for you guys) hey a diven kna man?

    And here we are desperate for a center forward, to fill in for our African guys and Andy desperate to gan hyem like.
    Course Ashley is in the cat bird seat watching Rodgers and Co. desperate to sell Carroll, as they need the funds to bring people in, dont discount a last minute deal here.

  5. recipe for success =

    1 ashley – oot
    2 lamearse – oot
    2 pardew – oot

    4 owner with ambition for football club instead of t shirt business – in
    5 chairman who knows football instead of casinos – in
    6 manager with tactics instead of big mouth – in

    simple really

  6. Awesome! Pardew ready to punt on Europe. Sure glad we qualified then…pffft.

    Don’t understand the reasoning on squad strength (not criticizing the blog; it’s clearly correct). The EL is a knock-out competition. We’re out if we lose tonight. But we can’t play a full-strength or even 3/4-strength side because of a game this weekend against f’ing Villa?!

    Sad state of affairs with this squad.

    Think tonight will be a turgid affair if that’s the squad. Probably will need some individual magic from Ba, set pieces or some bad defending (all quite possible) to create goals.

    chuck-I hear you on Abeid and Ferguson. For the latter, I do think the line is that he picked up a small tweak after his last game with NI but is expected to be ready very soon, in time for their next match. Abeid is a mystery to me. I thought he was the best of the kids in preseason. And then nothing.

  7. Can’t see the point in being in this competition what was the point in bothering to qualify?
    I was really looking forward to having a good run in this competition and strengthened the senior squad enough in the window to have a bit of depth to cover for the extra matches.

  8. toonbros says:
    August 30, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    “recipe for success =

    1 ashley – oot
    2 lamearse – oot
    2 pardew – oot

    4 owner with ambition for football club instead of t shirt business – in
    5 chairman who knows football instead of casinos – in
    6 manager with tactics instead of big mouth – in

    simple really”

    It’s seems that Ashley’s intensive PR campaign hasn’t reached all corners of the fanbase just yet. :-).

  9. First things first.

    Got the Chelski CL money wrong by a large margin :(

    £48.5m approx for winning the CL.

    Which is marginally less than we made in BPL prize money last season.

    Despite the fact that each final place in the league is worth approx £800k we still managed to earn less than sixth placed Chelski and even 8th placed RBD’s, after various other payments were taken into account.

    So Chuck’s argument that BPL places could make us more money could be a valid one if we’d finished, say, 17th last season and then jumped to 5th this year.

    The point I was trying to get across (btw thanks Sammy J) was to try to dispel the notion that the Europa League was a waste of time and money. If we have a reasonably successful campaign we could make as much as £10m and our squad, in theory, could be strengthened by playing more games against better quality opposition.

    As for my “predicted line up” Chuck it was merely tongue in cheek, finger in the air stuff as I havent got a clue about Pardwho’s mindset. He says Villa is the more important game yet he wants to win tonight so you go figure ? Or better still give us your line up ?

  10. Chuck, your heart throb, Brandan Rodgers, has started to get a bit carried away with himself and is suffering from premature arrogance now someone’s let him manage a big club. Every time he opens his mouth, he seems to stick his foot straight in it.

  11. sampdiago says:
    August 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Sampdiago, once again I’m really sorry about this thing with your comments.

    Basically, a troll called “Witters” who is banned from here has been using a huge amount of different IP numbers in an effort to get on here to post abuse. Unfortunately many of them have been in the same blocks as the ones you have been using but I have been working on it and the problem should be almost gone now.

    Once again, my apologies.

  12. Thanks Andy: the financial ramifications are complicated but there is money to be made from the competition. Plus, it will be good for the fans to have a few days out. If we reach the latter stages, the gate receipts might be meaningful as well.

    I have no idea what is going on with Rodgers. Essentially calling Downing crap at his job doesn’t seem to be good man management.

    Its weird that the Liverpool fans seem to like Carroll so much and yet Rodgers tells him he has no future there. I would keep him just for the Chelsea games.

    I hope we get Carroll, although I wont hold my breath. For all Pardew says he wants to play the ground game we are prone to the Krul and Williamson hoof, so Carroll is certainly a useful addition and a good “plan B”.

  13. The more rodgers speaks,the more I want carrol home.what a bunch of jelous has beens,everton are a class above them and better as opta stats show,i hear now hes not so sure about enrique-not that I feel sorry for him considering his coments about us when he left.players forget what the club does for them and their carears,liverpool have been stealing our players and halting progress since before dd haman.

  14. Rodgers started believing his own hype last season. What’s that one about pride and a fall? I understand some of his points. I agree that Downing is massively overrated because he’s English and left-sided. He’s a winger who doesn’t score or provide many assists. Good luck recouping that fee, Brendan. I can’t believe any team would be stupid enough to bid 5M for Adam right now. I’d break their hand off.

    I think a lot of his huffing & puffing as well as LFC’s fans desire to keep Carroll comes down to the fact that the fans still prefer and trust Dalglish over Rodgers.

    As for Carroll, it’s all about the fee. I don’t want him for 12M though I’d take him over nothing. For a few bucks more you could get a much better prospect in Remy. Or you could use that fee on Debuchy and Douglas and have a couple million left for a forward.

  15. sampdiago, sorry once again about the comment. I’m getting there!

    Rodgers has behaved like a arrogant idiot since he got the Liverpool job. If I were Andy Carroll, I would be sorely tempted to punch the ugly bastad’s heed through a wall, it would probably make him look more handsome anyway.

  16. tunyc says:
    August 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    “I understand some of his points.”

    Aye tunyc, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to spill it all in public and to the media. After Comolli the Clown and “Chuckles” Dalglish, it’s hardly helpful. If he continues with his stream of consciousness style press conferences, Liverpool are going to become the new comedy club, the new Newcastle.

  17. Pardew Fears last gasp departures?
    Not surprised that’s all he fookin talks about.
    Said all along this prick is a front for the pair of buffoons running the Toon.
    A total puppet.
    Nothing but a glorified shop keeper.

  18. Woiky
    Look Brendan Rodgers is as you very well know, both a knowledgeable coach and last season a fairly successful manager.
    Though i dont dote on him as you have shown to do, on the present Swansea manager, whom you praise profusely after only a couple of games.
    I also believe Martinez is a good coach and if there’s justification for your favorite, will have no problem with adding him to the list of young up and coming managers who understand. the modern game.
    Face it , if given the choice of any of the three mentioned, Laudrup- Martinez-Rodgers, would you prefer AP to any of them ?
    As for Rodgers tude, at least it’s refreshing to finally listen to someone who tells it like it is, instead of a mouthpiece who repeats soundbites like a ventriloquists dummy.
    What is it about Rodgers you dislike so much ?

    No offense about the line-up, thought it was a Woiky piece, just winding him up a bit.

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