Newcastle's Ryan Taylor relishing return of European football to Tyneside
Thursday 30 August 2012
Ryan Taylor admits he can scarcely believe European football will return to Newcastle tonight barely three years after relegation.
The former Wigan utility man was part of the squad which suffered the ignominy of slipping out of the Barclays Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season, and the man whose free-kick in Greece last week ensured they head into their Europa League play-off second leg clash with Atromitos with the scoreline at 1-1.
It will be the first taste of European action on Tyneside since March 2007 and, having experienced much of the fall and subsequent rise since, Taylor knows just what it means to the club.
The 28-year-old said: "If you had said to me in a couple of years' time, Newcastle would be back on its feet, back into Europe and doing well in the Premier League, I would have snapped your hand off for it.
"I have seen it all. I signed four months before we went down, so I have seen everything.
"I have seen quite a few managers in the short space of time since I have been here and it's great as it is now.
"We have got stability, we have got the fans back and we are playing good football and winning football matches, and that's the most important thing."
Newcastle booked their two-legged clash with Atromitos by finishing fifth in the top flight last season, but did not have things all their own way at the Peristeri Stadium in Athens.
Denis Epstein gave the home side a deserved lead and it took yet another beautifully executed free-kick from Taylor on the stroke of half-time to ensure the Magpies returned home with a positive result.
He said: "You practise these things quite regularly and they do tend to come off now and again and when they do come off, they are quite special.
"They are quite special to me and the fans here love them every time they go in."
The fans in particular loved, and still celebrate in song, the Taylor free-kick which secured derby victory at Sunderland in August last year, a strike which went some of the way to making amends for the series of similar efforts which cost his current club dearly during his time at Wigan.
He said with a smile: "I think the derby one cleared the slate for that."
Newcastle lost 2-0 at Chelsea less than 48 hours after their return from Greece at the end of a tough week, but Atromitos arrived in the north-east on the back of a Super League victory by the same score at Kerkyra a day later.
As a result, manager Alan Pardew will take nothing for granted as he attempts to plot a route past Dusan Bajevic's side.
He said: "They have got a couple of very good players, they have got players who can travel with the ball and that's always difficult for teams.
"The manager has got vast experience and that worries me a little bit."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal Champions League fixtures: Gunners to open with Dinamo Zagreb trip, plus daunting back-to-back Bayern Munich ties
Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City: £58m deal hits the rocks as Wolfsburg admits they're 'in no rush' to sell former Chelsea midfielder
Pogba to Chelsea: Blues set to smash British spending record with £70m midfielder and £34m John Stones
Manchester City face another struggle to make an impact in Champions League
Paul Pogba to Chelsea: Transfer news live - John Stones latest, Gareth Bale and Neymar to Manchester United, Edinson Cavani to Arsenal
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs