Newcastle's Ryan Taylor relishing return of European football to Tyneside

 

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."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future