Newcastle’s Bizarre 2006 Intertoto Cup Win, Explained

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Hamish Woodward

Alan Shearer scoring a penalty for Newcastle United against Sunderland

Newcastle’s Bizarre 2006 Intertoto Cup Win, Explained

Newcastle United came so close to winning their first major trophy in 58 years.

The Magpies reached their first major final in years when they took on Manchester United in the League Cup final in 2023.

Eddie Howe’s men did brilliantly to get that far, but goals from Casemeiro and Rashford condemned them to at least another year’s wait for a major trophy.

The 1955 FA Cup is the last time the Newcastle fans have seen their team lift a major trophy. In that final, goals from Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and George Hannah helped sink Manchester City at Wembley to win the game 3-1.

Since then, trophies have eluded them since then. That is, unless you count the forgotten, controversial Intertoto Cup.

The Magpies won the trophy in 2006, but how much of a “Major Trophy” really was the Intertoto Cup for Newcastle United?

What Is The Intertoto Cup?

The Intertoto Cup is a long forgotten European competition. It had been a tournament since 1961 but was only recognised by UEFA in 1995.

The tournament took place in pre-season and was used to help teams qualify for the UEFA Cup (which was rebranded to the Europa League in 2009).

The competition originally had a similar format to the modern Champions League, with a group stage and a knockout round. However, that changed a lot by the time Newcastle qualified for the tournament in 2006.

Previous winners of the competition include Hamburg, Braga and Ajax, as well as the Newcastle United side in 2006.

Newcastle United’s Intertoto Cup Victory In 2005

Newcastle Legend Alan Shearer burying a penalty against Sunderland.

Newcastle United did win a trophy in the past 50 years, although even they would be forgiven for forgetting which one.

They qualified for the 2006 Intertoto Cup by finishing 7th in the Premier League. Nowadays, that would get you a Europa Conference League spot, but in 2006, it was very different.

The tournament spanned from June to July 2006, and featured a host of teams from all across Europe.

To ease with travel issues for fans, the teams were split into regions. Newcastle were entered into the Northern region and came into the tournament in the third-round stage.

This meant they only had to beat Norwegian side Lillestrøm to be entered into the UEFA Cup qualifying stage.

Reading that may surprise you. And you’d be right to have no clue what’s going on. The tournament had three rounds of two legs, with 49 teams entering it all together.

As Newcastle entered the third round, they had only two games to play. They faced Norweigen side Lillestrøm home and away in a two-legged round.

The first leg in St James Park ended in a 1-1 draw. Albert Luque netted for the Magpies, his 50th minute striker cancelling out former Hull City player Robert Koren’s first half opener.

The return leg in Norway went much better for the English side. At Lillestrøm’s Åråsen Stadionran, the Magpies ran away 3-0 winners, with goals from Shola Ameobi (2) and Emre Belözoğlu firing Newcastle through to the next round.

Except… there was no next round.

By winning that tie, they qualified for the UEFA Cup. They were entered into the qualifying stage of that competition.

They defeated both FK Ventspils and Levadia Tallinn to qualify for the UEFA Cup group stage, but that was not the end of the Intertoto Cup.

Confusing? You’re not the only one.

The winner of the Intertoto Cup was decided…by the UEFA Cup.

In UEFA’s supreme wisdom, the way they decided the winner of the Intertoto Cup was how the teams that won their third-round ties did in the UEFA Cup.

The team that got the furthest in the UEFA Cup would be declared the winners of the Intertoto Cup. If two or more teams made it the joint-furthest, then the most goals scored by the team wins the cup.

Newcastle were drawn in arguably the hardest group in the tournament that year. Fenerbahce, Celta Vigo, Eintracht Frankfurt and Palermo joined Newcastle in the five-teamed Group H.

Despite the tricky opponents, Newcastle topped their group in the UEFA Cup. They picked up three wins and one draw, remaining undefeated in the group stage.

They moved out of the group and into the knockout stages. In the round of 32, they defeated Zutle Waregam both home and away, with goals from Obefemi Martins and Antoine Sibierski sending them sailing through.

Unfortunately, they fell to AZ Alkmaar in the Round of 16. They won 4-2 at home with an Own Goal adding to goals from Keiron Dyer and Obefemi Martins (2), although those two goals conceded turned out to be crucial.

They lost 2-0 away in Holland to send them crashing out of the cup on away goals. This should have been a sad moment, but it had one positive.

No other team in the Intertoto Cup made it to the round of 16. Newcastle United had done it! They had won the Intertoto Cup.

Look how thrilled Scott Parker was to lift the… certificate before the home leg in front of the incredible confused and uninterested St James’ Park.

To this day, Scott Parker is the last man to lift a “trophy” for Newcastle United. While the fans may not have taken it very seriously at the time, I bet they are now.

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