Who did Sir Bobby Robson select when St James Park hosted its last Champions League group stage fixture? (Photo: Getty Images)
Newcastle United will return to the Champions League after an absence of over three decades when they make the trip to AC Milan later this month.
Eddie Howe’s side will become the first United side to feature in European football’s elite club competition since a difficult night at St James Park in March 2003 when the likes of Alan Shearer, Craig Bellamy and Laurent Robert were unable to prevent Barcelona from claiming a 2-0 win on Tyneside.
That defeat brought down the curtain on the memorable run in the competition as Sir Bobby Robson’s Magpies became the first side to recover from three group stage defeats to progress into the second round of the competition. Some lifelong memories were created, with nights in the San Siro, Camp Nou and Feyenoord’s De Kuip Stadium going down in Tyneside folklore.
Given left St James Park in January 2009 after a decade on Tyneside and went on to feature for Manchester City, Aston Villa, Stoke City and Middlesbrough. The Republic of Ireland international had coaching roles with Villa and Derby County as now works in the media as a pundit. (Photo: Getty Images)
But where are the players that represented United in their last Champions League group stage fixture now?
Griffin played for the likes of Portsmouth, Stoke City and Doncaster Rovers after leaving Newcastle in 2004. He became a coach at Newcastle-Under-Lyme College in 2014 and has done some media interviews about his playing career. (Photo: Getty Images) Bernard returned to Newcastle in 2006 after spells at Rangers and Southampton – but failed to make an appearance as injuries forced him into early retirement. Working heavily with anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card, Bernard has also worked in the media and co-owns the Masons Arms pub in Blyth. (Photo: Getty Images) Bramble left United to join Wigan in 2007 before returning to the North East with Sunderland three years later. Shown a red card in the Magpies famous 5-1 win over their local rivals, Bramble brought down the curtain on his professional career when he left Sunderland in 2013. Bramble now works with the Future Stars Charity. (Photo: Getty Images) After leaving United in 2005, O’Brien played for Portsmouth, Bolton, Leeds United and Vancouver Whitecaps before retiring in 2014. The Republic of Ireland international has held scouting positions at a number of clubs since his retirement and is currently UK and MLS head scout for Liverpool. (Photo: Getty Images) Jenas made a controversial departure from St James Park in the early months of the 2005/06 season to join Spurs and also played for Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and QPR before retiring in 2014. Now a television host and pundit, Jenas unexpectedly turned up as host of the draw for the 2022 World Cup Finals. (Photo: Getty Images) Dyer played for West Ham United, Ipswich Town, QPR and Middlesbrough before retiring in 2013. He held various coaching roles at Ipswich between 2018 and 2022 but has suffered health issues in recent years after suffering a collapsed lung on reality TV show ‘Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins’. Dyer has been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis and is awaiting a liver transplant. (Photo: Getty Images) The Peruvian returned to Newcastle in 2005 after a stint at Aston Villa and also featured for West Ham United, Larissa, Universatario, Leicester City, Hull City and Hartlepool United before moving into coaching in 2012. After holding roles at a number of clubs and within the Peru national setup, Solano is now manager of Swedish second tier club AFC Eskilstuna. (Photo: Getty Images) Robert fell foul of Robson’s successor Graeme Souness and left United to join Portsmouth on loan in 2005 before making a permanent departure to Benfica. Spells with Levante, Derby County, Toronto and Larissa brought down the curtain on his career. Robert has moved into coaching as was a forwards coach within the academy of former club Montpellier. (Photo: Getty Images) Another player to fall foul of Souness, Bellamy joined Celtic on loan in 2005 before a permanent departure to Blackburn Rovers. There were moves to Liverpool, Manchester City and West Ham United before Bellamy’s career ended with boyhood club Cardiff City. Bellamy worked alongside former Man City team-mate Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and followed the Belgian to Burnley, where he is currently assistant manager. (Photo: Getty Images) Shearer wrote his name into the record books when he became United’s all-time record goalscorer in 2006 before retiring at the end of the season. Returning to St James Park as interim manager in the latter stages of the 2008/09 season, Shearer was unable to keep the Magpies in the Premier League. Now working as a respected pundit for BBC Sport, Shearer also does sterling work for charity as a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and also has his own charity, the Alan Shearer Foundation. (Photo: Getty Images) Ameobi would remain at United for another decade before departing in 2014. His playing career took him to Turkish side Gaziantep and the likes of Crystal Palace, Bolton, Fleetwood Town and Notts County. After retiring in 2018, Ameobi returned to Newcastle as the club’s first ever ‘loan manager’, a role he still holds to this day. (Photo: Getty Images) Things never quite worked out for the talented Portugal international at Newcastle. Loan spells with Sporting CP and Valencia preceded a permanent move to the latter in 2006. His career came to a close with spells at Dubai-based rivals Al-Ahli and Al-Wasl before he held roles at director of football with Belenenses and Sporting. (Photo: Getty Images)