Monday, July 11, 2005

The steep and thorny way to heaven

Well, we've brought it on ourselves. If we don't qualify for this season's UEFA Cup via the backdoor route of the Intertoto, we've only got ourselves to blame.

It seems that several other big names found themselves in our position, and entered the Cup, desperate for the annual foray into European competition. We already knew that our first opponents would be Slovakian side ZTS Dubnica, but we now know that we're most likely going to have to get past Deportivo La Coruna and then Lazio if we're to qualify for the UEFA Cup First Round.

No mean feat as it is, but we're going to have to do it with the midfield that underperformed last season, Scott Parker having been given special dispensation to sit the games out in order to ensure he's fully recovered from his broken foot.

All of which means we could well be out of Europe before even kicking a ball in the Premiership. Surely even the most optimistic Toon fan can't be expecting to notch up many stamps in his or her passport this season.


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