Newcastle United Chief Executive Officer Darren Eales couldn’t resist poking fun at Tyne-Wear rivals Sunderland after the Magpies discovered their Champions League group stage opponents.
Following a 20-year absence from Europe’s most elite competition, Eddie Howe’s side were handed the toughest possible draw with Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan also allocated into Group F.
Newcastle fans have longed chanted about never seeing a ‘Mackem in Milan’ having previously visited the San Siro in their thousands in March 2003. And when reacting to the draw, Eales aimed a cheeky dig at the Black Cats.
“What a group. It’s the super-group of death isn’t it? It’s three great teams,” Eales said. “Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund - the yellow wall - then obviously AC Milan - Sandro Tonali’s old team.
“I think of AC Milan when we had over 10,000 Geordies in the wonderful city of Milan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Mackem in Milan either so it’s going to be exciting for the Geordies.”
Eales added: “Paris Saint-Germain football royalty. Borussia Dortmund as well is a great football club, the yellow wall is amazing. Both fanbases will appreciate each other because the noise at St James’ Park for the first night is going to be something really special.
“We’re really excited. 20 years is a long time without Champions League. We had a great season last season and we’re not just here to make up the numbers, we want to be competing on all fronts. We’ve got six big games ahead of us in the group stage but we’ve got a great coach in Eddie Howe and great players.
“We’re really going to give it our all. We want our fans to dream and we’ve got a group they can get excited about. We feel we’ve got the players and coaching staff and the set-up to compete with all the teams. It’s going to be tough, we understand that, but we’re going to give it our best.”