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Intertoto Cup 2006 Champions: Where are they Now?

Newcastle haven't won a major trophy since the 1950s and with Joe Kinnear's current transfer policy, this long silverware-less spell seems likely to roll on. The latest tournament of sorts that the Magpies won was the now defunct, Intertoto Cup. The competition that was run until 2008, was a summer tournament for European clubs that had not qualified for the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) or the Champions League.

The format was a group and knockout, with 60 teams applying to participate. The 11 winning teams in the 3rd Round qualified for the Second Qualifying Round for the UEFA Cup. The clubs that then went furthest in the UEFA Cup the won the Intertoto Cup. Newcastle were the first to do so as they progressed to the Round of 16 in the 2006/07 season.

Newcastle faced Norwegian outfit, Lillestrøm in the Northern Region 3rd Round over two legs. The following side played in the second leg at the Araysen Stadion, winning 3-0. Arguably one of the better Newcastle teams of the modern age, but where are they now?

GK – Shay Given

Given was a key player for Newcastle, making crucial saves. Regarded a cult hero, the Irishman played 354 times for the Magpies and was named in the Premier League’s Team of the Season for 2006/07. Following seasons were blighted with horrendous injuries and with the club in turmoil, the player’s lawyer announced Given was “considering his future” and in January, Manchester City made a £5 million bid. The bid was rejected but Given subsequently to the Etihad Stadium for £8 million. Given played in 50 impressive appearances for City before falling behind Joe Hart in 2010. With Hart’s emergence, game time became limited and in 2011, Given moved to his present team, Aston Villa. Last season was a disappointing one as he lost his place to Brad Guzan. Given has recently been linked with moves away from Villa Park.

RB – Stephen Carr

The Irishman’s Newcastle career was badly affected by injuries and played only 78 times in 4 seasons. His injuries meant he fell behind Nolberto Solano in the competition for the right-back slot and he fell even further down the pecking order as Newcastle signed Habib Beye and Geremi. Carr was released in 2008 and was linked with moves to Aston Villa, West Ham, Everton, Wigan, Hertha Berlin, Bohemians and Genk. Following an unsuccessful trial at Leicester, Stephen Carr retired from international football. However Birmingham City tempted him out of retirement in 2009. Following 106 games, Carr announced his retirement again. He rejected approaches from Birmingham to become a coach as he and his family moved to Spain where Carr had business interests.

CB – Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor has remained at Newcastle his whole career. 2006/07 was considered his breakthrough season and has been a key member of the Magpies’ defensive line for many a year. The Englishman has made 118 appearances, scoring 11 goals.

CB – Titus Bramble

The English centre back played 105 times for Newcastle before moving to Wigan Athletic on a free transfer in 2007. His 2008/09 performances earned him several accolades including ‘Player of the Year’ and ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ for Wigan. Despite this success, Bramble signed for Sunderland in 2010, following Steve Bruce. Following 47 appearances, Bramble was released in 2013.

LB – Celestine Babayaro

Babayaro was signed for an undisclosed fee in 2005 from Chelsea. He quickly asserted himself as the first choice left back in the team. However his time at Newcastle was plagued by injury and in 2007, after 47 appearances, a mutual decision was reached to terminate his contract. In 2008 the Nigerian signed for LA Galaxy. Babayaro was shocked by the reality of the MLS. He had expected an American super-club but when faced with shabby accommodation including having to fly in the economy class and sharing a room whilst on the road, his commitment suffered. In 2010, Babayaro retired and a year later he was declared bankrupt.

CDM – Nolberto Solano

Nolberto ‘Nobby’ Solano was another fan favourite at Newcastle. The well-travelled Peruvian played 230 times for Newcastle over two spells, scoring 45 times. He became the first Peruvian to play in the Premier League when he signed for £2,480,000 in 1998. In 2004 he left for Aston Villa only to return to St James’ Park for £1.5 million in 2005 after rejecting approaches from Liverpool. With injuries to Stephen Carr, Solano played the majority of the 2006/07 season at right-back.

Shortly after signing a new contract, Solano requested to leave the Magpies to be closer to his family who had moved to London and in 2007 Solano moved to West Ham. He was released at the end of his contract in 2008 and signed for Greek club, Larissa, where he became the “biggest signing in the club’s history”. He then returned to Peru with Universitario de Deportes. In 2010 he was welcomed back to England as he signed for Leicester City.

He was offered a new contract at the end of the season, but chose to leave the club, following former assistant manager at Newcastle, Nigel Pearson, to Hull City. He played at Hartlepool United for a season in 2011 before retirement. He started his managerial career at Newcastle Banfield in 2012 as the part-time first-team coach before becoming a full-time manager at Universitario de Deportes. In December 2012, Solano left the post having guided the club from the relegation zone to the top half of the table.

RM – Charles N’Zogbia

Signed as a youth player in 2004 from Le Havre, Charles N’Zogbia played 118 times for Newcastle, scoring on 9 occasions. The French international found himself playing less regularly in 2006/07 falling behind Damien Duff in the pecking order. In 2007 he refused to be used as a substitute in a game against Watford.

However a few months later, N’Zogbia signed a 5-year contract. A year into his contract, N’Zogbia announced his desire to leave the club. “After four years at Newcastle, I want to reach a higher level of ambition. I don’t think that is possible here.” The winger apologized to fans and announced he would never again play for the club while Joe Kinnear was manager. This followed a Kinnear interview in which he mispronounced N’Zogbia’s name as ‘insomnia’. In January 2009, N’Zogbia left for Wigan Athletic. While there he picked up awards for Wigan’s ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ and ‘Supporters’ Player of the Season’ for 2009/10. In 2011, Wigan accepted a £9.5 million bid from Aston Villa for N’Zogbia and he subsequently moved to his current club.

CM – Emre Belozoglu

Emre signed for Newcastle in 2005 from Inter Milan. He proved to be a popular player amongst the Toon Army faithful, showing his ability to win games through his goals and assists, one of which came in the Lillestrom game to put Newcastle 3-0 up. However 3 injury hampered seasons meant fans never really saw what the Turk was really capable of.

In 2008 Emre moved to Fenerbahce, a move that proved unpopular amongst Galatasaray fans. Galatasaray, a team for which he used to play, are deadly rivals with Fenerbahce and “anti-Emre” campaigns were started. His consistent displays saw Emre awarded ‘Super Lig Player of the Season’ for 2009/10. In 2012, Emre moved to Spain and Atletico Madrid before returning to Fenerbahce in January of this year.

CM – Scott Parker

The tough tackling midfield powerhouse signed for Newcastle in 2005 from Chelsea. He quickly became a first-team regular and was named the second best player in England in 2006 by Sky Sports and Opta Index. He led Newcastle to the Intertoto Cup before signing for West Ham United in 2007 for £7 million. In 2008/09 the Englishman played a major part in West Ham’s season and was named ‘Hammer of the Year’.

Following terrific displays for the Hammers and an England recall, Parker was nominated for the 2011 PFA Player of the Year Award. Following reported interest from Tottenham Hotspur, Parker handed in a transfer request and moved to White Hart Lane in 2011 for £5.5 million. Parker became an important player for Spurs as they vied for Champions League qualification but was sold to Fulham at the start of the 2013/14 season as Tottenham reinvested the Gareth Bale money.

LM – James Milner

Newcastle United took advantage of Leeds’ financial difficulties to snap up young English prodigy, James Milner. He was a regular starter under Bobby Robson but when Robson was sacked and replaced by Graeme Souness, game time came less regularly. In 2005, a clause in Nolberto Solano’s contract meant that when the Peruvian signed, Milner was to join Aston Villa on loan. Following a successful loan spell at Villa and a decent return season at Newcastle, Aston Villa signed Milner for £12 million in 2008. In 2010, Milner was sold to Manchester City for £28.5 million + Stephen Ireland as the Citizens looked to invest their Middle Eastern money. He went on to win the Barclays Premier League at Man City where he continues to play.

ST – Shola Ameobi

The only other survivor from 2006, Ameobi, who has been at Newcastle his whole career, scored twice in the game against Lillestrom. Since signing from the youth set-up in 2000, Ameobi has played 288 times for the club, scoring 51 goals. He hasn’t been a first team regular lately, being used mainly as an impact substitute. In 2011, Shola’s younger brother, Sammy, joined Newcastle United.

And not forgetting the three substitutions that were made…

Craig Moore left in 2007 for Australia, playing for Brisbane Roar and Sydney United. He also played for Kavala in Greece before retiring in 2011.

Nicky Butt joined South China in 2010 and retiring in 2011. He is now Manchester United’s Reserve Coach.

Matthew Pattison signed for Norwich in 2008. He has since played for Mamelodi Sundowns, Engen Santos and Bidvest Wits in South Africa. He continues to play for the latter, playing alongside Benjani.

So there we have it. It just goes to show how much football can change in such a short space of time. Newcastle went on to win 4-1 on aggregate.

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