DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 18: The UEFA Europa League cup is seen prior to the UEFA Europa League Final between FC Porto and SC Braga at Dublin Arena on May 18, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
I've started to do a little bit of looking at exactly what the "financial windfall" of European competition is. To be certain, it is exactly as advertised if you qualify for the Champions League- the fixed payout for the group stages of the Champions League (£6m) significantly more than the fixed payout for the group stages of the Europa League (£829,600). If Newcastle were to qualify in 6th from the Premier League, they would be inserted at the 3rd round of qualifying- if they made it through that two leg fixture, they'd face another two leg fixture before qualifying for the group stage. Let's assume that they come through that and into the group stage... you're looking at 10 matches guaranteed for the monetary reward of roughly £1m. If they were to progress all the way to the final, you're adding 19 total matches (on top of the league and domestic cup competitions) at a maximum payout of roughly £5m. These figures are actual results from the 2008-2009 season (from the old UEFA Cup structure, but the numbers project out similarly). . . it begs the question: Is it worth it to participate in the Europa League? Financially, it's certainly not going to turn Mike Ashley's head at all. Is the unquantifiable "I want to play in Europe" drive in the players enough to offset the lack of financial gain and stress put on the squad with the extra fixtures? It certainly could mean the difference between some players wanting to stay v. leave for a "bigger club". We're certainly not in any position squad-wise to succeed on multiple fronts without significant upgrades past the starting XI. Let's talk it out- do you think it's worth it?