Random English teams you forgot played in Europa League including Portsmouth, Bolton and Millwall's European adventures
MANCHESTER UNITED will fly the English flag tonight as they take on Spanish side Villarreal in the Europa League final.
The Red Devils are not the only British team to enjoy a famous run in Europe's secondary competition this century – and many have been forgotten.
Five English clubs have won the Europa League since it was founded as the Uefa Cup in 1971: Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Ipswich Town, Chelsea and the Red Devils.
But even more have enjoyed long runs in it – including Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City, who have both competed in Europe as Championship clubs.
Here, SunSport have picked out eight forgetful teams that have represented England on the continent this century.
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Ex-champs Ipswich enjoyed a resurgence at the beginning of the century, finishing fifth in the Premier League to qualify for Europe again.
And George Burley's side did well in the 2001-02 tournament, defeating Torpedo Moscow and Helsingborg before succumbing to Inter Milan in the third round.
The Tractor Boys were relegated from the Premier League that season but still qualified for Europe again due to the fair play rule, reaching the second round as second tier club.
Blackburn were regulars in Europe before their Premier League relegation in 2012, suffering defeats to eventual finalists Celtic in 2002-03 and Turkish side Genclerbirligi the following season.
Rovers' best effort this century came under Mark Hughes in 2006-07, overcoming Basel, Wisla Krakow, Feyenoord and Nancy to reach the knock-out stage, where they lost Bayer Leverkusen.
Blackburn fans won't want to remember their 2007-08 campaign – losing to minnows AEL in the first round – although we're sure they'd happily take a to Greece these days.
Bolton enjoyed two brilliant runs in the Uefa Cup during the 2000s, reaching the last 32 under big Sam Allardyce in 2005-06.
But the Trotters' greatest European adventure came under Gary Megson two years later, securing a 2-2 draw against BAYERN MUNICH at the Allianz Arena and knocking out ATLETICO MADRID to reach the last 16.
How times have changed…
Premier League Southampton haven't enjoyed the best time in the Europa League since the turn of the century, losing to Steaua Bucharest in 2003-04 and Midtjylland in a 2015-16 play-off.
But the Saints did make history the following season, beating Italian giants Inter 2-1 at St Mary's in the group stage thanks to a Virgil van Dijk equaliser and an own goal.
Claude Puel's side went on to suffer heartbreak in the final group game, drawing 1-1 to Israeli side Hapoel Be'er Sheva to finish third – missing out by the barest of margins.
Portsmouth qualified for Europe in 2007-08 after winning the FA Cup.
They were drawn against AC Milan, who had won the Champions League just two years earlier and played Dida, Andriy Shevchenko, Clarence Seedorf and Kaka in their group match at Fratton Park.
The match finished 2-2 thanks to a late Filippo Inzaghi goal, with Andrea Pirlo left on the bench (in case you were wondering).
Fulham have had three goes in Europe since the turn of the century, but their 2009-10 effort was by far the most impressive.
Roy Hodgson's side reached the Europa League final after beating Vetra, Amkar Perm, Basel, CSKA Sofia, Shakhtar Donetsk, JUVENTUS, Wolfsburg and Hamburg.
It was an incredible run, ended by Atletico and a late Diego Forlan goal in extra time.
And Fulham aren't the only surprise English team to make the final as Middlesbrough achieved the feat in 2005-06.
Steve McClaren – in his last assignment before becoming England manager – guided Boro to wins against Skoda Xanthi, Grasshopper, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Litex Lovech, Stuttgart, ROMA, Basel and Steaua Bucuresti to reach the final.
They were humbled in the showpiece event by Sevilla, losing 4-0 to the Spanish giants.
Championship Millwall are probably the most fortunate English team to qualify for the Uefa Cup.
The London club enjoyed the luckiest cup run in history when they reached the FA Cup final in 2004, not facing a single Premier League team.
Manchester United comfortably won the final 3-0, but because the Red Devils had already qualified for Europe, the runners-up were given the prize and lost to Hungarian side Ferencvaros in the first round.
Championship Birmingham, who had qualified after winning the League Cup, narrowly missed out on a place in the knock-out stages after picking up 10 points in 2011-12.
In the same season, FA Cup runners-up Stoke City reached were knocked out in the last 32 by Spanish giants Valencia.
FA Cup winners Wigan did themselves proud by picking up five group stage points as a second tier club in 2013-14, beating Maribor.
League Cup winners Swansea City famously hammered VALENCIA 3-0 at the Mestalla before losing to Napoli in 2013-14.
FA Cup runners-up Hull City failed to progress beyond the play-offs in 2014-15, losing to Lokeren.
And neither did Burnley in 2018-19, losing to Olympiacos.
Wolves enjoyed a superb campaign in 2019-20, losing to eventual winners Sevilla in the quarter-finals.
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