Shola Ameobi has been talking about his career and life at Newcastle United.

He comes across, as always, as a really canny bloke.

However, I do think when it comes to his actual playing football contribution at Newcastle United, there is a rewrite of history being attempted.

Shola Ameobi actually appears to believe what he is saying and many fans seem to fall for it as well.

Somehow, Shola clung onto a place in the Newcastle squad until only a few months before his 33rd birthday, when he was released in summer 2014.

As to how he stayed so long at St James Park, he say: ‘I was always able to detach myself from everything and look at the bigger picture. That’s why I had the longevity I had at Newcastle.’

Well I think the truth is something quite different, for a striker who never managed double figures in the Premier League to stay all of his career at a club – it just doesn’t really add up.

Basically, he was seen as a cheap option to give another contract to, by both the Hall and Ashley administrations. Each time it happened my heart sank a little further.

Bottom line is a lot of people now don’t want to see the reality that his career very much mirrors that of Steven Taylor, yet the defender is seen as a joke now by many Newcastle fans. However, Taylor was a decent player at times in his Newcastle career and first choice for much of it (when fit!), unlike Shola Ameobi who never was first choice.

Kevin Keegan was the one manager who was prepared to cut the ties, sending Shola off on loan to Championship side Stoke in the second-half of the 2007/08 season, with a view to a permanent deal.

After not scoring a single goal, Stoke City sent him back, Mike Ashley then forced Keegan out and Shola Ameobi stayed for another six years! Only at Newcastle.

Joe Kinnear and Alan Pardew both gave the striker new contracts, I rest my case!

The way Shola Ameobi talks, you would think he had been an Alan Shearer figure, in terms of a 100% totally committed leader of men.

In a small minority of matches he looked as though he had the ability and in a few more Shola did have the desire – but his overall career at NUFC tells you otherwise.

He did show a lot of promise for Newcastle and the England Under 21s in the early days. Whether it was being asked to play on (in 2006 when aged 24) to help Newcastle to Intertoto qualification leading to the UEFA Cup, instead of having an operation he’d been waiting to have, that effectively ended his chances of being a decent (Premier League) player – we will never know. Shola had scored nine goals in 25 Premier League starts in 2005/06 but then his next best total in the next eight years was six PL goals, then four his next best effort.

Scoring a handful of goals against the Mackems has covered up an awful lot of cracks for many people.

A great bloke maybe but not a great player for Newcastle United.

Shola Ameobi speaking to The Guardian:

“The club (Newcastle United) is the pulse of the city. The result on a Saturday determines the vibe for that week. It can be great at times but, on the flip side, when things aren’t going your way, I’ve seen players who just can’t deal with it because it is that intense.

“I loved it – that friction of wanting to do well and, also, having to do well. I always cherished living in that bubble.

“It is important people understand it is not just about what the team does; it is how you do it. Ultimately, if the fans see you putting in the effort, they’ll always take you to heart. The club is bang in the centre of the city and it being a one-club town plays a big part, too. All you will see all week is Newcastle shirts. You don’t get that in many cities.

 “I’m still helping out (at Newcastle United) on days off, Newcastle is home and it’s where I live, even if I stay down in Nottingham during the week. I work with Newcastle’s academy players, the schoolboys; from 12s to 16s. It’s doing sessions and working with the strikers. I am doing it when I can. It’s something I’m passionate about – I have been all my career – and it’s helped me, as well. It lets me see the game from a coach’s perspective. It’s really broadened my horizons.

“When I was in the Newcastle youth system, I was inspired by the guys in the first team and that’s what I want to do for these younger players. I feel there haven’t been enough players coming through the academies, certainly at Newcastle and, if I can improve the players there by one or two per cent, it’s something I feel obliged to do.

“I love the place, I’m from there and it’s what I’ve always known. In the future, I’m certainly open to it. It’s something I’m working towards now. I’m helping the young kids and, even if I’m not an official part of it, I will always be there to try to help the younger kids coming through. Newcastle is a club that will always be a part of my life.

“For every Newcastle fan, it is the pinnacle to beat the Mackems and for me to score that many goals against them – it endeared me to the Newcastle fans and I am forever grateful for that.

“I didn’t do anything different for those games. It was just destiny. The volley in the 5-1 stands out. It was just the occasion, the atmosphere and the technique was very hard. To be able to produce that in such a setting was very fulfilling.

“Being from Newcastle, I was always keen not to get myself immersed in it all because it’s very easy to lose your head.

“I was always able to detach myself from everything and look at the bigger picture. That’s why I had the longevity I had at Newcastle.

“As a young player, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the whole business of: ‘This is you.’ I find my identity not in what I can do but who I am.”

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Leazes Ender

    ‘Due Diligence’ was done by Ashley six months before he bought out Hall and Shepherd.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      he’s a right Snide, they must have pulled a Stroke on Freddie then

      • Leazes Ender

        Freddy had to be in on it as well, isn’t that why he kept his gob shut for ten long years….

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Shola & Sammy first brothers to play for the Toon since the Robledo bros but nowhere near as good

    • Leicester Mag

      Sorry to be an anorak but also had the Appleby brothers and the Caldwells.

  • Geordie-7676

    For all his failings as a professional footballer in terms of ability, i don’t think anyone can doubt his passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the the club.

    As a Geordie, he was given the opportunity to play for the club he loved, and right or wrong, he was kept on by management. I don’t know a single Geordie that wouldn’t snap their hands off.

    He may not of been the best, but he wanted the best for the club, did what he was able to do, and shouldn’t be chastised for it. I for one will always think fondly of the guy.

  • ghostrider

    No doubt Shola should have went before his time and he would have done had he not been a life long Geordie.
    The fact that he was a Geordie and a fan plus being the brother of Sammi, will have possibly all sentimentally worked in his favour, possibly.

    Not to mention a loyal player on cheap wages, compared.
    Big things were expected of Sammi and I’m sure the club would have seen Sammi’s transition being much easier and faster with his brother’s influence around him to keep him on the straight and narrow.

    Basically Shola is a fans favourite. He had his good times and many damp squibs along the line but he never rocked the boat and was very possibly more of a training ground asset as well as a dressing room asset in keeping a calm.

    Whether its right or wrong to keep players like this when they get to a stage of little on the pitch effectiveness is obviously open to discussion but all clubs do it.

    It would be hard to call Shola a legend but certainly not hard to appreciate his services and loyalty.

    • Rich Lawson

      Nice that he is working with the kids to,presumably unpaid ?

      • ghostrider

        Yep, it seems Shola is appreciative of what he has and how he gained it and wants to help channel that.
        He comes across as one hell of a likeable person .

  • Leazes Ender

    ‘Due Diligence’ was done by Ashley six months before he bought out Hall and Shepherd..

    • Peaky Magpie

      😂 I bet that’ll be on your headstone !

      • Leazes Ender

        I’d rather it was on Ashleys.

  • Alex

    Shola was only here so long because nobody else ever wanted him. Easy to be ‘committed’ when you only have one real option.

    For too many years, a waste of a shirt that should’ve been filled with a forward of more ability.

  • I often feel Shola is misunderstood. At the end of the day, he was always a back up striker to people like Shearer, Bellamy, Owen, Kluivert, Carroll, Ba, Cisse ………

    He could have been a great of the lower leagues but his reward for staying around was to be:
    2nd top NUFC scorer in UEFA competitions (behind Shearer)
    2nd top NUFC scorer in League Cup (behind Supermac)
    2nd top NUFC scorer against Sunderland (behind Milburn)
    3rd top NUFC scorer over the last 50 years (behind Shearer and Beardsley)
    A record for substitute appearances in senior domestic football for any club (178)

    • Leazes Ender

      Least travelled journeyman footballer in history.

  • Paul Patterson

    Always the cheap option.
    At the club at least five years too long.

  • Lord

    My main memory of Shola was that under Pardew he always seem to come on in the 67th or 68th minute, usually when we were losing. Pardew’s Plan B = Shola time!

    Aside from that, have to say the article has a rather miserly tone given the obvious affection he has for the club.

  • Albert Stubbins

    he is fair on one point- he did usually remain detatched from the game!!

    • Leicester Mag

      And his feet at times

  • HappyToons

    He was no worse than new signing Josie as we will see in the next few months. I forecast Josie will not score many and will be a big damp squib. At least Shola has a 100% penalty record 10 out of 10. I wonder how many goals Perez will have score after another 10 years!

  • anyobrien

    He was utter cobblers and stole a living as a footballer…. Bone idle and couldn’t trap and control a football to save his life.