Shola Ameobi was a guest pundit on Sky Sports when Newcastle played Tottenham on the opening day of the season.
Those watching at home, and those at the game who found out later, were stunned at the former Newcastle player’s over the top praise for Mike Ashley.
Predictably, there was a big backlash against Shola Ameobi, we expect nothing better from the likes of Keys and Wise, but when it is one of your own it is a completely different matter.
Newcastle fans were incredulous as Shola back on that opening day was praising NUFC’s summer window, despite Mike Ashley insisting on a £20m+ profit.
To hear him say Mike Ashley had done a great job in ‘stabilising’ Newcastle United and claiming he;d made it free from debt, was met with disbelief.
Clearly, Shola Ameobi has learnt his lesson and/or been put right. Appearing this morning on Sky Sports (Soccer AM), the former Newcastle player was keen to say what a great manager Rafa Benitez is and how ‘sad’ it will be if he’s driven out ‘because he’s not been given what he wants (ED: ‘Needs’!)’ by Mike Ashley.
Ameobi admitting that Rafa Benitez hasn’t had the ‘investment’ he wanted.
Shola Ameobi talking on Soccer AM:
“I made a decision with the family that I wanted to be closer to Newcastle, which obviously limits the clubs you can look for.
“I’ve kept myself fit and I haven’t retired officially. It would have to be the right club. It’s not something I’m actively pursuing but if something came up I’d definitely be ready.
“I’ve had to think about the future. I’ve done all of my coaching badges and A Licence.
“I’ve been coaching with the academy for years now since I was at Newcastle. I enjoy passing on what I learnt because I grew up in that academy and have a lot of experiences.
“Rafa is a top, top manager.
“What he did last season for Newcastle was nothing short of remarkable.
“To get a group of players that were built to win the Championship to take the step up in the Premier League and finish 10th was awesome.
“He’s suffering from his own achievement because he’s done so well. He obviously wants investment and that hasn’t quite happened as he would have liked.
“Rafa is a man of his word, that’s the type of guy he is.
“Unfortunately for Newcastle, he’s only got this year left.
“It would be sad to see a top, top manager leave because he’s not been given what he wants.
“We’ve got everything there – top manager, great fans, a fantastic football club – it would be nice to see him happy.”
Shola Ameobi – 11 August 2018:
“You look at the amounts of money you need to pay to buy superstars now….Mike Ashley has come out and said he hasn’t got the funds to do that…to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool.
“He is a businessman, and unfortunately for the Newcastle fans, he wants to run his business in a way that is sustainable.
“Credit to Mike Ashley…because you look at the likes of Aston Villa, and these clubs who are struggling financially.
“The one thing that Mike Ashley has done for Newcastle over these last ten years, is to stabilise the club – where the club is running itself and we’ve got no debt.
“That’s credit to Mike Ashley but obviously fans of a football team want to progress year on year, they want to see big players.
“We can be quietly happy with our business…
“I know behind the scenes Rafa Benitez would have been fighting tooth and nail to get the players in but I’m just delighted that we have managed to get seven players in because the squad was light.
“They needed players and Rafa understood that.
“The turmoil will have been there because he will have been screaming to get players in and thankfully it’s happened in the last week or so.”