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Why Shola Ameobi holds a place in Geordie hearts

By Lee Ryder on Mar 6, 12 11:37 AM


Shola Ameobi is no stranger to being on the end of stick from certain sections of Newcastle United's fanbase - but the moment he fired the ball into the Sunderland net there wasn't one complaint from anybody who follows the black and whites.

Sometimes, Shola has perhaps endured too much stick down the years when donning the shirt of the club he clearly loves.

True, some of his performances lack impact at times, but perhaps his biggest issue is complacency.

The intensity of Premier League life and the expectations to win mean there is enormous pressure on players.

However, when it comes to the Tyne-Wear derby Ameobi always seems to find a way.

Seven goals in these fixtures put him right up near the top of the derby day heroes list, and now just four goals behind Wor Jackie.

Alan Pardew has commented that it is vital United have players who understand the Tyne-Wear derby.

In Shola, Newcastle have one.

Ameobi did not have to play on Sunday and could easily have cried off with flu.

Instead, he gave everything he had in his locker and showed how much he cared about keeping up Newcastle's incredibly good derby record.

Pardew after the game described him as a legend, and while some thought that was farfetched for me he will always be a cult hero at SJP.

Quite often I get asked, why is Shola Ameobi still at the club or why is he here?

Yet those who know the club will tell you he is one of the Magpies' best professionals and a shining example to young players.

Just one manager since his debut in 2000 has tried to offload him and that was Kevin Keegan - that speaks volumes.

Ameobi may not be perfect, but without doubt he's a player worth having in Pardew's squad - not least for the derby day!

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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