Doing the Ameobi since 1981

By Lee Ryder on Oct 12, 12 11:17 AM

Apart from Kevin Keegan, every Newcastle United manager that Shola Ameobi has played for has singled him out as one of the best professionals they've ever worked with.

Now given that Ameobi has worked under Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce, Joe Kinnear, Chris Hughton, Alan Shearer and Alan Pardew, you have to wonder if they can all be wrong when it comes to judging the Nigerian-born homegrown Academy product.

Keegan felt that Ameobi - who celebrates his 31st birthday today - had ran his race for the Magpies when he came back for a third coming in 2008.

That's not having a pop at KK, at the time he probably felt he would be able to persuade Mike Ashley to sign more high profile players to give Newcastle the lift they needed then (the fact United's aging squad were relegated makes a case to say Keegan was right on that score).

It was Keegan who sent him to Stoke City on loan in 2008, a move that didn't work out, despite the Potters' direct tactics that some might say played to Ameobi's strengths.

Even at 31, Shola splits the opinions of Toon fans.

But in my opinion his main problem has been consistency, and arguably the intensity of putting together four or five top notch performances in a row while leading the line for the Magpies.

You could argue that apart from Alan Shearer, and in modern-day times Demba Ba, very few have.

Yet Shola has always showed he has something different and has also popped up with some vital goals down the years for Newcastle in some of the biggest venues.

We all know what he brings to a local derby with Sunderland and if you were to look back at his collection there are some crucial strikes on there.

The fans can only judge what they see on the pitch of course.

Injuries and failure to get into the team ahead of more established stars has been the challenge in front of Ameobi down the years.

At the training ground he is renowned as one of the hardest workers at the club, if a manager has a specific role for him on the pitch he will simply get on with it.

He's viewed as the example to the younger players after coming through the ranks and taking his chance.

And whatever your views are of Shola as a fan, I'd bet there are a few who have slated him down the years who still sing the Ameobi song.

Anyway, happy birthday Shola, thanks for the memories.


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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