One of the many things we have come to like about Chris Hughton, the Newcastle manager, over the last 11 months, is that he prepares so well for every single game, and never understimates any team.
Shola Ameobi celebrating with Newcastle fans at Plymouth
It was a lot easier to underestimate teams last season in the Championship, than it will be back in the Premiership, but Chris drummed into his players that the next game is always the most important game, and in fact the only thing that matters – whatever happened in the previous game.
Thats’s a wonderful psychology to get over to your players, and of course it’s the basis on which teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and the Chelseas of this world are built.
Another thing to remember is that things are never as good as they may seem after a good win, and never as bad as they may appear after a big defeat. That viewpoint tends to keep everything in moderation.
One of the players who has a chance nest season to be a big player for Newcastle is the 28 year-old and very experienced 6’2″ striker, Shola Ameobi.
Ameobi talked about next season to the Evening Chronicle today:
“Hopefully, our home form can mirror what we did last season.” “That’ll be very important for us – being solid at home and nicking a few points away from home.”
“Every game means a lot, regardless of what’s gone on in the past.” “It’ll be exactly the same – we’ll go into next season wanting first and foremost to win games and stay in the league.”
As Shola goes into his 10th season in the Newcastle first team, he has absolutely no regrets about staying on at Newcastle after the disasters of May 2009.
Shola made his debut for Newcastle on 9th September 2000, in a home game against Chelsea. when the great Sir Bobby Robson was manager at the club.
That was a full 10 years ago and Shola talked about the last 10 seasons on Tyneside:
“If you’d asked me if I’d have been here for 10 seasons when I started, I wouldn’t have believed you.” “It’s been an up and down time, but I’ve loved every minute of it.”“It’s unbelievable to play for the team you support, and to cap the 10th season off by winning the league was wonderful.”
“It was a pleasure to come into and put in performances like we have done.” “I haven’t played consistently in the Premier League – that’s the one thing I’m looking for.” “I know if I play games on a consistent basis, I’ll score goals.”
“I think I’ve proved that when I’ve been given the chance.” “I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone – I just want to go out there, play football and score goals at the end of the day.” “Hopefully, I can do that next season.”
Ameobi has made a total of 279 appearances for his home-town club with 63 goals, and he looked as good as he’s ever looked in a black and white shirt last August when he scored 5 goals before being injured and helped Newcastle get the start they needed with 6 wins in our first 7 games of the season.
Shola also appeared 20 times with 7 goals for the England U21 side from 2000-2003 and as long as he can stay fit from the many hamstring injuries he picks up – we have to think (or is that hope?) he will have a good season next time out.
The Zaria, Nigeria born player added:
“I’d like to have doubled my tally, but such is life. Injuries and stuff have stopped me from doing that.” “Every game I play I want to score – that won’t change.”
We think Shola Ameobi, like Andy Carroll, as another example, has benefited last season from the excellent coaching of Newcastle manager Chris Hughton.
Chris may be quiet but he’s no-nonsense when it comes to coaching, and tells his players the truth about their games, in an effort to improve their play.
And we saw last season with Shola, Andy, Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan, Tamas Kadar and others, that Chris sees the positives in their play and brings them out.
That’s what good coaches do – they get the very best out of the players they have at the club.
We think that Chris Hughton can have a further big impact on the play of Shola Ameobi, and while he will start next season as probably the number 3 striker at best, it is a perfect time for Shola to show exactly what he can do at the famous Newcastle club.