Alan Pardew admitted that Leon Best wasn’t due to start last night, until Shola Ameobi pulled his hamstring and reported that to the manager yesterday morning.
Leon Best – puts away his 3rd goal last night
And there had even been reports that the Ireland International would be sold to a Championship club in January, and in fact Pardew asked Leon recently why he should keep him at Newcastle, since he had no goals and no assists over the last 12 months.
A delighted Newcastle manager said after the game last night:
“Leon, who had been knocking on my door for the last two weeks telling me that he hasn’t really had an opportunity.””I spoke to him about ‘you’ve been here a year, there’s no assists, no goals. What is there for us to keep about you?’ and he kept telling me that he could do it and he’s proven that tonight.”
“He had an opportunity, somewhat fortunately because he wasn’t due to start.” “He had a good cameo at Wigan, so he was certainly going to come on at some stage but Shola Ameobi pulled out this morning and I called him with the news about half past ten and he couldn’t wait, I could tell on the phone.”
“Brilliant night for him, he deserves it.” “He’s well liked in the dressing room and I think that gives you a head start at a big club when you’ve got that sort of character.”
“He did brilliant at Nottingham Forest and he has a good record in the Championship, but of course, unproven at this level.” “Like all strikers and players from the Championship there’s sometimes a snobbish opinion that they’re not going to be good enough and as Charlie Adams proved at Blackpool and Leon has tonight.
“There are players in that division who can play at this level if they have the belief.”
The Leon Best story in the last four days is like a fairy tale, and today Leon is the Toast of Tyneside – and deserves to be too.
He did a terrific job for the club last night when it really mattered, and now of course there’s no way this lad will be sold.
Well done, Leon Best.