Shola Ameobi will likely start alongside Leon Best at Craven Cottage this afternoon, in a game that if the Magpies win will see them in 5th place ion the Premier League by tonight.
Shola Ameobi – seen 9 managers at Newcastle
Shola Ameobi has seen a lot of managers at Newcastle since he burst onto the scene in 2000, when he was 18 and Sir Bobby Robson was managing the club and building a good side on Tyneside.
Robson had Newcastle in the top five in his last three seasons in charge – 4th, 3rd and 5th – before he was fired by then Chairman Freddy Shepherd because 5th place wasn’t good enough.
Alan Pardew is now manager, and it looks like he is also building a top side, and with any luck Newcastle will qualify for Europe again by finishing high up in the league this season, but in exactly what position is an open question.
Top half of the table is the club’s official target this season, but if Newcastle can keep up their good form they could finish maybe 7th or even higher by the middle of May, when the season ends.
Shola has seen 9 managers at Newcastle in his twelve years in the first team – Bobby Robson, Graeme Souness, Glenn Roeder, Sam Allardyce, Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer, Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew.
Changing managers every 18 months or so does not lead to any stability at any club, and Newcastle fans will be hoping that Alan Pardew will be on board for some time and bring some success back to the club.
Alan seems to be building a really good side on Tyneside, with more good players expected to arrive in the summer, and Newcastle just made a terrific signing in Papiss Cisse from SC Freiburg.
Shola is now 30 and has talked about two words that are very rarely used in one sentence - Newcastle and stability:
“Stability wise, everyone seems to be moving in the same direction, which is crucial for any successful team, in my eyes. I have been here when managers have changed every couple of seasons and you just don’t quite get that sense of stability.”
“Obviously with Chris Hughton, before Alan, he brought that sense of stability in and as players, we just felt we were going somewhere. And that is the sense we are getting now.”
“That means to an end as it were – pushing for a common goal. And that goal is to finish as high as we can and to try to get into Europe.”
“That is something the manager spoke to us about at the start of the season. He told the players in pre-season that was his objective and that is where we are trying to go”
“We have a small squad and the manager has always spoken about wanting to get another striker in. Cisse had a fantastic season last time in the Bundesliga. He is a top, top player so, like everyone else, I’m excited.It’s great news.”
“Our focus has been on Fulham on Saturday, but we’ll welcome him with open arms when he comes – hopefully he will be injury free from the Africa Cup of Nations.”
“People ask if I get worried about someone new coming in. Do you know what? You would think that, in a way, it would disappoint me but, really, it doesn’t.”
“As I’ve always said, we have had numerous strikers come in since I have been here and it does not change for me.” “At the end of the day, you’ve got to fight for places at every club and it is no different here.”
“For me, it makes you work harder. When a top player comes in, you know you have to fight harder and do better to get a place in the team and that can only bode well for the club.”
“I have always seen it that way. I always try to look at the bigger picture. Hopefully, it can only bode well for the club.”
The signing of Cisse will put extra pressure on strikers like Shola Ameobi and Leon Best, who will probably be up front for Newcastle this afternoon.
But Alan Pardew has also managed to get the players indoctrinated into a team ethic, and how the team does always takes priority over individual performances, and the team spirit in the dressing room is just excellent.
Ameobi has scored only one goal this season, and he is due some goals soon, so hopefully the 6’2″ striker could get one this afternoon.
For the record Shola has 71 goals in 318 appearances for Newcastle since making his debut against Chelsea on 9th September 2000.
We’re hoping we can get at least a point at Craven Cottage this afternoon, but it would also be very nice to be in 5th place by this evening.