Shola Ameobi, the stroller, is now 30-years-old. Yes 30, and still he is yet to score his 50th league goal for Newcastle United, which in itself is quite an achievement considering that he’s now in his 13th season at Newcastle. For those of you who don’t see maths as your strong point, that’s about four goals a season, and in this campaign Ameobi has got just the solitary strike in 16 appearances. Hardly glowing stats for the Nigerian striker, so is it time that Shola is shown the door?
Players don’t get much more frustrating than Shola Ameobi. He has plenty of talent, but sometimes you have to question his application, and then of course there’s his poor fitness record that has blighted him over the years. This might be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to the events of last week, which started with seeing Newcastle sign another striker in the form of Papiss Cisse, and ended with Ameobi putting in a truly terrible performance against Fulham, but I think his time is up.
Ameobi clearly has other ideas and upon the arrival of Cisse told Sky Sports that “Cisse is a top player, so, like everyone else, I’m excited. You would think, in a way, it would disappoint me he has signed but, really, it doesn’t. We have had numerous strikers come in since I have been here. It makes you work harder. If you are playing well, you will be in the team. I can’t see that changing.” The thing is, though, Ameobi just isn’t playing well.
As always the glimpses have been there. He was a force up front against Manchester United, providing a good flick on for Demba Ba’s opener, and his equaliser against Tottenham was out of the top drawer, but those glimpses are too few and far between. When the Dembas return Shola will be fourth choice again and up until that moment I think Leon Best deserves to be employed through the middle.
The one thing about showing Ameobi the door is that I’m not sure any other Premier League club would have him. He’s got a contract until 2014, which he signed last summer, so I guess we’re going to be stuck with him for another couple of years. The one redeeming feature about Shola is that he loves the club, as he told the Evening Standard last year, saying: “All I’ve ever wanted is to play for Newcastle. Newcastle is, and always will be, my club and I’m looking forward immensely to the next three years.”
I suppose he’s alright as a back-up, but I can see me getting frustrated by Shola on more occasions this season and probably more frequently than I’ll see him finding the back of the net. Here’s hoping Sami Ameobi’s Newcastle career runs a slightly different path.
Here are the top 100 goals of 2011. See if you agree with Cheik Tiote’s position…