Newcastle fans have every right to be enjoying their start to the new season. The performances are good and the results are flowing. Yet, as an objective observer I can’t help but feel disappointed that Shola Ameobi has been pushed aside thanks to the rise of Demba Ba and Leon Best. Disappointed not because I really rated Shola but because he was a familiar, friendly face from Newcastle’s past.
It’s fair to say however: Newcastle wouldn’t be doing quite so well if Shola was leading the line. Luckily for the club he seems to have slunk way down the pecking order. To get into the team he’d surely have to fight his way past Ba, Best, Ben Arfa, Lovenkrands and possibly Sammy. But the adoption of this hierarchy is absolutely spot-on. Best and Ba have three and four goals respectively – would Shola have mustered up similar figures had he featured as regularly? I doubt it!
Sad as it is, Shola is now a fringe player and he could well be completely sidelined by the end of the season.
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I’d feel more sorry for Shola if I hadn’t seen him put in so many lazy performances for Newcastle over the years. He’s an affable enough chap, but he gives the ball away too often, doesn’t provide enough movement and commits the striker’s cardinal sin: not scoring enough goals.
Something about his demeanour and his hat collection is quite pleasing to the opposition fan, but I can understand how Newcastle fans may have lost patience with Shola. He’s been at the club for such a long time now and just doesn’t seem to have contributed anything. The fact that he’s the least talented of the Ameobi brothers says it all.
So what’s the future for Shola? Will he be content to be a perennial bench-warmer? To slowly be shut out from the team? If he does choose to move on should he move to another Premier League club or take a step down in class and join a Championship team?
My feeling is that he shouldn’t risk a move to another Premier League team in case he finds himself in a similar position to the one he’s currently in. A move to a Championship team should present him with regular football and the chance to rebuild his career. I wish him luck, but I think it’s best we acknowledge that his Newcastle career is all but over.
Written by Harry Cloke
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