No surprises here: Newcastle have announced the list of players they will retain for the 2014-2015 season, and veteran Shola Ameobi is not on it.
With his contract up at the end of the season, it looked as though the 32-year-old was prepared to leave Newcastle. His rejection of a one-year extension earlier in the week cemented that belief, and now, it’s become official.
It’s been a difficult season for the Nigerian. He played 26 Premier League games for Newcastle, starting just 14 and scoring only two goals – not great numbers for a forward. Yet that’s better than last two seasons, when Ameobi was primarily a bench player, existing on the fringes of the club.
But that shouldn’t diminish his long and distinguished career with the Magpies. It’s rare these days to find a player who remains with one club for nearly 20 years, and such commitment deserves recognition.
Ameobi joined Newcastle’s academy setup in 1995, making his first team debut in 2000. In total he made 397 appearances for the senior side over 14 years, scoring 79 goals in the process.
The Nigerian remained committed to the club even in tough times, remaining with Newcastle during their year in the Championship. 2009-2010 may have actually been Ameobi’s best season, when he netted eleven times in the second-division.
After all those years with the Magpies, what the veteran may be most remembered for was his tendency to hassle rivals Sunderland. Known to some as the “Mackem Slayer”, Ameobi scored seven goals against the Black Cats while playing for Newcastle.
In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.
But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.
[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]
In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.
For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.
From JPW on Merseyside:
“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”
The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.
And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.
Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.
If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.
Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.
Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.
“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”
So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.
As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.