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.