Happy Birthday Shola
By Adam Clery on October 12, 2012 in Society
In years to come, when football as we know it has curled up onto the posh rug, shit itself, and quietly gone to sleep, we’ll look back on the early part of the 21st century as a truly baffling age for what used to be called “The Beautiful Game”. Scandals, assaults, racism, £200,000 a week, Mark Lawrenson’s shirts… we’ll laugh about someday.
But when I’m old and grey, I’d like to think that I harked on endlessly about the few figures in the game who genuinely made it worth watching. The composed centre-backs, the exciting wingers, and magicians in the middle of the park… and Shola.
Earlier in the week, I convinced betting website Unibet that they should let me ramble on about why Newcastle’s number 23 was the closest thing we have to a sporting superhero. They were understandably skeptical, but the rection the article got was as broad as it was delightful. Except for some discontent on a Sunderland message board (if you’re reading guys, thanks for boost in hits you gave the article) the consensus seemed to be that aye, we’re all big fans of Shola these days.
“It’s been an odd career, one that has seen him score a winning goal away to Peterborough and an equaliser at the Nou Camp. It’s seen him partner the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer and be kept out of a side by a half-fit Marlon Harewood. He’s a player who’s contrived to miss open goals and chances so gilt-edged not even Johnnie Cochran can explain them away and yet, when placing the ball on the penalty spot, he remains as composed as sheet music. An Englishman with a 100% record from 12 yards… now there’s a thing.
You may have seen Why Aye Man, a Superman-esque costume dreamed up by the marketing department at St James’ Park for fans to embarrass themselves in at stag-dos and away games alike. But if ever you wanted to see what a real super hero looks like, look at Shola Ameobi. Newcastle have produced a player who has routinely popped up to rescue them when all hope looked lost and, a few days away from his 31st birthday and under his 9th different manager, has found his niche as an impact sub, with his cape flapping readily from the touchline.”
If you’d like to read the article, you can follow this link. It’s canny because I gush a little bit. But in the meantime, here is a roaring account of every goal Shola Ameobi has notched in a Newcastle United shirt. There’s a few classics in there, as well as a few scuffers, but more than anything else there’s so many memories of a career that’s now approaching its 13th season at the club. So, Happy Birthday Shola, you’ve made this frogshite mental game I love so much seem the little bit more wholesome. Cheers.
- The Beautiful Game: Region Comes Together For Little Hearts Matter