Back in February I did a post graphically illustrating Alan Shearer’s 206 goals for Newcastle aided by a YouTube video someone had produced, consolidating all the goals into a single stream of footballing genius. A week or so ago, twitter user @sewellyy uploaded a similar video for Shola Ameobi. Here is the video. Watch it a few times - there’s so many amazing moments, and illustrates the real evolution in the game of one of my favourite players.
These posts I do would be nigh on impossible without archive footage, and hugely time consuming were it not for benevolent fans like him, producing compilation goals for no other reason than their love of the game and the club. I take my hat off to their commitment.
Shola has always had his detractors; those that question his workrate, his pace, his touch, his vision etc etc - pretty much every element of his game. It’s always baffled me that the Typical Shola Hater can value him so little given all he has been through at the club, and the sheer amount of important goals he’s scored. Here are all 72.
There’s few discernible ‘patterns’ to the goals Shola has scored, despite his reputation with certain elements of our support, he is a well-rounded goalscorer. Though there’s not quite the variety of Shearer, or the indeed Cissé, there are goals from positions all over the 18 yard box, a number of long-range efforts, and numerous headers. Something not immediately obvious in the image above is Shola’s propensity to place finishes to the bottom left corner of goal, interestingly where his penalties are placed too (see below).
It’s no secret that Shola is one of the best penalty takers in the game. No matter how many in-game chances are wasted due to a lack of concentration or technique, we know that when he places the ball on the penalty spot, that he will score. Shola does NOT MISS penalties. He just can’t. 9/9 is his professional record, and what’s more interesting is that 7 of those 9 have been placed into the exact same spot. One would think goalkeepers would have sussed ‘The Ameobi Penalty’ by now, especially the mackem ones given the practice they’ve had, but he still maintains an 100% record.
The lad who used to sit in front of me in L7 used to turn around and look back at me whenever we had a penalty - he quite literally couldn’t face them. His knowledge of whether a goal was scored arriving a split second after mine - the goal confirmed by my own celebration as those watching jumped and dived forward towards him. I never had this problem. I’ve never ‘worried’ about a penalty. We’ve had Shearer and Shola. Why would I?
I love him dearly, but the thought of Demba placing the ball on the spot against the mackems still brings pangs of anxiety and hand-wringing to me, months after the event. That was Shola’s ball. Shola’s penalty. Shola’s goal.
THE MACKEM SLAYER.
Their place, or ours, if Shola is on the pitch, and playing against his sworn enemies, you can guarantee there is noone in the world wanting him to score more than himself. Consistency against a single club is an interesting thing to explore, look at the history of Gerrard/Rooney against us, but for such consistency to be found against your local rivals, especially when you are a local lad is just so wonderfully poetic.
Hopefully Shola will force me to revisit this post in a year to update and add to the diagram. Will we see the Shola-Century? It’s hard to believe we will, especially given his new Pardew-enforced role as an amazingly effective impact-substitute, but the fact that he is anywhere near after injuries, form-dips, and competition for places with the likes of Cissé, Ba, Shearer, Kluivert, Owen, Carroll et al, is a testament to a true club hero. The local lad that has lived all of our fantasies; Barcelona to Brentford. SHOOOLLLLAAAAAAAAAAA!!11 months ago • 8 notes • view comments