Ameobi warming up for Newcastle United in 2008
|Full name||Foluwashola Ameobi|
|Date of birth||12 October 1981|
|Place of birth||Zaria, Nigeria|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|2008||→ Stoke City (loan)||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 May 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Foluwashola "Shola" Ameobi (born 12 October 1981) is a professional footballer who plays as a forward. He spent 14 years at Newcastle United, where he received a winner's medal in 2010 when Newcastle lifted the Championship trophy. However, he was released from his contract on 23 May 2014 and is now available on a free transfer. He holds the record for the most appearances as a substitute in the Premier League.
Born in Zaria, Nigeria to a family from Ijumu Local Government Area in modern day Kogi State, Ameobi moved to Newcastle upon Tyne, England when he was five. His initial promise was spotted whilst attending the Walker Central Boys Club, before he was invited to attend Newcastle United's Academy.
Ameobi signed a pre-contract with Newcastle on 1 July 1997. He progressed through the youth setup, making his debut in the reserves in 1998 on 11 October against Sunderland. He made his first team debut two years later, 9 September 2000, in a home game against Chelsea. He went on to make 22 appearances for Newcastle that season, in lieu of the injured Alan Shearer and Carl Cort.
The 2002–03 Champions League saw some of Ameobi's finest performances including an equalising goal against FC Barcelona in a 3–1 defeat at the Nou Camp as well as scoring two goals against Bayer Leverkusen in a 3–1 victory.
His erratic form has earned him some criticism in the past, and although never having been claimed as a prolific goalscorer, many of his games were as a substitute. Due to injuries in the latter stages of the 2005–06 season, Ameobi gained a regular starting place, and scored six goals in Newcastle's last 12 Premier League games.
In the 2006 UEFA Intertoto Cup, Ameobi scored twice in Newcastle's away tie at Lillestrøm SK (3–0), taking him to second place in the club's table of leading goalscorers in European competition with twelve goals, behind only Shearer.
Injury, loan, and transfer attempts
During the 2006–07 season, Ameobi needed a hip operation, a problem which had been plaguing him for two seasons. Newcastle's shortage of match-fit first team strikers during the previous season had forced him to postpone this surgery. The problem eventually forced Glenn Roeder to send Ameobi for surgery two months before the transfer window, making the 0–0 draw away game to Manchester City his last game and ruling him out for the rest of the season. He had made 13 appearances (three as a substitute) and scored five goals.
Ameobi and the Newcastle medical team reported his hip operation in the United States was a success and that the club doctors and medical staff would work on his rehabilitation. It was originally thought that he would not be fit to play until the start of the 2007–08 season, but his rehabilitation progressed quickly and he returned with three games remaining in the season, clocking approximately 30 minutes of match action against Reading and making a further two appearances.
However, after failing to impress Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce, or Kevin Keegan on 27 March 2008, Ameobi agreed a loan deal with Stoke City until the end of the season, to help their promotion campaign. It is understood that a loan fee of around £500K was agreed and that a possible permanent transfer was also discussed subject to Stoke winning promotion. Ameobi made his debut for Stoke against Sheffield Wednesday on 29 March, the game ended 1–1. After playing for six games and not managing to score despite Stoke's gaining of promotion, Ameobi returned to Newcastle, and Stoke decided not to sign him permanently.
On 14 August, Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton confirmed that the club were in talks with Ameobi and that the club were keen to get the deal finalised as long as Ameobi was willing to play in the Championship. However, on 17 August, Ameobi failed a medical, showing hamstring problems, and the deal collapsed.
Return to fitness
Due to long term injuries to Mark Viduka and Alan Smith, as well as shorter term injuries to Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins, Ameobi was able to start the 2008–09 season in the first team squad. He managed to score his first goal in two years for Newcastle in a 2–2 home draw with Manchester City on 20 October. After the match, interim manager Joe Kinnear praised Ameobi and backed him to kick-start his career. He followed this up with a goal in his next game away to Sunderland in a 2–1 defeat on 25 October. He signed a new deal with the club in January 2009 to keep him contracted until 2012.
He scored a penalty to mark his 50th goal for Newcastle on 1 February 2009 against local rivals Sunderland to make the final score 1–1. He scored his first ever career hat-trick in Newcastle's first home match in the Championship against Reading on 15 August. The first two goals were diving headers, and he completed his hat-trick with a penalty, which he placed in the bottom left corner, sending the keeper the wrong way. He scored in the next game in a 1–0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday taking his tally to four goals in three games, equalling his total for the previous season. Following these early season performances he was named the Championship player of the month for August.
He got injured in Newcastle's 4–3 win over Huddersfield Town in the League Cup. The injury kept him out for three months but on his return he scored against Coventry with a left footed strike from the edge of the box. He followed this up by scoring the second in Newcastle's 2–0 home win over Middlesbrough and their 2–2 away draw with Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day taking his tally to an impressive 8 goals from 9 starts. Ameobi was subsequently sidelined with a hamstring injury but made the bench against Nottingham Forest on 29 March 2010. Ameobi appeared early in the second half as a substitute, and soon made his presence felt, firing in an angled left-footed shot off the post to give United the lead in a 2–0 victory. On 3 April 2010, Ameobi scored the decisive goal in a 3–2 victory at Peterborough United.
On 22 September 2010 Ameobi scored two goals in a surprise victory away at Chelsea in the League Cup, including the winner in the 90th minute. On 16 October 2010, Ameobi came off the bench to score Newcastle's first in a 2–2 draw against Wigan Athletic. After his good performance against Wigan, he started the next game against West Ham United alongside Andy Carroll putting in a good performance as The Magpies came from 1–0 down to win 2–1. He scored twice in Newcastle's next league game on 31 October 2010 as Newcastle crushed local rivals Sunderland 5–1 at St. James' Park. On 2 January 2011, he scored the winner in a 1–0 win at Wigan Athletic.
Despite suffering with a cheek bone injury in February which required him to wear a mask which impaired his vision upon his return, he was a regular starter after Christmas with the sale of Andy Carroll. He signed a contract extension to the end of the 2013–14 season on 10 August 2011. His current deal was due to expire at the end of the season.
In the 2011-12 season, Ameobi became something of a fringe player, with the arrival of Demba Ba and later, Papiss Cissé, pushing him onto the substitutes bench. But on Sunday 16 October 2011, against Tottenham, Ameobi, a 71st minute substitute for Leon Best, scored a great goal late on to make it 2–2. The next few games were an annoyance for Ameobi, with Ba finding his shooting boots and pairing well with Best and with Ameobi's inclusion in the starting line-up against Norwich ending up in a 4–2 defeat. On 4 March, Ameobi was yet again on the bench for a game against Sunderland, and brought on as a substitute for Papiss Cissé he scored a 91st-minute equaliser to get Newcastle back on terms and bringing his tally to 7 goals in 12 games against Sunderland for Newcastle, a record only bettered by Jackie Milburn. His prolific goal scoring form against Sunderland has led many sections of the Newcastle support to refer to him as "The Mackem Slayer". His next league goal came nine months later, in a 1-0 win over QPR on 22 December.
During Newcastle's Europa League campaign, Ameobi scored three goals in the competition; the opening goal in a 3-0 win over Bordeaux on 4 October 2012; the equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Club Brugge on 8 November 2012, and the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to secure a 1–0 aggregate victory over Metalist Kharkiv on 21 February 2013.
Ameobi scored in a 2-0 win over Morecambe in the second round in the League Cup (with his younger brother scoring the second goal) on 28 August 2013. Ameobi's next goal would come in the league when he scored the opening goal in a 2-1 home loss to Swansea City on 19 April 2014, and he also scored the opening goal in a 3-0 win over Cardiff City. On the final day of the season and also, his final appearance for Newcastle, Ameobi was sent off for dissent in a 2-1 away loss to Liverpool.
On 23 May 2014, it was confirmed by Newcastle United that they would be parting company with Ameobi after 14 years of service for the Tyneside club.
In late 2009, Ameobi declared his interest in playing for Nigeria. On 14 January 2011, he was announced in the Nigerian national squad for the first time, for a friendly against Guatemala in the United States, in February. He withdrew from the replacement game against Sierra Leone after breaking his cheekbone in a Premier League match.
On 1 November 2011, it was announced that FIFA had cleared Ameobi to play for Nigeria.
In November 2012, Ameobi received his second call up for the Nigeria national team against Venezuela. He made his debut on 14 November, appearing as a substitute in the 60th minute for former Newcastle teammate Obafemi Martins. In stoppage time at the end of the game, Ameobi laid on a pass for Ogenyi Onazi to make the score 3–1 to Nigeria.
He scored his first international goal for Nigeria on 10 September 2013 against Burkina Faso in a friendly in Kaduna, Nigeria. In November 2013, he scored his second goal against Italy, in a friendly at Craven Cottage.
- As of 11 May 2014
|Season||Club||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2000–01||Newcastle United||Premier League||20||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||22||2|
|2007–08||Stoke City (loan)||Championship||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||0|
|2008–09||Newcastle United||Premier League||22||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||22||4|
|Newcastle United total||311||53||19||3||15||8||51||15||396||79|
- As of 6 June 2013.
|Nigeria national team|
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