18th February – Bobby Robson

Bobby Robson has gone down as one of the greatest managers ever after an excellent career but more importantly to him he went down as one of the few genuine nice people in the world of football.

There isn’t anyone that says a bad word about Bobby Robson and he is loved all over Europe after managing in Portugal, Holland, Spain and England with most clubs he was at holding him in a very high regard. It is very rare for someone to be loved as much as him by all football fans and everyone will remember him for a long time to come.

Robson started his career with Fulham in 1950 as an inside forward and spent six years at the club playing 152 games and scoring 68 goals before moving to West Brom for a club record fee of £25,000. He finished as the club’s top scorer during the 57-58 season was also given the captain’s armband but in 1962 he returned to Fulham. His second spell lasted five years and in 1967 he joined Vancouver Royals as player-manager.

Robson Fulham

He only spent a year in Canada before returning to Fulham for a third spell, this time as manager. He could not save them from relegation and was sacked in the following campaign. But he was given a chance by Ipswich Town in 1969 and he would build one of the best teams ever seen at the club. After four average years he led the club to fourth place in the First Division and won the Texaco Cup during the 1972-73 season which was the start of something special. For the next nine seasons they only finished below sixth once but in that same season they won the FA Cup so that made up for it.

His reign at Ipswich lasted 13 years and he even won the UEFA Cup in 1981 but even more remarkably during his time at the club he only signed 14 players and made up the rest of the squad with players that came through the youth team. These achievements landed him the England job and it is fair to say that he has been one of the most popular England managers ever. But it could have been so different after he offered his resignation after England failed to qualify for Euro 84. He didn’t have much success in the Euros but his record in World Cups was very good as he led England to the quarter finals in 86 and were only beaten by Diego Maradona’s Hand of God goal and a bit of magic from the Argentinean. But in 1990 after being hated by many sections of the media he went closer than any other England manager to winning the trophy and reached the semi finals before being beaten on penalties by West Germany. On arrival back home the team and manager were cheered and nobody wanted Robson to leave the job.

Robson England

Robson had already accepted a job offer from PSV after the FA told him they weren’t renewing his contract before the World Cup. While in Holland he won the league title twice before moving to Sporting Lisbon in 1992, where he hired a young Jose Mourinho to be his interpreter. After a decent first season in which the club finished third, he had took them to the top of table but was surprisingly sacked. Rivals Porto were quick to appoint Robson and they went on to beat Sporting in the Portuguese Cup final and would go on to win the title in the next two seasons.

After his success in Portugal he made the move to Spain and joined Barcelona and he led them to the Spanish Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup but was moved upstairs into a general manager position after just one season. He only spent one more year in Spain and returned to PSV for a short spell before he finally came home.

Newcastle appointed Robson in September 1999 and he turned the whole club around right from his very first home match. They went on to beat Sheffield Wednesday 8-0 with Alan Shearer scoring five goals. In just over one season he took Newcastle from bottom of the table to qualifying for the Champions League, finishing fourth and then third in the next campaign. Such was the turnaround that a fifth place finish was disappointing in his final full season in charge.

Robson NUFC

Robson was sacked after a slow start and every Newcastle fan will agree that the club haven’t been the same since and the fans still love him today. Unfortunately aged 76 on the 31st July 2009 he passed away and the news was very hard for most to take that followed football including players, coaches and fans.

The final words are difficult to choose because of how many good things were said about Bobby but Alex Ferguson summed up everything by saying. “I was never too big or proud to ask him for advice which he gave freely and unconditionally. And I’m sure I’m speaking for a lot of people when I say that. There is not a person I would put an inch above Bobby Robson. Always a smile, always a friendly word with never a mention of his own problems. The world, not just the football world, will miss him.”

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28th October – Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins is a player with a fantastic history, having been the number nine at Newcastle United and also scoring the winning goal for Birmingham City in the League Cup final.

The striker had electric pace and a brilliant shot on him that a lot of goalkeepers struggled to keep a hold of. He has had a lot of ups and downs in his career but has largely been a fan favourite at every club and is now currently scoring regularly for Seattle Sounders in the MLS and his goals have helped his side to the top of the table.

The 30 year old started his career in Nigeria before getting a trial at Serie C side Reggiana in Italy and signed a youth contract with the club in 2000. After just two appearanceshe joined Inter Milan and would go on to make his debut against Parma in December 2002. Martins began to make an impact during the 2002-03 season where he showed his quality in the Champions League, scoring against Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan. His best season for the club was in the 2004-05 season, where he scored 22 goals in 45 games, unfortunately for him, Inter decided to sign other strikers soon after.
Martins IM
In total he scored 49 goals for the Italian side before signing for Newcastle United on the 24th August 2006 and was handed the number nine shirt, taking over from Alan Shearer. After a difficult start, in which he suffered a few injuries, he would go on to score his first goal for the club on the 17th September against West Ham in a 2-0 win and he became a regular scorer hitting one of the goals of the season when he scored from 20 yards against Tottenham Hotspur at a speed of 84mph. Martins ended his first season with 17 goals in all competitions. His second season at the club was mixed as he had to settle for a place on the bench under Sam Allardyce, as he preferred Michael Owen and Mark Viduka upfront. But after Kevin Keegan became manager he found a system that allowed all three players to be on the field and combine well. He finished the season with 10 goals in 33 games.
Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Villa Park
Martins then started the 2008-09 season in fantastic form, scoring six goals in 12 games before tearing his hamstring and later in the season needing an operation on a hernia, meaning he could not continue this form. After being out since January he returned to the side in a relegation six pointer against Middlesbrough and scored twice. However, this would not be good enough to keep them in the Premier League.

On the 31st July 2009 Martins joined Wolfsburg for £9 million and went on to score on his debut against FC Koln. He only stayed at the club for one season but scored six times in 16 Bundesliga games. He then moved on to Russian side Rubin Kazan and helped them win the Russian Cup but it was not the greatest time for the striker and on the 31st January 2011 he joined Birmingham City on loan. Although his time at the club was ruined by injuries, he still managed to write himself into their history books as he scored the winning goal in the League Cup final against Arsenal.

With the club getting relegated from the Premier League a permanent move was no longer on the cards and Martins joined Levante. On his league debut he scored twice in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad and was a decent goalscorer, hitting the back of the net in a third of his league games. But on the 15th March 2013 he joined MLS side Seattle Sounders and last season finished with 17 goals, as well as 13 assists for the club, a joint club record with Mauro Rosales.
Martins SS
The final word can go to Kevin Keegan. “He excites me very much as a player. He is very, very different to not only anything we have got at this football club, but probably in the Premier League. It sends up all sorts of ideas in your mind what this player can bring to the football club.”

12th October – Shola Ameobi

Shola Ameobi definitely split opinion amongst Newcastle United fans for his overall performances but he usually stepped up to the plate against Sunderland which means that he will never be forgotten.

After 14 years at Newcastle he did leave the club in the summer and it probably was the right time to leave. There were rumours that manager Alan Pardew wanted him to stay at the club as a player-coach but this didn’t happen and the record holder for most appearances as a substitute in the Premier League will probably not get the opportunity to wear the black and white shirt again.

The 33 year old first joined Newcastle in 1997 and progressed through the youth team before making his first team debut in September 2000 against Chelsea. He went on to make 22 appearances that season as Carl Cort and Alan Shearer had injury problems and finished the campaign with two goals. Over the next few seasons he continued to play games and was very influential during the club’s Champions League campaign in the 2002-03 season, where he scored against Barcelona at the Nou Camp and twice against Bayer Leverkusen in a 3-1 win.
Ameobi NUFC
His early form for the club continually divided fans but his goal scoring record looked worse because a lot of his game time was from the bench. During the later stages of the 2005-06 season he became a first team regular and ended the season with six goals in 12 games. The 2006-07 season had the potential to be his best as he scored five goals in 16 appearances and began to look a constant threat but a hip injury ruled him out for the majority of the season. In the following season he struggled to get a place in the first team and joined Stoke City on loan on the 27th March 2008, playing six games and helping them gain promotion to the Premier League, however he failed to score a goal and a permanent deal could not be agreed.
Ameobi SC
When he returned to Newcastle he could not break into the first team but when he did get his chance he scored his first goal in two years in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City on 20th October 2008 and in the next game scored against Sunderland. He then went on to score his 50th goal for Newcastle in the return game with Sunderland. The club were relegated at the end of the season and Ameobi was expected to score the goals to get them promoted.

He repaid the faith shown in him by manager Chris Hughton and was named the Championship Player of the Month in August 2009, after scoring his first ever hatrick against Reading and then another in a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. An injury slowed his season but when he returned he scored even more goals and finished the season with 10 goals in 18 games.

In their first season back in the Premier League, Ameobi scored some important goals including two against Sunderland in a 5-1 win and a winner against Wigan Athletic. After the sale of Andy Carroll he became the club’s main striker. This would be the last time he was a regular starter but in the rest of his time at the club he still managed another goal against Sunderland to equalise in the 91st minute.

In his 397th and final appearance he was sent off against Liverpool. He finished with 79 goals in all competitions before joining Turkish side Gazientep on the 11th August 2014. He scored first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Adanaspor from the penalty spot on the 19th September.
Ameobi Gazientep
The final word can go to Alan Pardew. “He has been an incredible servant to Newcastle United. Such loyalty and commitment in the modern game is rare and Shola was not just a great player on the pitch but a key figure off it. He is a leader of men, a great role model for our younger players.”

7th October – Diego Costa

Diego Costa has made a fantastic start to life as a Chelsea player and he singlehandedly could make the difference between them competing in competitions to winning the Premier League and the Champions League.

After a disappointing World Cup with Spain a lot of people were worried that he would struggle in England but that couldn’t be further from the truth as he has already proven that he is one of the best strikers in world football. Costa does have to pay tribute to his fellow countryman Cesc Fabregas for setting up a lot of chances for him, but he has still had to put them away which in a lot of Chelsea strikers have failed to do recently.

The 26 year old started his professional career at Portuguese club Braga. But he had to wait until a loan spell at Second Division club Penafiel to make his debut and after five goals in 13 appearances he had impressed enough to be bought by Atletico Madrid in December 2006. But he would remain at Braga until the end of the season. He would only score one goal for Braga but it was an important last minute winner against Parma in the UEFA Cup to give his side a 1-0 win.

In the following two years he had loan spells at Celta Vigo and Albacete, both in the Segunda Division in Spain. At Celta he struggled with only five goals in 31 games but at Albacete he had a better time, scoring 9 times in 35 games. With his parent club still not convinced by the striker they sold him to Valladolid on the 8th July 2009. He started off well, scoring six times in the first 12 games but then he only scored once in the next five months which was a reason why the club got relegated.
Costa Vallodolid
There was a buyback clause in his contract and in June 2010 Costa rejoined Atletico as backup to Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero. Despite limited playing time he still managed six goals in the league and scored his first hatrick on the 3rd April 2011 in a 3-2 win over Osasuna. At the end of the season it looked like he would be leaving again but a serious knee injury saw a move to Besiktas to collapse. When he recovered he was sent out on loan to Rayo Vallecano for the rest of the season on the 23rd January and got off to another fantastic start by scoring four goals in his first three appearances. This time he managed to keep up a good goalscoring record and ended the campaign with 10 in 16.
Costa Albacete
The 2012-13 season saw Costa become first choice at Atletico and he repaid manager Diego Simeone by scoring some crucial goals, particularly in the Copa Del Rey. Atletico went on to win the trophy and Costa finished the tournament as the top scorer but it was in the following season that he became well known outside of Spain.

Atletico surprised a lot of people by winning La Liga and reaching the final of the Champions League and this was largely down to a solid defence and the goals of Costa. His 36 goals in all competitions was a fantastic return for a striker that had been wrote off several times already in his career and convinced Chelsea to pay £32 million for his services.
Costa AM
He could not have got off to a better start with him winning the Player of the Month in August and hitting nine goals, including a hatrick against Swansea City, in the first seven Premier League games as Chelsea lead the table and look like the team to beat this season.

The final word can go to the Premier League’s highest ever scorer Alan Shearer. “Everything impressed me about Diego Costa, he is tailor made for the Premier League. The way he runs the line, in behind and can hold the ball up. He is going to love the Premier League and the Chelsea fans will love him. When it is not going for them they have a goalscorer who can get them out of it.”

20th August – Alvaro Negredo

Alvaro Negredo started last season fantastically at Manchester City and despite a difficult end to the campaign it seems strange that he is being linked with moves away from the club.

23 goals in 48 games is a phenomenal record for a player at a new club in a different country and this is also while competing with the talents of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic for a starting place. A foot injury has stopped him being fit for the start of the season and it could be a blessing in disguise for both player and club because it means he is less likely to leave the club.

Negredo started his career at Rayo Vallecano and after impressing for the ‘B’ team (scoring 28 goals in 40 games) he made his professional debut in early 2005 in the second division of Spain. After scoring one goal in 12 games he moved to Real Madrid’s affiliate team Real Madrid Castilla and in his second season he scored 18 times which convinced first team manager Fabio Capello to put him in the Real Madrid squad for some Copa Del Rey games but he unfortunately did not make it onto the pitch.

In July 2007 he joined Almeria and the newly promoted side performed well above expectations and Negredo was a huge part of that. He ended the campaign as their top scorer with 13 goals, including strikes against Real Madrid in a 2-0 win and Sevilla in a 4-1 win. He followed this up with a brilliant start to the next season with five goals in the first six games and was a regular scorer right through the season and ended it with 19 goals in just 35 games.
Negredo Almeria
This form led to Real Madrid resigning the player due to a buyback clause in his contract but the manager at the time Manuel Pellegrini could not guarantee him first team football so he moved on almost straight away to Sevilla. Negredo later revealed that he admired Pellegrini’s honesty during the whole situation.

The 2009-10 season was interesting for the striker as he was first choice but he did go through some barren spells in front of goal and was also sent off three times over the course of the season, however he did still manage 14 goals in all competitions. 2010-11 was a much kinder season to Negredo as he continually scored goals and finished the season with braces against Villarreal, Deportivo, Real Madrid, Osasuna and Espanyol. He ended his second season with 27 goals in all competitions and was one of the most feared strikers in Spain.
Negredo Sevilla
His final season at the club ended with him finishing as the highest Spanish goalscorer in La Liga with 25 goals and was therefore awarded the Zarra Trophy. He was helped by scoring a hatrick in the victory over Celta Vigo and all four goals in a 4-3 win over Valencia on the last game of the season.

On the 19th July 2013 Negredo signed for Manchester City and helped the club win both the Premier League and the League Cup with 23 goals in his first season, including five in the Champions League.
Negredo MC
The final word can go to Tim Sherwood who compared him to Premier League record scorer Alan Shearer. “They both score goals. I haven’t studied Negredo as much as I knew Alan but they both score every type of goal, they hold the ball up well. He is probably the most similar to Shearer as there has been in recent years.”

13th August – Alan Shearer

Today is the birthday of one of the greatest ever strikers and the all time top goal scorer in the Premier League Alan Shearer.

Shearer scored goals for fun all through his career and all different types, from long rangers to poachers goals to bullet headers. There is no denying his goalscoring abilities and his longevity when it came to scoring goals. He was hero to many fans and every opposition must have had nightmares the night before facing the striker because he had everything in his game and given one chance would hit the back of the net.

Shearer started his professional career at Southampton and made his debut as a substitute against Chelsea in 1988 before making his full debut two weeks later and became an instant hero by scoring a hatrick against Arsenal in a 4-2 win. Despite his early success he wasn’t rushed into the starting 11 too early and only became the goal scorer that everyone now knows in the 1991-92 season when he scored 21 goals in all competitions.
Shearer Soton
In the summer of 1992 he moved to Blackburn Rovers for a record breaking fee of £3.6 million and although he struggled initially with injuries he still managed 22 goals in his 26 games before helping Blackburn to second place in the following season with 31 goals in 40 games. The 1994-95 season was one of the best of his career as him and strike partner Chris Sutton combined brilliantly to help Blackburn win the Premier League title with Shearer scoring 34 goals.
Shearer Blackburn
They could not retain their title but this did not stop Shearer from scoring 31 times but this turned out to be his last season at the club, finishing his time there with 130 goals. On the 30th July 1996 Shearer signed for his boyhood club Newcastle United for a world record transfer fee of £15 million.

It did not take him long to settle as he ended the first campaign as the Premier League top scorer for the third season in a row with 25 goals in 31 games. The 1997-98 season was much tougher for the striker as he struggled with an ankle ligament injury and only managed two goals all season. He came back to form in the following season and was given the captain’s armband as he helped Newcastle to the final of the FA Cup for the second year running.

Shearer was somewhat struggling for the first time in his career and after being left on the bench for the Tyne Wear derby there were plenty of reports that he was going to leave the club. However Bobby Robson took over as manager shortly after and arguably saved his career and in Robson’s first home match in charge Shearer scored five goals in an 8-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday and he ended the season with 23 goals.
Shearer Newcastle
Newcastle under Robson were challenging at the top of the table and Shearer was huge part in that and he continued to score goal after goal. But his greatest moment came in the 2005-06 season when broke Jackie Milburn’s goalscoring record when he netted his 201st against Portsmouth. He played his final game on the 17th April 2006 against Sunderland and scored from the penalty spot in a 4-1 win before having to go off injured which stopped him playing in the final three games.

The final word can go to the man himself who lived the dream all football fans have had in their lives. “When I was a young boy I wanted to play for Newcastle United, I wanted to wear the number nine shirt and I wanted to score goals at St James’ Park. I’ve lived my dream and I realise how lucky I’ve been to have done that.”

3rd June – Papiss Cisse

The Newcastle United number 9 shirt is one of the most famous in English football and Papiss Cisse really lived up to its reputation when he first joined the club.

In his first half a season in England the striker, who turns 29 today, scored 13 times in just 14 games and scored one of the best goals ever seen in the Premier League in a game against Chelsea. He hasn’t quite been able to live up to his early potential but he will be hoping that when he comes back from an injury that ruled him out of the end of last season he can once again hit the back of the net on a regular basis as he has done for the majority of his career.

Cisse started his career at Senegalese club Douanes Dakar where he scored 23 times in 26 games and was very highly rated. In the summer of 2005 he transferred to French club Metz but was not ready for first team action there so he signed for Cherbourg and played well scoring 11 times in 26 games which meant Metz started to use him and he helped them to promotion from Ligue 2 in 2006-07 season scoring 12 times. However he did not perform well in the top French league and was once again sent out on loan to Chateauroux before returning to his parent club where he scored another 24 goals in two seasons.
Cisse Metz
On the 28th December 2009 he joined Freiburg in the Bundesliga and started well by scoring six times in his first 16 games. In his first full season he finished as the second top scorer in the league with 22 goals and in the summer there were rumours he was going to leave. He stayed at the club for another half a season and continued his great goalscoring record by getting another 9 goals in just 17 games.
Cisse Freiburg
He joined Newcastle United in January 2012 and started his incredible spell by scoring on his debut against Aston Villa after coming on as a substitute. He followed this up with a goal in his first home start against Wolves. His form then got even better as he scored twice against West Brom, Liverpool and Swansea City in consecutive matches, bringing his tally to nine goals in eight games. He finished the season scoring past Bolton Wanderers, Stoke City and a double against Chelsea.

However, the next season started slowly for the striker and he had to wait until the 28th October to get his first Premier League goal of the season and it was a fortunate one as it just hit his back from a Sammy Ameobi strike. During this season he became known for his late goals, as he scored injury time winners against Stoke City, Anzhi Makhachakala and Fulham. Cisse scored the same amount of goals in all competitions as he did in the previous season despite playing 33 more games.
Cisse Newcastle
The 2013-14 season was even tougher as he only scored two Premier League goals all season, one from the penalty spot against Stoke City in a 5-1 win and a last minute winner against Crystal Palace.

The final word can go to Alan Shearer who commented on his great start and he and all Newcastle fans will be hoping he can get back to this form. “I don’t think you can be anything but very impressed. The guy has just gone in and blown everyone away with his performances and goals. As a striker you are judged on goals, but even if you take his goals away his movement and hold up play have been excellent.”