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.”

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7th September – Robert Snodgrass

Scotland put a brave fight against Germany tonight in a 2-1 defeat but could it have been a different story if birthday boy Robert Snodgrass had been available?

The winger would have given his country a different option and it seemed like Germany were struggling with Scotland’s wide players so someone with Snodgrass’ ability could have just given them something extra. It was a very good performance from Scotland and they will be very proud tonight and they will now think that they can qualify for the European Championships which Snodgrass will be hoping to be a part of.

Snodgrass started his career at Scottish club Livingston and impressed as soon as he broke into their first team but did not become a regular in the side until the 2005-06 season. However, this would be a year of mixed emotions as he played 26 times in the league, scoring four times but his team suffered relegation from the SPL. After breaking a metatarsal in the 2006-07 season he moved on loan to Stirling Albion for the remainder of the campaign and was sensational scoring five times in just 12 games.
Snodgrass Livingston
After returning to Livingston he did everything he could to get the club promoted but his nine goals were not enough and after 15 goals in 79 league appearances he decided to leave the club. Leeds United signed the midfielder and after initially struggling to become a regular in the side, he hit a fantastic run of form in November 2008 which saw him score four times in seven games. By the end of the season he finished his first season with 11 goals and 16 assists.

In the 2009-10 season he produced some more excellent performances and was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year and helped the club gain promotion back to the Championship, adding another 10 goals and 14 assists to his tally. His first season in the Championship didn’t start off well because he picked up a knee injury in preseason and missed the early months of the season.
Robert Snodgrass, Leeds United
However, when he was back fully fit he proved he was good enough for the division and won the Player of the Month in both January and February 2011. Although he missed a few games during the season he still scored six goals in the league. At the start of the following campaign Leeds did not want to lose one of their star players and wanted him to sign a new contract which Neil Warnock said would make him the highest paid Leeds player. Despite his future being in doubt he was given the captain’s armband by Warnock and proved his loyalty to the club by being one of the best players in the Championship, scoring 13 goals and assisting a further 14.

In July 2012 Snodgrass signed for Premier League side Norwich City and made his debut in a 5-0 away defeat to Fulham. Things would improve for both him and the club as they eventually finished 11th in the table and Snodgrass finished runner up in the Fans Player of the Year vote. The 2013-14 season was a more difficult season as Norwich were relegated but Snodgrass finished as the club’s top scorer with seven goals.
Snodgrass NC
On the 30th June he moved to Hull City but on his league debut he suffered a dislocated kneecap and is expected to miss six months.

The final word can go the former Norwich manager Chris Hughton. “He is a player I have admired for a number of years now and he’s at a good age. He’s also got that international experience with Scotland and is used to playing in big matches both with his country and at Elland Road.”

6th September – Joseph Yobo

Joseph Yobo holds the honour of being David Moyes’ first signing at Everton and went on to be a very good player for the club and also holds the record for being Nigeria’s most capped player.

He has now retired from international football after competing in the 2014 World Cup and after not being in the starting 11 for the first game he was brought into the squad to help them qualify from the group and helped keep a clean sheet against Bosnia. They were knocked out of the tournament by France with Yobo unfortunately scoring an own goal but he did help his country win the African Cup of Nations in 2013.
Yobo Nigeria
Yobo started his career at Belgian side Standard Liege and made his first team debut in 2000 and went on to make 46 appearances for the club, scoring twice in that time before moving onto France, signing for Marseille. He only played 23 times for the club before being loaned out to Everton in July 2002. He impressed during this loan spell and Everton took up the option to sign him permanently in the following summer and became a very consistent member of the squad.

The 2006-07 was one of the best for him personally as he formed a brilliant central defensive partnership with Joleon Lescott. Both players played every single minute of the Premier League campaign. Yobo was rewarded with a new contract, despite being linked with moves away from the club he stayed loyal to the team that brought him to the Premier League.
Yobo Everton
On the 15th April 2007 he broke another record at Everton, becoming the record appearance holder for an overseas player and he held this until early 2012. Later in the year on the 25th October 2007, he also became the first African player to captain the club in a UEFA Cup game against Greek side Larissa as normal captain Phil Neville was out injured.

Over the next few years Yobo was not always first choice and on the 31st August 2010 he joined Fenerbahce on loan for the season. He played 30 times and scored one goal, helping them win the Turkish league title and this led to his loan being extended for another season. With more impressive performances his transfer was eventually made permanent on the 4th August 2012.
Yobo Fener
After 114 appearances for the club he returned to England on loan as he joined Chris Hughton’s Norwich City on the 30th January 2014 to help them battle against relegation. His debut was against free scoring Manchester City and many expected Norwich to be blown away by Man City’s attacking talent but Yobo and his new teammates stood firm and managed to grind out a 0-0 draw. Unfortunately he could not help them stay up at the end of the season and his move was not made permanent.

Just before the start of the 2014-15 season his contract was terminated by mutual consent and he is still looking for a new club.

The final word can go to David Moyes. “Joe was liable to making a mistake when he first got here but he has continued to develop and now has a real authority about his game. He has captained us and he is also captain of his country, so he knows what it is about.”

21st June – Cheick Tiote

Cheick Tiote is currently at the World Cup with Ivory Coast and for his 28th birthday he will want nothing more than his country getting out of the group stages.

They started with a 2-1 win over Japan but lost against Colombia in their second group match and will be hoping that they can beat Greece in their final match they will qualify for their next round but the midfielder is on a yellow card and will have to be careful not to pick up another or he will be out of the second round match. Tiote is a player that picks up a lot of cards but this has never changed his style of play and never pulls out of a tackle.

Tiote has always had to battle to have a football career and didn’t own a pair of football boots until the age of 15. He started his career at FC Bibo in the Ivory Coast before he was scouted by Belgian club Anderlecht, who he signed for in 2005. He did not get many opportunities at the club and after just four league games he was sent out on loan to Roda JC. He had more success in Holland where he played 26 times and even managed to score twice in the league.
Tiote Roda
His performances convinced FC Twente to sign the Ivorian in October 2008. He gained a reputation for being a determined player that also had a keen eye for a pass. During his time at the club he played 58 league games and scored once, as well as assisting a further 14. His greatest moment was the 2009-10 season where he helped his team lift the Dutch title under the guidance of Steve McClaren.
Tiote Twente
On the 26th August 2010 Tiote signed for Newcastle United and made his debut shortly after against Everton where he impressed everyone by completing ever pass he attempted. Manager Chris Hughton was very happy with his purchase. “Cheick is a terrific signing for us and I am sure he will prove to be an excellent addition to the squad. He has a first class pedigree and I think his game is well suited to the Premier League.”

He quickly became a fan favourite for his all action displays but he received his first red card for the club in a third round FA Cup game against Stevenage. However, on his return he scored one of the most memorable goals in Premier League history against Arsenal. Newcastle had been trailing 4-0 at half time but managed to pull it back to 4-3 and in the last few minutes Tiote scored a volley from 25 yards to level the scores.
In 2011 he signed new six year deal at Newcastle and although his form has been slightly up and down over the last few seasons he is still one of their most important players and when he is on form Newcastle usually get results.
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Newcastle United - Emirates Stadium
Still a problem that Tiote has is the number of yellow cards he receives and in his first 50 Premier League games he picked up 25 bookings, however he still only has one red card which was slightly controversial in a game against Sunderland.

The final word can go to his current manager Alan Pardew. “Cheick is exactly the type of player I want in my squad. He is fantastic on the pitch and in the dressing room. He offers us strength and presence in midfield and has proved himself to be one of the best in his position in the Premier League.”

11th April – Nile Ranger

He may have had problems off the pitch but today is not a day to focus on them things as Nile Ranger turns 23.

Focusing on his actions on the pitch isn’t always easy and the player himself will know that he has to win over the fans of every club he plays for in the future. He had a very good reputation as a youngster and impressed for Newcastle United’s youth teams and reserves which led to him receiving a three and a half year contract.
Ranger Newcastle
He made his debut for the first team on the club’s first game back in the Championship and was rewarded with a start soon after in a 1-0 win against Leicester City where he led the line brilliantly and was awarded the man of the match. He spent a lot of time as a substitute at the club but he did show a lot of potential and scored his first career goal to seal a victory against Coventry City. The manager at the time Chris Hughton felt he could become a first team regular soon. “Nile is a young player who is improving all the time. It’s less than 18 months since he made his debut and he’s coming on leaps and bounds.”

However his time at Newcastle came to an end and he left by mutual consent but before this he enjoyed a successful spell on loan at Sheffield Wednesday where he was vital in helping them achieve automatic promotion from League 1. Dave Jones had a lot of faith in the player and felt he made the difference saying . “I wouldn’t have signed him if I didn’t think he could do a job. If he can focus on football I have an excellent player that will do a fantastic job for the club.”
Ranger Wednesday
Ranger scored in the final game of the season against Wycombe Wanderers to get the club promoted and sparked one of the biggest celebrations League 1 has ever seen.

For one reason or another the club did not sign him permanently and his next move was to League 1 Swindon Town where he has been very successful in his first season as a regular. In the league he has seven goals in 19 games. He certainly has the talent to succeed at this level and should be able to go further in the game but it may be difficult to get a transfer so he will have to do his best to get Swindon promoted.
Ranger Swindon
The last word can go to his manager Mark Cooper who believes that it may have happened this season. “I think everyone knows, if Nile Ranger had been fit all season we’d be in the playoffs.”

4th April – Alexander Tettey

Players that are eligible to play for both Ghana and Norway is not a very common thing but Norwich City midfielder Alexander Tettey is one of the few that can.

He is 28 today and has recently scored his first goal in the Premier League and I don’t think many players will have scored a better first goal and one that could prove to be very important come the end of the season. It was a fantastic volley in a 2-0 win against Sunderland.

Tettey was born in Ghana but moved to Norway at a young age and came through Rosenborg’s youth team and was the youngest player to have been part of their matchday squads for nearly 30 years. For a defensive midfielder he had a decent goal scoring record in Norway scoring 12 league goals in 89 games which made a lot of other European clubs take note.
Tettey Rosenborg
Rennes were the club to take a chance on him and were trying to build a side that would challenge for major honours and they felt Tettey was someone that could add some much needed defensive quality to their midfield.

Unfortunately his time at the French club was plagued by injuries and he could not show his true potential. He played 60 times in his three years at the club and when he was fit he usually played which showed they thought highly of him.
Tettey Rennes
After joining Norwich City he had to wait a while to make his home debut but the Carrow Road faithful were delighted with his performance and was the star of the show as they beat Arsenal 1-0. This made him an automatic starter for the next few months until an injury hit and was worse than initially feared keeping him out of action until February 2013. He returned to help the team beat Manchester City on the last day of the season and give Norwich their highest Premier League finish since the 1992-93 season.
Tettey Norwich
The last word can go to his manager Chris Hughton who said after his wonderful goal against Sunderland. “I think everybody would have enjoyed that second goal and it could not have happened to a nicer fella. He is a good individual and professional and the lads are delighted for him.”