Are we too hard on our strikers?

Shola Ameobi

Shola Ameobi
Shola the Mackem Slayer does his stuff.
Greetings fellow bloggers. Before I jump right into the topic I’d like to take a quick second to introduce myself, partly because I believe the two topics are integrally related and partly because I’m a narcissistic sod.

I was born and raised in Gateshead, and though I moved far and away from the area I never lost my passion for football and more specifically for my team, Newcastle United. I remember a specific incident when I forced my Dad to shell out about forty quid on the figures of our 1996-1997 squad when I spotted them in the airport at Singapore, a partial guilt present for having being shipped away from the glories of St James’ Park.

Anyway, I grew up under King Kev’s stint as our manager, with players like the prolific Andy Cole leading the line. After his sale we gained ourselves the frustrating but fantastic skills of Tino Asprilla, the tenacity of Temuri Ketsbaia, alongside the strength of “Sir Les” and then obviously the best striker in the English game, Lord Alan Sugar Shearer.

I could continue along these lines, but my point is that over the years we always found ourselves with the “big name” strikers, even if they were sometimes terrible acquisitions and terrible people to boot *cough* Michael Owen *cough* our strike force was usually one of the best areas of the squad. Our relegation season saw us part company with big Premier League names such as Owen, Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins and ever since there has been no “big name” brought in. Initially we had local lad and future legend…er..Andy Carroll to fill the void and all was well, until he jumped ship at the first opportunity and all that old malarkey.

Now well done for bearing with me up until this point, as here’s where the question is directly involved.

Currently we possess a Motley Crue of Shola “bambi” Ameobi, Peter wherethehellamIfor80%ofthetime Lovenkrands, Nile G-thug Ranger and Leon “the blessed” Best. At some point or other over the season we have required all of their services and at some point over the season I bet every one of them has been praised only to be slagged off the next match following a poor result or team performance. I’m no different. We are emotional fans after all.

Now purely on stats, each of those strikers scored six goals each with the obvious exception of Nile Ranger, and in terms of assists Shola made six, Lovenkrnads five with Ranger and Best each with a single assist. A quick look around the Premier League will show that Wigan’s striker Hugo Rodallega scored an impressive nine goals, with their next highest goal-scoring striker, Franco Di-Santo, acquiring a mighty one goal. Now you may say that Wigan had Charles N’Zogbia, who also scored 9 goals, and their midfield also chipped in with a fair few, but so too did ours, and so they should.

Louis Saha and Jermaine Beckford finished Everton’s season with seven and eight goals respectively, in a team which finished 7th. Impressive? Just remember another midfielder was their top scorer – Tim Cahill with nine. Also please consider that Jermaine Beckford played 38 games for the Toffees and that Louis Saha is boosted by a single game in which he scored four goals. Now I know the same can be said for Best, but I’m just putting it out there.

Very often at the end of a game in which we failed to convert, our strikers would seem to get the bulk of the blame, and yet there were repeated incidents where the ball was either lumped up to them from defence or our midfield failed to create any clear cut chances.

Now my point is, has our collective experience in both the Premier League and Championship over the past twenty years or so made us come to expect too much from our strikers? Or is it perhaps that, as mentioned, as the glory goes to the striker, so too should the criticism?

I seem to remember discussions at the end of promotion season saying that if Andy Carroll scored 10 goals in the Premier League it would be a successful season for both him and the club. Now that was in the off season without football, when perhaps we all become a little more rational as fans, yet even when Carroll exceeded expectations with 11 goals by December fans bemoaned the fact that we couldn’t score in certain games. The point is you can’t have everything. We held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw, does that make Rooney and Hernandez bad players? Obviously not.

I realise I’ve gone on here a lot but when I see comments saying our current strikers are all terrible, or they’ll have no place next season then I disagree. I think Ranger just has an attitude problem – fair enough, he’s out the door then, and I think Lovenkrands with his age and his talk earlier in the season of wanting first team could be off. Whilst he may have frustrated at times he’s been a good servant and true professional for us this season and he contributed massively to getting us promoted last year.

With regards to Shola and Best, I believe they will both have a part to play next season, maybe not as starters but a part nonetheless. I’ll talk about Best in my next article a bit more, but with regard to Shola I still think that when he’s hungry and injury free he can be a great player. Now keeping him fit and hungry are obviously the main problems – he’s often regarded as a crocked, lazy no-brainer, but looking back at the beginning of the season I was very impressed with his sub appearances, performances in the Carling Cup and obviously against the Mackems. If nothing else he’s worth keeping just for those two games of the season!

The Premier League is a different animal and we need to adjust our assessment of our strikers in my opinion.

Having said that, I guarantee that come our first match I’ll be getting on the back of the lot of them in true footballing style…

59 thoughts on “Are we too hard on our strikers?

  1. ‘Currently we possess a Motley Crue of Shola “bambi” Ameobi, Peter wherethehellamIfor80%ofthetime Lovenkrands, Nile G-thug Ranger and Leon “the blessed” Best.’

    To be fair to them they have mainly tried their hardest for us in most of the games I have seen.

    Are they good enough? No Is it their fault? No
    There is only Best I would keep (as back-up) and Shola perhaps out of pity and the fact he looks like spending his whole career at the club (totally wrong I know).

    We need new strikers is the top and bottom of it. Our weakest area by far once Carroll left.

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  2. Blip – You sure? I’ve had it on and haven’t seen owt about it 😕

    Mind you, it wouldn’t surprise me.

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  3. Apparently not, actually. Sorry, my bad.

    Don’t have SSN myself, it was a Twitter rumour that the guy has just admitted was a hoax.

    I don’t buy in to many Tweets, but I figured “guys, turn on the TV and see what I’m seeing” was just too stupid to lie about…

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  4. Call me old fashioned BUT strikers are there to score goals-for me Shola was the worst player on the pitch for our last 3-4 games,lover-boy tries BUT!!! as for the rest of them? simply put-NONE of our strikers are good enough,,,i think overall the fans have been ok to them-shola lives a strange existence -he has always got away with murder because hes a nice bloke and scores against the macums and he`s a Geordie lad but not 1 of them should be here as they are pap-lol…..Gonna be a long closed season…roll on next season,,,,C`MON LADS….

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  5. DJG-Aye, we definitely need new strikers don’t get me wrong, but some people seem to believe they’re all CC players, I think Best and Shola can cope at this level although obviously they won’t set the world alight. Especially when you consider that even after we sold Carroll our team was still set up to his strengths with Barton on the wing, nolan trying to feed etc.

    Tatty :mrgreen:

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  6. Blip – my blood pressures high enough bonny lad – i’ve spent the last 5 minutes cursing the world in general. Fingers crossed on this one though 🙁

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  7. You know- Ba is actually a shrewd move by the club. Stoke were prepared to pay over £7m for him only in january. The wisdom of this was proven by a desperate West ham giving him a contract with flexibility on both sides.
    I cant think for a minute that Mick n Dekka havent thought deeply about this and that they have all bases covered. He’ll be a canny buy for what amounts to nowt. 😆

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  8. Yes, not sure yet what’s gooin’ on with strikers! If we plan to sell Ranger and Best – and is Lovenkrands likely to possibly leave? – then who do we plan to get in?! Even if we’re planning to play Ben Arfa as part of a front two or three, we still need 4 strikers. Ba – if we get him – plus Amoebi, one other new striker, and either Lovenkrands or Airey??! Have I forgotten someone?

    I’m sure Pardew has a plan. He might have faults (mainly just talking too much and leaking news/ideas) but he seems purty shrewd dare I say.

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  9. Newkie – They are stating its a permanent deal with him currently doon south agreeing terms

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  10. See Graham has fully completed his move as well, shame, would have hoped we could have matched the 3.5mil, would have recouped some by selling off Ranger.

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  11. the problem we have is we got use to having players like Sir Les, Andy Cole, and Shearer banging in around 30 goals a season and we won’t be happy till this happens again

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  12. What happened was he went over badly on his knee in 2006 and then had some problems with it like Owen ect. It’s not a ‘degenerative condition’ to both knees like Dyer or something. He says it’s not 100% but he can manage it and it’s good enough to play football. Doesn’t sound as bad as being made out to me like.

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  13. halftime, shame that, thought we could have loaned him out again to see what he could do. Maybe Sammeobi has shown more promise?

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  14. toon_sprout, that’s exactly what I was on about…30 goal a season strikers for the top 10 just don’t exist anymore.

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  15. Seems like we are selling everyone and cleverly not spending any of the £35m

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  16. Too true newkie, he showed some promise with his pitch time at the end of last season although i rememember thinking the same about his older brother too when he first came on the scene!

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  17. For me Lovenrands isnt good enough and should be sold…Why Best has been put up for sale does me head in. Fair enough Lovenkrands tries his best and is a good pro but at the end of the day the guy is not good enough.

    Shola is Shola we all know what he’s about, he can be a complete animal when he wants to be, just like Wolves at home, then for the next 5 games he’ll play like a donkey that he is. Again like Lovenkrands he isn’t good enough in my opinion.

    Lets hope Ba and maybe Erding if we do sign him can both get the goals next season and will be quality players, not all players will settle like Tiote has thats the big risk.

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  18. Well Best doesn’t look as if he’ll get a look in next season after todays revelation. Doubt anyone will stump up £4m for him. Ameobi can be unplayable on his day but they come once in a blue moon.

    Selling Best would be a mistake, he’d be decent back up next year.

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  19. Yeah I can’t believe this stuff about Best, he’s the best we have and if you want to look at stats he’s only slightly worse off than Ba’s scoring record, he has the same PL experience and he’s younger with no major injury concerns…this is summit I don’t get 😕

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  20. If we do get Ba, then what we need is another main striker in the build of Lovenkrands (pacey, intelligent runs) then we’re all set.

    1. ?
    2. Ba?
    3. Best
    4. Ameobi ( who miraculously survived the axe from 6 different managers 😯 )

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  21. Get in newkie!!!
    But, our strikers are cack…
    We are in the best league in the world and need proper strikers who can score consistently.
    I haven’t had a look but i would guess that none of our strikers would start for 95% of the teams I’m the league.
    They can add something to the squad except loven who has proved time and again that he’s terrible unless he gets a run of games.
    But we need proper 1st team strikers to compete.
    As far as us being hard on our strikers, I think it’s a good thing because it makes the position special and good players will look at that and think of it as an honour to be able to perform and be loved as a striker at Newcastle. It’s something that will look good on your CV.
    Being a successful #9 at Newcastle is like being knighted by the queen 😉

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  22. I don’t see the logic in selling Leon Best. Why are his 6 goals in 11 games less valid than Demba Ba’s 7 in 13?

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  23. Jersey-cheers :mrgreen:

    I think Best could actually start for PL teams, Ameobi could start when he’s 100% which is about twice a year…still both worth hanging onto I reckon

    That’s a good point on the position though and perhaps it can and does encourage greatness…my only worry is will we ever be satisfied until we get another shearer? 😕

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  24. I’m pretty mystified myself – surprised about Best. Mind you, he has less track record, and if you take out his hat-trick game he really only showed his worth in 2 or 3 matches. Still – worth keeping around, surely?

    Can’t really disagree with the assessments of Loven or Shola. Rather have the latter if pushed, but perhaps with a remote-control cattle-prod up his arse to provide incentive on his off days…

    And to answer Newkie’s main question: yep, I think we are far too fickle on our strikers; I remember Shola getting hammered just over a week after taking the MOTM and the national press creaming themselves over his performance. But he is the most frustrating player to watch, so fair enough.

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  25. Has the Best stuff been conformed anywhere or is it just in the Sun? Seems strange to me- better than Loven and Ameobi and can’t be on high wages.

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  26. On a completely different note, can I do a bit of plugging here? Toonsy and others may remember I was starting a company a while back, and I’ve finally got V1 of the website up here:

    http://www.whackjob.co.uk

    Anyone not into mountain-biking probably won’t do more than shrug at it, but anyone who is – could you please spare a few minutes to review the 3 designs on there? I could do with the feedback.

    Thanks!

    Joel

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  27. MDS – yep, we shouldn’t believe any of this stuff until it’s on the .cock site.

    If Best has been shown the door, I wonder what the problem is? Perhaps he too is angling for a better contract? Or perhaps he’s a bit of a cock?

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  28. Shola shouldn’t be allowed to play away from home.
    He generates all his super powers from SJP and is cack everywhere else….

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  29. I would keep Best n Strolla , unfortuntley i think Mclovin time is up and we should be aiming for better , I know the same thing could be said about best n strolla but I think best deserves his chance and you know if we sold strolla his 2 best games of the season would be against us 🙂

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  30. been some guy on radio talking aboot BA knee probs and how they manage it but just caught end of it,anybody hear it all?

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  31. It must be Big Mike and Dekka using his knee as a bargaining tool. Howay they would leave no stone unturned in the hope to negotiate lower wages. They are probably negotiation over a long term injury clause or something.

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  32. Don’t know what the problem is with BA – just insert a clause in his contract that says if he’s out injured due to his dodgy knee he doesn’t get paid, simple.

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  33. If it’s only us and Everton I still hold some hope like. Can’t see them matching our offer even after negotiations, arn’t most of their players on like £20K.

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  34. Bizarre that we signed Ben Arfa and Gosling with long term injuries and no guarantees about regaining top form, Yet were now quibbling over a lad who could have problems just like Asa Hartford could have had problems when leeds turned him away and then played on for another 20 years and is still coaching 40 years on with no problems at all… 🙄

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  35. DJG
    Posted June 17, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    “arn’t most of their players on like £20K.”

    No, no. That’s us. That’s our wage cap don’t you know :mrgreen:

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  36. That is total crap! When i clicked onto your link hitman it brought up a page saying Ba will sign in next 24 hours dated yesterday! Hence why I was wondering what the problem was? 😳

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  37. Really good article. If we are going to have four strikers then it’s going to be ba + another new one leaving two places. Lovenkrands has a bit of pace and can play on the wing so he stays for versitility. Leaving a fight between best and ameobi. Ameobi is definatly the better player, best had a good run but i’ve always thought he was crap. Maybe harsh as they are judged on goals and he’s scored them. That would leave us with four and the youngsters coming through on the fringes. Good decisions have been made on this one.

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