Before I get stuck in, let me just say, on character alone I have no end of time for the lad. He is one of our own, as loyal as they come and a genuine top lad to boot.
But when it comes to Newcastle and the progression of the team, there’s no room for sentiment and players have to be judged on performances alone, and in this regard my patience with Shola Ameobi has all but gone unfortunately.
Shola has always had his critics and fact is his career goalscoring record leaves a lot to be desired, but for me it is only this season I think he is looking like he should be made surplus to requirements.
The main difference this season is plain to see. Whether someone bought him a lifetime supply of body mass powder or he has taken to bacon butties like Demba Ba loves his syrup, he has bulked up to put it kindly.
In one aspect of his game it has probably helped, that being he now has the physical presence of a wrecking ball, but the price to pay with other aspects of his game is just too much of a negative.
One knock on negative, probably the main one, is his distinct lack of mobility and pace. For a lad that was always credited for putting a shift in, regardless of goalscoring exploits, those days look gone.
His overall play looks slower. On the ball he still has a clever touch or two but it is all too slow for us to make anything of counter attacks, especially if Leon ‘Inzaghi’ Best is his partner.
More often than not, by the time Shola gets the ball away Besty has wandered offside, and for players like Ben Arfa and Cabaye, their quick interchange style just doesn’t work with someone who needs an extra touch.
Maybe I’m wrong and being harsh on the lad. Maybe he is playing through injury or pain. Maybe I’ve fallen into the trap of not seeing the good he does.
Whatever the reason, for me, and for the future of Newcastle I think come the summer it is time that King Shola passed the crown and maybe moved on.
He will always be remembered as the Mackem slayer and for that we will be eternally grateful, but in my humble opinion, the injuries have finally caught up with him and his legs have all but gone.