Belfast Telegraph

Ameobi enjoying 'great journey'

Shola Ameobi admits he could not have imagined Newcastle competing for European qualification so soon after their return to the Barclays Premier League.

The Magpies head for Arsenal sitting in sixth place in the table and knowing if they manage to finish there at the end of the campaign, they could secure a place in next season's Europa League.

The 30-year-old said: "It would be a full circle, wouldn't it?"

Ameobi, who broke into the first-team squad as a teenager under Sir Bobby Robson, is a Champions League veteran who was also part of the club's run to the semi-final of the UEFA Cup in 2003-04.

However, he thought those days could remain a distant memory for some time when the club dropped out of the top flight at the end of the 2008-09 campaign.

The 30-year-old said: "Two or three years ago, we were in the league below and if you had told people we would be fighting for a European spot this year, I don't think many people would have believed you.

"It's been a great journey. When I first came into the team, I thought we would be in Europe every season because that's what I was used to, playing in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup at the time.

"But things never last. For me, the fact that I started on such a high and then obviously hit rock-bottom when we were relegated three or four years ago, to see the turn-around so quickly has been a marvellous thing.

"I wanted to help the club when we went down to get back to where we were eight or 10 years ago, and I have always had faith that this club would come back, so it would be great to see it come so quickly.

"We know we have got a long way to go - it's not just a quick fix, it's a long-term plan that they have here at this club. But it would be a great step in the right direction if we did finish in Europe this year."


From Belfast Telegraph