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Will Ameobi find a home away from home at Wanderers?

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
News that Newcastle United would be without an Ameobi next season sparked a wave of nostalgic reflection on Tyneside.

From Shola to (briefly) Tomi, and latterly Sammy, the name has been synonymous with the Magpies through good times and bad – they were part of the furniture, one of the family.

Sammy’s release this summer means there won’t be an Ameobi on Newcastle’s books for the first time since Shola signed a pre-contract with the club in 1997.

The Rafa Benitez Revolution at St James’ Park has no time for sentiment. And even though the Spaniard refused to let Wanderers loan him for a second time in January, the decision was more motivated by finance than football.

Benitez did not want to leave himself short with a few players on duty at the African Cup of Nations but concern over the Whites’ ability to pay a loan fee was the chief reason he did not end up back at the Macron.

Now the time has come for Sammy to strike out alone. And given the amount of time he has spent out on loan in his young career it should not be a huge adjustment.

The question is, can Ameobi find a family away from the North East and settle on a permanent basis?

Reports suggest Wanderers have company as they look to bring the winger back on a permanent basis. Nottingham Forest and QPR present a more lucrative destination in the Championship – but there is one advantage the Macron Stadium might have on its rivals.

Even though Ameobi was camped up in the club’s hotel during his stay at the start of the season he was struck by the friendliness of fans and staff.

Furthermore, by the time he headed back to Newcastle, he had all-but mastered the role Phil Parkinson had given him in the team.

During loan spells with Middlesbrough and Cardiff City the 24-year-old had been labelled an impact player, a tag he was desperate to shed on his arrival in the North West.

Parkinson was equally protective, biting back at criticism of some of the winger’s early performances as his new signings struggled at first to find their way last September.

Gradually Ameobi found his match fitness and gradually gained popularity on the terraces. His first goal came in front of a smattering of supporters in a Checkatrade Trophy match against Blackpool but signalled a real change of fortune for himself and the team.

By the time he waved goodbye in his all-round game had improved considerably and he was seeing out 90 minutes with regularity. Ameobi had struck up a good relationship on the pitch with Josh Vela and Gary Madine and provided the spark to a side which had struggled for creativity until his arrival.

He also gelled well with Zach Clough, who moved on to Forest in January because of the cashflow problems being encountered at Wanderers.

Ironically, Ameobi might now have an option to join him again at the City Ground. And had Bolton’s finances not been so problematic at the start of the year they would have been able to finance his return for the second half of the season without a hitch.

Whether Wanderers could now offer Ameobi the same sort of salary as Forest, or indeed QPR, is doubtful. Thankfully, the days of spending wildly beyond the club’s means have been and gone.

We know the Whites have made their pitch and counting strongly in their favour is the esteem he is held in by Parkinson and the Bolton fans. He knows the lie of the land in the dressing room and that the club does not regard him as a ‘super sub,’ which is not a guarantee he will get elsewhere.

If Ameobi is searching for a home away from Tyneside, there won’t be many places who will roll out the welcome mat quite like they will at Wanderers.

Source

Natasha Whittam

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
No end product. I wish him well at QPR.

Nice hair though.

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