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20 April 2024

Spirit of Robson inspires Ameobi


Shola Ameobi hopes to take the spirit of the late Bobby Robson with him when Newcastle attempt to remain in the Europa League when they travel to Ukraine.

The Magpies play Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday still aggrieved that two 'goals' by Papiss Cisse were controversially disallowed during a goalless first leg draw at St James' Park last week.

But 31-year-old striker Ameobi hopes history will repeat itself, having played a key role when Newcastle defied the odds in Europe a decade ago.

On February 18, 2003, then Newcastle manager Robson celebrated his 70th birthday -- he would have been 80 on Sunday -- watching Ameobi, a player he later described as a "lanky Bambi", score twice in a 3-1 Champions League win at Bayer Leverkusen after successive defeats by Inter Milan and Barcelona.

"Listen, I take him (Robson) everywhere with me," said Ameobi of the former England manager. "He is what made me who I am today. He encapsulates everything football means to me.

"His enthusiasm for the game was imparted on me, and he would have loved that, going over there and proving a point, so hopefully we can do that as a team," Ameobi added.

Newcastle missed out on a place in the Champions League quarter-finals back in 2003 after drawing at Inter Milan but losing to Barca on Tyneside.

However, this time around, the north-east club's fate will be decided on the night with a score draw enough for the Premier League side to progress to the last 16, although a win for Metalist will send the Ukrainians through.

Ameobi said: "We are excited. We are not behind in the tie, which is good. They haven't scored an away goal. That could prove decisive for us.

"Personally, this is a big tournament. It's a European competition and we want to get as far as we can.

"The manager (Alan Pardew) takes this seriously and so do we as players."