. alongside Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Andre Ayew, Demba Ba and Alex Song by the Confederation of African Football.
The quintet were selected from an original list of 34 names - chosen by head coaches and technical directors of football associations affiliated to CAF - with the winner to be revealed at an awards ceremony in Accra on December 20, which will also see the Coach of the Year and Club of the Year announced.
Manchester City midfielder Toure scooped the honour last year after helping his club end their 35-year trophy drought with the winning goal in the 2011 FA Cup final.
Former Chelsea striker Drogba who is favourite to pick up the prize for the third time in his career.
The Ivory Coast captain began the year with African Nations Cup disappointment, as he missed a penalty in the shock final defeat to Zambia, but made amends with a fine showing in the Champions League final, scoring a late equaliser against Bayern Munich before dispatching the decisive spot-kick in the shootout as Chelsea ended their long wait for the trophy.
Drogba, 34, is currently playing for Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, though he has recently been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge on loan.
The Africa-based Player of the Year nominees are Egypt and Al Ahly midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika, and Zambian duo Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu - who both play for TP Mazembe.
ARE YOU HEADING TO SOUTHAMPTON?
What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?
Away fans are located in the Northam Stand at one end of the stadium, where normally up to 3,100 fans can sit. For cup games this allocation can be increased to 4,750. The view of the playing action and the facilities within this stand are excellent. Leg room is good, although the width of the seating seemed to be a bit narrower than other grounds (either that, or I am putting on weight!). The sizeable concourse behind the stand features a Ladbrokes, has TV's which show the game as it is played and a number of eating and drinking outlets. There are plenty of staff and the queues never seemed to get particularly long, which was a pleasant surprise. There is also a 'Pie & Pint' outlet, that as the name suggests, only serves beer and pies. Perhaps they should rename it as 'Heaven'!
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St Mary's and would happily return. The stadium has (contrary to other reports) a great atmosphere and the facilities are first class. I particularly commend the Club for the friendliness of their staff, from the stewards to the catering staff. Even as I left the stadium, a steward wished me an enjoyable journey home! Considering that away supporters are almost treated with contempt at some other clubs, this was a refreshing change. Coupled with the relaxed attitude of the home supporters and the excellent facilities, then this to to me makes a visit to St Mary's one of the better days out in the League. Only one minor gripe though, is that away fans are searched before entering the stadium which obviously slows the entrance process down somewhat.
Phil Jones adds; 'There was an excellent view from all around the ground and the atmosphere was good. I was impressed by their having toilet facilities around the perimeter of the ground which are accessible prior to the turnstiles opening. Well done Southampton, it's the little touches like these, for the fans comfort and enjoyment of the day, which make all the difference'.
Where To Drink?
There are not many pubs located close to the stadium, so the choice for away fans is limited. Derek Hall a visiting Hartlepool United fan recommends the King Alfred pub on Northam Road. 'It is a good pub to visit, just a few minutes walk away from the stadium. Simply head towards the railway line to the right of the away end, then go up and over the railway bridge. The pub is a minute's walk away to your left. There is a small pay and display car park adjacent'. The pub also shows Sky Sports and has a barbeque in matchdays.
There is the Waterfront Bar in William Street, which is an area called Shamrock Quay. You can visit the Waterfront Bar website for more details. Nic Hallam a visiting Wolverhampton Wanderers fan adds; 'In the Ocean Village we found "The Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis" public house. This large establishment had an an excellent choice of beers, friendly bar staff and a convivial mix of both home and away fans'.
Most fans seem to end up in the city centre before the game, where there are plenty of pubs to choose from. Paul Hunt a visiting Bristol City fan adds; 'On our last visit the Standing Order Wetherspoons outlet was for home fans only, with bouncers on the door. We ended up in Yates Wine Lodge in the central shopping area. There were also a lot of away fans in the Slug & Lettuce next door'. Please remember though that if you do drink in the centre, that the stadium is a good twenty minute walk away. Otherwise alcohol is served within the ground. How To Get There And Where To Park
From the M3 take the A33 into Southampton. Continue on the A33 until you reach the junction with the A3024 Northam Road and turn left onto this road towards Northam. Then turn right onto the B3038, Britannia Road for the stadium.
There is hardly any parking available at the stadium for away fans and there are parking restrictions in force for the local area. Most fans seem to be just heading for the city centre car parks and then embarking on the 15-20 minute walk to the stadium. I did this and parked in an NCP car park, which cost £5. I should point out though, that after the game the roads around the city centre become almost grid locked. It took me over an hour to get away afterwards.
Alternatively, on my last visit I noticed a number of fans parking around the Marina area and then taking the ten minute walk to the ground. Parking in this area has the advantage that at the end of the game, you can avoid the city centre gridlock, by heading along the coast on the A3024 and then onto the M271/M27. Steve Ship a visiting Crystal Palace fan also recommends it; 'The Marina is called the Ocean Village which has plenty of parking, but it does charge to park there (we paid £5 for five hours). It is no more than a ten minute walk to the stadium, has a pub on the complex (which had a decent mix of home and away supporters) as well as plenty of food outlets. We left at the final whistle and were back on the M27 within 20 minutes thus avoiding the congested town centre'.
Barry Sear suggests 'I parked in Woolston (on the other side of the Itchen Toll Bridge) where there is plenty of street parking, and made the 15-20 minute walk from there to the ground over the Itchen toll Bridge. To get there, you leave the M27 at Junction 8 and follow the A3025 to Woolston. I was back on the M27 within 10 minutes of getting back to the car'.
Park & Ride
Gavin Ellis a visiting Arsenal supporter informs me; 'There is a park and ride scheme in operation specifically for away supporters. This is situated just off junction 8 of the M27. The traffic in Southampton really made London look provincial, and I'd definitely not recommend people driving into the centre'. This facility costs £8 per vehicle.
John Josephs a visiting Newcastle supporter adds; 'After leaving the motorway at Junction 8 and heading towards Southampton, there are clear AA signs for the Visitors Park and Ride car park which is opposite a big Tesco superstore. I got there at about six which was two hours before kick-off. There were six buses waiting but hardly any supporters. Once there were enough people to fill half a bus it left. 15 minutes later and we were at the stadium'. Mark Glasson a visiting Nottingham Forest fan tells me; ' Although the trip into the ground was outstandingly efficient we were disappointed that now it appears that the Southampton fans and cars are allowed to disperse first at the end of the game while the Park & Ride buses were held back for around 1/2 an hour prior to being released into busy traffic. It was therefore nearly an hour after the match before we were back in our car and able to start our three hour journey home. I feel sure it would have been significantly quicker to park more locally and walk to the stadium.'
Other fans have also recommended the park & ride to me, so on my last visit on a Saturday, I thought I would give it a try. I arrived at the Park & Ride at 11.45am to be informed that it didn't run until 1pm and then 'only if we have enough fans to fill the bus'. I didn't fancy hanging around so I left the car park and drove to St Marys instead. However other fans that I spoke to arriving later found the service okay.
The stadium is located around one and a half miles away from Southampton station (where there is also quite a large car park), which should take about 30 minutes to walk. There is also a shuttle bus in operation taking fans from the station to the ground. This operates from the Blechynden Terrace bus stop outside the station.
Turn left out of the station' s southern entrance and walk up Western Esplanade, which becomes Civic Centre Road. Remain on the Civic Centre Road and walk between the Civic Centre and the Marlands Shopping Centre. Eventually a crossroads is reached with the Nationwide Building Society on one corner and Lloyds Bank on another. Cross into New Road and follow this road across a park and past a college. Eventually you will reach a complex road junction with a number of traffic lights. Cross Kings Way into Northam Road and follow this road for quarter of a mile until you reach the ground on your right. There are signs provided by the local council, which direct fans from the station to the ground.
You can also walk to the ground from St Denys Station, which is about a 25 minute walk away. This area also has some good pubs. Kay Wilkinson provides the following directions: ' Leave the station on the platform 4 (South Western Arms Pub side) and proceed past the pub, which is on your right hand side and continue on down this road, past the Junction Inn and over the Horseshoe Bridge (this goes over the railway.) Take the next left, Dukes Road and follow this for about 3/4 of mile past various industrial units and round past Mount Pleasant School, which is on your right. At this T junction turn left into Mount Pleasant Road and walk over the railway (tip if the train gates are down use the footbridge - you can sometimes wait here for 20 minutes). You then continue along this road, which changes into Radcliffe Road, past the mosque on your right and this road will take you all the way down to the underpass to the Stadium. This is the most direct route. If you want to visit the Dolphin Pub mentioned above you exit the Station on Platform one side using the bridge across the road and the Dolphin is directly in front of you. To visit the Bevios Castle pub follow the directions into Dukes Road and half way down this road is a right turn, this will take you out into Bevios Valley, turn left and the pub is about 3 minutes walk away on a road junction on the right hand side. To get to St Marys from here you can either walk up the hill following the road continuously, past the hospital and the fire station on your left, when you reach the main road, Northam Road, cross and pass through the bridge to the ground. Alternatively you can walk down the hill and take the first right, Mount Pleasant Road and follow the directions as from St Denys Station above'.NEWCASTLE UNITED FC 2012/13 Newcastle United Fixtures
Sunday November 25 15:00 Southampton v Newcastle United Wednesday November 28 19:45 Stoke City v Newcastle United Monday December 3 20:00 Newcastle United v Wigan Athletic Thursday December 6 18:00 Bordeaux v Newcastle United Monday December 10 20:00 Fulham v Newcastle United Saturday December 15 12:45 Newcastle Utd v Manchester City Saturday December 22 15:00 Newcastle United v QPR Wednesday December 26 15:00 Man Utd v Newcastle United Saturday December 29 17:30 Arsenal v Newcastle UnitedPREMIERSHIP NEWCASTLE 1 SWANSEA 2 (Ba)Krul, Simpson (74' Bigirimana), S Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Anita, Tiote, Ferguson (46' Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi (79' Marveaux), Ba. Subs: Elliot, Amalfitano, Tavernier,Abeid NEWCASTLE 0 WEST HAM 1Krul, Simpson (79' Obertan), Steven Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Gutierrez (24' Anita), Ferguson, Cisse (45+5' Shola Ameobi), Ba Subs:Elliot, Amalfitano, Bigirimana, Marveaux. LIVERPOOL 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Cabaye)Krul, Anita, S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Perch (26' Simpson), Cabaye (68' Ferguson), Gutierrez, Ben Arfa, Cisse, Ba (49' Sammy Ameobi).Subs: Harper, Williamson, Shola Ameobi, Obertan. NEWCASTLE 2 WEST BROM 1 (Ba, Cisse)Krul, Simpson (61 Cisse), Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Perch, Gutierrez, Ba (72 Sammy Ameobi), Shola Ameobi (61 Obertan). Subs: Harper, Anita, Steven Taylor, Ferguson. SUNDERLAND 1 NEWCASTLE UTD 1 (Cabaye)Krul,Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini (79' S Taylor) Santon, Gutierrez, Cabaye, Tiote, Ben Arfa (83' Obertan), Ba, Shola Ameobi (38' Perch).Subs: Harper, Anita, Cisse, Ferguson NEWCASTLE UTD 0 MAN UTD 3Harper, Santon, Perch, Williamson, Ferguson (63' Anita), Ben Arfa, Tiote (80' Bigirimana), Cabaye, Gutierrez, Cisse (63' Shola Ameobi), Ba Subs: Alnwick, Simpson, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi READING 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ba 2)Harper, Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor (Tavernier 56), Santon, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Bigirimana (Ferguson 70), Gutierrez, Cisse (Shola Ameobi 69), Ba.Subs not used: Elliot, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi. NEWCASTLE 1 NORWICH 0 (Ba)Harper, Perch, Williamson, Steven Taylor, Santon, Ben Arfa (Shola 85mins), Anita (Tiote 76 mins), Cabaye, Jonas, Cisse (Obertan 70 mins), BaSubs unused: Elliot, Tavernier, Bigirimana, Sammy Ameobi EVERTON 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ba 2)Harper; Perch, Williamson, Taylor, Santon; Anita, Cabaye (Bigirimana 93), Gutierrez; Marveaux (Ba 46), Ben Arfa; Cissé (Shola Ameobi 80). Substitutes not used Elliot (g), Gosling, Obertan, Tavernier. NEWCASTLE 1 ASTON VILLA 1 (Ben Arfa)Krul, Simpson (Bigirimana 38), Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Anita, Gutierrez (Marveaux 86), Ba (Obertan 86), CisseSubs not used: Harper, Williamson, Gosling, Amalfitano CHELSEA 2 NEWCASTLE 0Krul, Simpson (Ryan Taylor 64), Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Santon (Marveaux 74), Ben Arfa, Anita, Cabaye (Perch 77), Gutierrez, Ba, CisseSubs not used: Harper, Williamson, Gosling, Obertan NEWCASTLE 2 SPURS 1 (Ba, Ben Arfa pen)Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Perch, Santon; Ben Arfa, Cabaye (Anita, 71), Tiote, Gutierrez; Cisse, Ba (Obertan, 85). Subs not used: Harper; R Taylor, Williamson, Gosling, Amalfitano EUROPA LEAGUE NEWCASTLE 1 MARITIMO 1Krul, Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Marveaux, Bigirimana, Anita, Sammy Ameobi (76' Abeid), Ben Arfa (40' Ba), Cisse (50' Amalfitano)Subs: Elliot, Williamson, Ferguson, Tavernier'. CLUB BRUGGE 2 NEWCASTLE 2 (Anita, Shola Ameobi)Krul, Anita, Williamson (58' Steven Taylor), Coloccini, Tavernier, Tiote, Sammy Ameobi (83' Amalfitano), Marveaux, Bigirimana (72' Cabaye), Obertan, Shola Ameobi Sub: Elliot, Santon, Cisse, Shane Ferguson NEWCASTLE 1 CLUB BRUGGE 0 (Obertan)Harper, Perch, Santon, Steven Taylor, Ferguson 80 (Cabaye), Obertan, Tiote, Bigirimana, Anita 46' (Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi 73' (Coloccini), CisseSubs: Krul, Ben Arfa, Ba, Campbell NEWCASTLE 3 BORDEAUX 0 (Shola Ameobi, Henrique og), Cisse)Elliot (Harper, 46 ); Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Ferguson; Anita, Tiote (Gosling, 71), Cabaye (Bigirimana, 61); Cisse, Ameobi, Obertan. MARITIMO 0 NEWCASTLE 0Elliot, Santon, Williamson, Perch, S Taylor, Gosling, Amalfitano (Ferguson 76), Bigirimana, Obertan (Marveaux 80), Vuckic (Sami Ameobi 53), Shola Ameobi. Subs (not used): Harper (gk), Tavernier, Abeid, Campbell NEWCASTLE 1 ATROMITOS 0 (Vuckic)Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Ryan Taylor (11 Vuckic), Obertan, Bigirimana, Perch (59 Tavernier), Marveaux (91 Amalfitano), Gosling, Ba. Subs: Harper, Cabaye, Cisse, Campbell. ATROMITOS 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (R Taylor)Harper; Tavernier, Williamson, Perch, R Taylor; Bigirimana, Anita; Obertan, Gosling (Amalfitano, 64), Marveaux (Gutierrez, 71); Cisse (Campbell, 77). Subs not used: Krul, Santon, Cabaye, S Taylor. LEAGUE CUP MAN UTD 2 NEWCASTLE 1 (Cisse)Elliot, Coloccini (Ferguson 61), Williamson, Perch, Tavernier, Gosling, Marveaux, Tioté (Bigirimana 71), Obertan, Vuckic (Cisse 81), Shola Ameobi. Subs not used: Harper, Anita, Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi. PRE-SEASON CARDIFF CITY 4 NEWCASTLE 1 (Shola Ameobi pen)Krul, Simpson, Coloccini (Williamson 46), Steven Taylor (Gosling 63), Santon, Obertan (Campbell 83), Tiote (Amalfitano 71) , Gutiérrez, Marveaux (Vuckic 46), R Taylor (Perch 28), Shola Ameobi. HARTLEPOOL 1 NEWCASTLE 5 (Shola Ameobi, Marveaux 2, Obertan, Vuckic)Harper (Alnwick 82), Simpson (Good 72), Tavernier, Williamson, S.Taylor (Vuckic 46), Perch (R.Taylor 72), Gosling, Amalfitano (Santon 80), Marveaux (Obertan 78), Sh.Ameobi (Ben Arfa 46), Bigirimana (Abeid 59). DEN HAAG 0 NEWCASTLE 0Krul; S Taylor (Gosling 65), R Taylor (Perch 71), Coloccini, Santon (Simpson 80); Obertan (Bigirimana 71), Tiote (Ameobi 71), Vuckic (Williamson 65), Gutierrez; Ba (Amalfitano 82), Cisse BRAGA 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ba, R Taylor)Harper; Simpson, Tavernier, Coloccini, R.Taylor; Sammy Ameobi (Obertan 88), Tiote (Cabaye 70), Gutierrez, Marveaux; Cisse, Ba (Vuckic 85). OLYMPIACOS 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (S Taylor)Krul, Perch, Williamson, S.Taylor (Dummett 46), Santon, Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 72), Bigirimana, Gosling (Abeid 36), Amalfitano, Vuckic, Shola Ameobi (Cisse 72). FENERBAHCE 1 NEWCASTLE 1 (Abeid)Elliot, Simpson (Santon 68), Tavernier, Coloccini, R Taylor, Tiote (Bigirimana 59), Gosling (Abeid 73), Obertan (Shola Ameobi 75), Marveuax (Gutierrez 59), Vuckic (Sammy Ameobi 46), Ba (Cisse 68). MONACO 0 NEWCASTLE 1 (Ba)Harper, Santon (Ryan Taylor 57), Simpson, Williamson (Perch 46), Gutierrez, Amalfitano (Obertan 62), Abeid (Tavernier 46), Bigirimana (Tiote 62), Sammy Ameobi (Vuckic 46), Shola Ameobi (Gosling 62), Ba (Marveaux 78) CHEMNITZER 1 NEWCASTLE 0Elliot; Tavernier (Simpson, 70), Williamson, Perch, R Taylor (Santon, 70); Obertan (Gutierrez, 77), Abeid (Bigirimana, 70), Gosling, Amalfitano; Vuckic (Shola Ameobi, 70), Sammy Ameobi (Ba, 77). Sub not used: Harper.
Source: Newcastle United Mad