Shola Ameobi inspired by Sir Bobby Robson enthusiasm
Shola Ameobi will take the spirit of Sir Bobby Robson with him as Newcastle attempt to keep their Europa League dream alive in Ukraine.
The Magpies will face Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday evening still bristling at the two goals Papiss Cisse had controversially disallowed in a 0-0 first leg draw at St James' Park last week. However, they will do so with 31-year-old Ameobi having encountered just this kind of challenge a decade ago.
On February 18, 2003, then manager Robson celebrated his 70th birthday - he would have been 80 on Monday - watching the gangling frontman he later described as his "lanky Bambi" score twice in a 3-1 Champions League victory at Bayer Leverkusen after successive defeats by Inter Milan and Barcelona. Ameobi said: "Listen, I take him everywhere with me."
He added: "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."
The Magpies ultimately 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, their fate will be decided on the night with a score draw enough for them to progress to the last 16, but any victory for Metalist is sufficient to 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 takes this seriously and so do we as players."
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