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Shola confident Magpies will stay in top-flight
Published : 21 Apr 2010 00:00:00
AN emotional Shola Ameobi last night claimed that spending the last eight months playing in the Championship has uncovered the desire and determination required to ensure Newcastle United stay in the Premier League. Ameobi was touched and stunned by the jubilant scenes of celebration at Home Park on Monday night, when thousands of Newcastle fans invaded the pitch to dance in delight after sealing the title they last won 17 years ago. The 28-year-old, who is the only Newcastle player raised in the city who joined the party as an 11-year-old back in 1993, was mobbed by fans in Devon and will remember the scenes for the rest of his life. But, when the curtain is drawn on the season, Ameobi feels the last season outside of the top-flight will have given the club the rejuvenation it desperately craved when relegation was confirmed last May. After the partying in the next few weeks we are under no illusions, we know that it will be difficult next season, said Ameobi, knowing another day of celebration is pencilled in for Saturday when the squad will be presented with the trophy after the match with Roy Keane's Ipswich Town. We came down last year and we will have to strengthen the squad. I am not the manager, I don't want to delve in to his business, that's his job. I know there's a core of players right now, we will give everything we have got. We didn't have a God given right to win this league, we have had to give every ounce of effort to win this league and that's what we will be trying to replicate in the Premier League. There has been a turnaround in terms of confidence since last season. But I don't think as players, we doubted it. We knew we had the quality and if we applied ourselves we knew we could come back up. There were eyebrows raised and people talked about us doing a Leeds, dropping down the divisions. But the belief in the dressing room has always been the same. We knew we had the quality to win the league. We have shown the real steel and the endurance, which has been lacking in recent seasons. That will hold us in good stead next year. In defeating Plymouth on Monday night Newcastle climbed nine points clear of second-placed West Brom with a total of 98 points. Matches with Ipswich and Queens Park Rangers are still to come, so Newcastle could still end up some eight points superior to the 96 point tally which Kevin Keegan led the Magpies to when they won the division in 1993. And Ameobi, who has worked his way through the Academy and made more than 150 appearances for the club, was clearly delighted to have been a part of the title winning night in Devon after years of injury hell. This moment has been coming for a while, said Ameobi. It's great to get promotion but to win the Championship with two games spare, the whole of the club, the fans, everyone can be proud. For me it's very emotional in terms of last season's disappointments. To get back up first time is something I will cherish for the rest of my career and for the rest of my life. As a Newcastle fan, I have been part of this as a player, and I feel it is a real honour just to be part of that. It was incredible scenes after the game. It shows the depth of the support of our fans, the greatness of our fans to think they came so far do to that. What we have done is won a trophy for this club and that's not happened for a while. It's only the Championship trophy, but as lads, as fans, you can see how much it made everyone happy. It took the Newcastle players more than an hour to emerge from the dressing room at Home Park on Monday night before heading for the hotel for further celebrations. Ameobi said: We have been enjoying it because you have to enjoy the good moments. The good moments have been few and far between in the last few years so you have to savour them. We knew if we won the last three games we would be champions and we wanted to have that trophy handed to us at St James' Park in front of our fans. It will mean a lot to have them all there. That's what carried us through. We wanted to show the fans that trophy and it will be a great day for us.