The Ultimate Sho(la)down. Round One.

… Or how to use statistics to prove any point you want, even if it blurs the boundaries between fiction and reality…

Welcome to the first in an entirely new feature, where I compare Shola to some of the greatest comic book  superheroes. And by ‘entirely new’, I mean based on the series I did comparing him to other strikers.

Round One.

Who’s up first?

You know who this is. He may or may not play on the left wing for NUFC. Yesterday. Click image for original source.

Step up, Spider-Man.

So, without further ado, I’m gonna dive in like a toddler in a ball pool and compare them side-by-side. No expense spared.

Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Shola Ameobi / The Pendower Pele
Peter Parker was born a man. No comparison. 0/10 Birth We all know that the Ryton Rumenigge was purposefully-bred for the sole purpose of destroying the hopes and dreams of those from that village down the road. He’s like a tin of Ronseal – he does his one job, the one he was made for, and he does it like a boss. 10/10 
Peter Parker was bitten by a spider. I mean, really – who gets bit by a spider nowadays – at least in England (and without sticking their hand in a tarantula’s tank and prodding it robustly with a finger)? Not very realistic. 2/10 Obtaining superpower
The Heaton Hagi was created under highly-controlled laboratory conditions for his purpose While this may seem a bit boring, it at least means that no animals were harmed in the process. Well, except for the mackem babies he was fed on to fuel his rage. 4/10
He can shoot webs from his hand. That’s pretty cool and all, but, at the end of the day, I bet he wish he could be invisible, or fly, or punch through walls. Plus, it’s a bit manky, as that webbing stuff as got to be covered in mucous. 7/10
Superpower Maybe scoring against sunderland is not a superpower, after all, a lot of players have done it. Hell, even England’s Michael Owen did it in one of his spells away from the national team. Grudgingly, I’ll have to give this round against the the Dudley Di Stefano. 2/10
Doc Ock – check. Green Goblin – check. Loads of others. Aye, he’s pretty much done it all. 9/10
Fighting supervillains
They would hardly class as supervillains, what with the word ‘super’ implying either unnatural intelligence or power (unnatural as in unnaturally high, not plankton-like), but the sheer level of effortless control the Ouseburn Okocha exhibits over a large town based on the river Wear (and its stadium of empty pink plastic seats) is frightening. Like a god toying with ants. 10/10
Spider-Man, beneath his pretty little suit, is just a human. And humans fart. Farts release methane into the environment, making trees cry (or something).  0/10

Environmental effect Not only is the Monkseaton Milla not human, but, as we have previously discovered, he is completely solar-powered! How fucking green is that!? 10/10
Peter Parker is an orphan living with his kindly aunt and uncle. Well brought-up and very keen to help others. A success story from a situation where it could have all ended up badly. 9/10
Family The Camperdown Caniggia is closely-related to two other models: the malfunctioning Ameobi 2.0 and the highly-promising Ameobi 3.0. They experience none of the weaknesses that he human race is susceptible to. 8/10
None. Pretty fucking poor for a so-called superhero. 0/10
Goals against the mackems
It is well known that the Wrekenton Weah loves playing against the unwashed. In fact, especially since we currently have the Double Demba strike partnership running smoothly, I reckon we could shut the Gosforth Garrincha down between derby games, thereby prolonging his life cycle by at least another two generations. 10/10
Peter Parker has never been to Stoke. He has, however, been to nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme as he confused it with the real Newcastle. I’ll give him a three for effort. 3/10

Stoke The Saltwell Socrates went down to Stoke to try and teach them how to play the beautiful game. It did not work. As seen in the Old Testament, sometimes even God loses patience. 8/10
He wears a latex suit and he wears it well. If anyone has seen some of the magazines we get over here in Berlin, latex can be a very hard look to pull off, so to speak. 10/10
Wearing a latex suit
The Fenham Fontaine only ever wears NUFC-approved merchandise. Never latex. No hat would look good with latex, so that’s a non-starter. 0/10
Spider-Man’s mask does cover the top of the head, but it would look pretty weird if it didn’t. Either way, calling it a hat is a bit of a stretch… stretch! Do you see what I did there? 1/10
Wearing hats
Everybody knows that the St James’ Park Shola loves hats. In fact, I bet everyone has this video saved on their Youtube favourites.  10/10

So, what are the scores on the doors?

Spider-Man scores 41/100.

The Fenham Eusebio scores 72/100.

So, there you have it folks. A decisive points victory for the legend that is Shola Ameobi. And scientific proof that he is more worthy of a Hollywood movie than Peter Parker and his magnificent spunk-shooting wrists.

"I'm ganna be in the movies, like!"

For those who missed it, the Ameobi dynasty article is here – and it’s highly-recommended. By me.

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Hertha BSC – Borussia Mönchengladbach

…Or how steal a game of football from a poor team…

I’ll be honest up front – if you didn’t like my previous match reports (such as this one from the last round of the cup), then stop reading now. But first click to ‘like’ this on Facebook, so I get a better range of criticism than usual…

Anyway, the earliest I could leave work was six, and the seven pm kick off (so they could televise the Stuttgart – Bayern game after) meant that it was always going to be a struggle to get to the ground. And I did not disappoint…

I actually arrived with five minutes to spare, but by the time I got through the large security queue (can no one arrive at games on time, eh?), went to the toilet, went to the bar and wandered almost half-way around the stadium to get to my place, I had missed the first twenty minutes.

Apparently I hadn’t missed much.

Gladbach, who are in fourth place in the league, three points behind leaders Dortmund, were always going to be favourites, with their solid defence, quick counter-attacks and the hugely impressive Marco Reus, but nothing of much importance or interest happened in the first half.

To be honest, I spent most of the first half (the whole twenty-five minutes that I was there) in shock that they had real beer in the stadium! I was so excited I bought a litre of it. Why not – it was cold and the bar was empty by the time I got in the stadium. And those who have read this before will know my thoughts on beer and football (for those new to the site, please see here).

The second half was slightly better. Hertha, who had spent most of the game not doing much, strung a few passes together and managed to boss the game for about five minutes, a spell in which ter Stegen made a good save and Hertha hit the woodwork. Gladbach’s impressive attack was busy, but without really threatening much.

I spent most of the second half (well, when not shivering, drinking beer or bouncing my feet on the ground to try and get the feeling back in my toes) watching players diving to the ground. As an Englishman, it is frustrating how easily, and with how much drama, players in Germany throw themselves to the ground. I know I have mentioned this before, but it bloody annoys me. And I know it happens in England also, but I honestly think it is a lot more cynical in Germany.

The beer was Carlsberg, by the way. Ironic in a country with a great brewing tradition, but, to my English readers, I promise it actually tastes like beer in Germany.

Back to the diving, sorry. I got distracted by beer. I spent the other part of the second half (when not doing the stuff I mentioned above – keep up!) laughing at my mate and his brother. My mate is a huge Hertha fan, and, no matter how logical the decisions the referee made (and they often weren’t logical, a prime example of which will be mentioned soon), he jumped to his feet to abuse either the referee or a Gladbach player. In the background, his brother was shouting at him, telling him that he was wrong. Like I said, it was a poor game, but that was genuinely funny…

Here’s a picture:

Hertha's Ostkurve. Great atmosphere, struggling team. Can I just point out that I'm surprised how well this turned out as I was shivering the whole time.I am available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and funerals if anyone needs a photographer? Yesterday.

So, I think, with it being so cold, no one wanted extra time. But they would not get to have a say in the matter. I got another beer.

The first half half of extra time wasn’t really great either. Gladbach play best on the counter-attack, and Hertha weren’t really throwing anyone forward for Gladbach to punish.

Towards the end of the first half of extra time, de Camargo, who was brought on for Gladbach, was outmuscled for a through ball and went down. A free kick was given to Hertha for the challenge, and I turned away.

When I turned back, the referee was pointing at the spot and all hell was breaking loose near the centre circle.

All hell breaking loose. Yesterday.

As I was sat mainly among Hertha fans (there were actually a lot of Gladbach fans dotted throughout the stadium, including some Gladbach flags in areas which are nominally home areas), the opinion was nothing had happened and that the Gladbach player had dived after a confrontation.

Gladbach fans enjoy a good penalty. The middle finger belongs to the old dude in front of me. He was a Hertha fan. His night had already peaked. Yesterday.

As this site is nothing if not bastard interactive, I’ll let you decide what happened:

de Camargo headbutted Hubnik. Penalty for de Camargo, red card for Hubnik. You couldn’t make it up.

I asked a prominent Hertha fan on the way home what he thought of the decision: “We were robbed. Fucking referee… Yeah, we can piss over there… Tell your readers that we were robbed. He stole that from us.”

Naturally, Gladbach captain Filip Daems scored the penalty. Hertha threw a few more players forward, and the sub Ramos (who is very Shola-like) was played through, turned the last defender, and blazed over with a shot that genuinely threatened to dislodge the snow on the roof of the Olympiastadion. Gladbach then took advantage of Hertha’s desperate attacks to break, and Oscar Wendt finished smartly in the 120th minute, a minute after coming on as a substitute.

Not a deserved scoreline. Gladbach edged it on quality, but it was a poor game, and Hertha have now lost four on the bounce under their new manager.

But, at least they had real beer! Woohoo! Beer! Even if it was Carlsberg…

Hertha: Kraft; Morales, Hubnik, Mijatovic, Kobiashvili (Ronny); Ebert, Ottl (Ramos), Niemeyer, Lustenberger (Bastians); Raffael; Lasogga

Gladbach: ter Stegen; Daems, Brouwers, Dante, Nordveit; Hermann (de Camargo), Neustädter, Arango, Jantschke, Reus (Marx); Hanke (Wendt)

Attendance: 47,465


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A Christmas Carroll

Part Five – Redemption

In the last instalment, Ebeneezer Ashley came face to face with his own mortality and the ruination of his company, thanks to a visit from the Ghost of Ameobi Yet to Come. We left him knelt beside his own grave, terrified of the fate that awaited him…


Ashley opened his eyes and fixed them on the alarm clock, which had started its morning melody. Flat on his back with the blanket pulled up to his chins, he slowly and nervously looked around the room. He slowly sat himself up, resting his back on the headboard. He put a hand under his pillow and pulled out a small Christmas tree decoration. As he played with it between his fingers, a large smile slowly spread across his round face.

He had a chance. There was still time. If he changed his approach now, he could save his soul. His company. He could live longer. Maybe it was a dream, but he seemed to remember that all the TV shows seemed to think Christmas was a time for miracles.

He jumped from the bed and dressed in one of Donnay’s finest tracksuits, itself a change from his usual look of business casual. He called the driver to pick him up, and ran downstairs to front door, stopping only to grab a few breakfast cereal bars.

He opened the passenger door, threw himself into the seat and pumped his hand into that of the driver’s. “Merry Christmas, my good man.”

The driver recoiled in shock. “Thanks, sir. You too. You sure you want to sit up here with me?” Ashley had never sat in the front seat before, and the driver could probably count the number of times that Ashley had spoken to him on the fingers of one hand.

“Of course, mate!”

“Ok… where to?”

“To the office!”

The driver pulled away slowly, with the sound of Ashley enthusiastically asking personal questions ringing in his ears.


“Pull over here please, Steve?” Ashley asked the driver, who he had learned the life story of over the last ten minutes.

“Sure thing, Ebeneezer” said the driver, feeling uncomfortable using the name Ashley had insisted he use.

As the car pulled to the kerb, Ashley thanked him. “I’ll walk from here, Steve”.

“Ok, should I wait at the office”.

“Don’t be a plum – go home. I’ll get a taxi.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course! It’s Christmas – go home to your family!”

“Thanks!” shouted the driver, quickly pulling away from the kerb before his boss changed his mind.

Ashley walked down the road. It was only a short walk to the office, and he could see the Ameobi boys just ahead of him.


They turned around and smiled. They waited for him to catch up with them.

“Thanks for last night! My eyes are open now!”

The Ameobis looked around to make sure that no one had overheard that comment, which could quite easily become a newspaper headline, perhaps along the lines of ‘Ameobis and Ashley in Rude Romp’. I’m sure you can think of better ones, dear reader, but I’m trying not to swear any more than is necessary for this story.

“We have no idea what you’re talking about, boss” said Shola, his voice the seductive purr of a jungle cat. One with a Geordie accent (imagine Barry White as a lion with a Geordie accent “here, gazelle, get owwer here pet, I got a treat for you”).

“Of course not, boys!” Ashley winked extravagantly. “You,” he pointed to Shola, “You took me back to my first Christmas alone. I thank you for that. Here’s a pony.” He handed Shola some fresh banknotes. “Go buy yourself some hats.”

He turned to Sammy “And you…” he reached out to Sammy, and nipped his cheek between his thumb and forefinger. “You took me into the future, and showed me the error of my ways. Here’s a monkey.” He handed another wad of banknotes to Sammy. “Go get yourself a selection of footwear.”

He turned to Tomi. “You…”

There was an uncomfortable silence.

“You look like a nice boy. You work for me?”


“Here’s a tenner – go to the cinema, treat yourself.” He shook them all by the hand, one-by one. “You two have saved my soul. And I’m sure your mate helped somehow, also” he said, nodding at Tomi, not wanting to leave him out. “Take a week off, I’ll square it with Pardew. Merry Christmas!” He nodded at them.

“Thanks, boss” muttered Shola and Sammy, slightly nonplussed by what had happened.

“Aye, cheers” agreed Tomi, angered by playing second fiddle to his brothers once again.

Ashley smiled at them once more, then bounced off towards the office, making a beeline for Pardew’s office.


“Merry Christmas, you slag!” shouted Ashley, slapping Pardew so hard across the back that he spat coffee on his laptop.

Pardew coughed and wheezed a little, before turning back to his boss with a questioning look on his face. “Merry Christmas?”

“That’s the spirit! Now, what are you doing here. It’s Christmas!”

“I know. You told me to come in.”

“Oh yeah. Well, forget about that. Go home, spend some time with your wife, Pards.”

“Pards?” Pardew’s eyes lit up with pride. “Pards, guv?”

“Call me Ebeneezer.”

“Yes, boss.”

“Ok, now Pards, you’d better get home, and get that turkey on.”


“It’s Christmas, Pards! Go home, spend it with the family.”

Pardew got up from his chair slowly. “Are you sure you’re ok, guv?”

“Never better. It’s Christmas!”

Pardew shook his head slowly. He had no idea what had come over Ashley, but he much preferred this version of Ashley than the previous one. He slowly put his winter coat, hat and gloves on, all the while waiting for Ashley to change his mind. Seeing no sign of Ashley playing an elaborate joke, he headed for the door. No sooner had he stepped out of the door, however, than Ashley called him back.


“Call me Ebeneezer.”


“I forgot something – your Christmas present…”

“I left one on your desk…”

“Ah, thanks! Greatly appreciated!” He pulled Pardew in towards him for a hug. After an uncomfortable ten seconds, Ashley let Pardew go. “I meant my present to you.”

Pardew stared at his boss, unsure of what was coming next.

“Now,” muttered Ashley, “I apologise, I didn’t have time to wrap it…” he fumbled in his pockets, letting out a sigh of relief when he found what he was looking for. He handed Pardew a blank piece of paper. Pardew slowly turned it over, and then stared in shock at what was looking back at him. “Is this…?”

“Yes. A blank cheque. Pre-signed also.”

Pardew’s jaw dropped.

“Tell you what, Pards. You go out in the January sales and get whatever you think you need to improve our team and performances.”

“Really?” He asked, the only word that was capable of falling from his mouth.

“Of course!” replied Ashley, jokingly punching Pardew on the arm.

Pardew searched Ashley’s eyes for any hint of malice or mendacity. Not finding any, he jumped on Ashley like a lonely dog jumps upon its master when they return home. But with less tongue. Slightly.

Ashley’s rotund frame shook with laughter as he lifted Pardew off him and put him on the floor.

“Thanks… Ebeneezer!”

“No problem, Pards. You deserve it.”

Pardew carefully folded the cheque and put it in his inside pocket. “Listen…” he said, searching for the words. “Why don’t you come round to mine for Christmas dinner?”

“Would that not be a problem for you?”

“Not at all. I would be pleased.”

“Then I would be delighted to come. But first, I have something to do.”

Ashley left Pardew in his office and headed for the lift. He went down to the ground floor and left the building into the gently snowing morning air. He looked down on the city below him and stretched his hands out horizontally, like a tubby Jesus Christ.

“Merry Christmas Newcastle!” He shouted. “Peace in Toon and goodwill to all Geordies!”

He smiled to himself, and then turned around slowly and headed back indoors. From now on, he thought, everything would be lovely-jubbly.

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