Shola Ameobi: We care more than the relegated Newcastle side of 2009
The spectre of relegation casts a daunting shadow over St James' Park, largely because of how recent the last internal implosion that carried the club into the Championship took place. Three-and-a-half years ago, Newcastle were thought of as too good to go down, and on the last day of the season, at Aston Villa, that concept was once more proved incredibly naïve.
Shola Ameobi lived through that demotion. His role is even more important this time, given the club's lack of centre-forwards and when he was asked if this season, in which Newcastle have sank to fifth bottom of the Premier League, bore comparison to the relegation campaign of 2008-09, he said: "No, definitely not the same at all. Back then, there was a lot of discord. Last time, I remember thinking there were a lot of players who didn't really want to be here and that does not bode well for any team.
"Certainly, the players we have here now have a better character and better temperament and hopefully that can really help us. In the last year or so, there have been a lot of games when we've been struggling but we've managed to pull [a result] out of the hat which is really good from our point of view.
"When we lose games, I can see that everyone in this squad is hurting. It's tough because when you have had some decent performances [and still lost], we have been in the changing room for about half an hour after the game discussing it because we care. It means so much to the players.
"Four years ago, it wasn't like that. Many of them knew they would be leaving at the end of the season and I think that is the difference. That is certainly the feeling I got back then. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as if they did not want to win and it's important to state that but afterwards, they'd be smiling again within a few minutes.
"This season, you can see that every single player in the dressing room is prepared to knuckle down," Ameobi added. "They all want to really help this club although obviously it is going to be very difficult to do what we did last season but we are all still together and right behind the manager.
"At times, it can seem frantic but it is important that we all keep cool heads. That is something the manager is really stressing because it's very easy to let the whole situation and the games we have lost get to you. Your confidence can be rattled but the manager has been really upbeat, trying to keep us positive. He keeps reminding us that we have had some decent performances without the right results. Is important that we try to keep a level head."
Fabricio Coloccini, meanwhile, and his representatives will hold postponed talks with Newcastle officials about the player's future on Monday. San Lorenzo, the Argentinian side who would like to sign the 30-year-old, are believed to be trying to raise the money to make an offer. Coloccini told Newcastle officials nine days ago that he wanted to return to Argentina.
Latest in Sport
The Premier League is about earning the right to play on the counter-attack - Danny Higginbotham
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace: Alan Pardew seems to be building something special down at the Palace
John Stones to Chelsea: Next season's bumper TV deal means clubs such as Everton can say 'no'
Kevin De Bruyne: Why do Manchester City put such a high value on a player Chelsea rejected?
Newcastle vs Arsenal: Play Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott from the start
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 4 Jozef Wesołowski: Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs