SHOLA Ameobi says he is looking forward to a ‘new chapter’ after leaving Newcastle United – but wants to return to the club one day.
The Magpies today confirmed long-serving Ameobi will not be returning to the club next season after his contract expired.
The 32-year-old said: “Following discussions with Newcastle United, both parties felt it was the right time for us to part company.
“I’ve been at Newcastle United all my career and I’ve enjoyed every moment and always worn the famous shirt with pride. I am now looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career.
“I would like to place on record a big thank you to everyone at Newcastle United. I wish the club great success in the future and I’m sure with the team and management they have, Newcastle United will go from strength to strength.
“Finally, a big thank you to the supporters who have always been fantastic.
“I hope to come back to Newcastle United one day in some capacity to help repay some of the faith and loyalty that everybody connected to the club has shown me during my time here.”
Ameobi, who has been linked with a move to Hull City, came through the ranks on Tyneside before making his debut in September 2000. He made 397 appearances for the club over 14 years, scoring 79 goals in the process.
He netted seven goals against Sunderland in Tyne-Wear derby fixtures and represented United in the Champions League, famously scoring against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in December 2002.
On the announcement of those players who won’t be returning to the club, manager Alan Pardew said: “I would like to thank each of these players for the effort, attitude and application they have put in while at the club.
“However, I have to make a special mention of Shola Ameobi, who has been an incredible servant to Newcastle United.
“Such loyalty and commitment in the modern game is rare and Shola was not just a great player on the pitch but a key figure off it too.
“He is a leader of men, a great role model for our younger players and I wish him well for the remainder of his career.”
Managing director Lee Charnley added: “To stay at one club for 14 years is remarkable and something that Shola should be very proud of.
“We are lucky to have had him for his contribution both on and off the field. I would personally like to thank Shola for his commitment to the Club and wish him every success going forward.”