Kevin Nolan has given a great interview with the Newcastle Journal this morning, and has said how the players this season have come together, closed ranks, and done what Newcastle needed badly – a group of players dedicated to the club.
Kevin Nolan – talks a lot of common sense
When Kevin arrived at the club 15 months ago, he has talked often about how surprised he was that the players were not together, and how much better the team spirit and camaraderie was at Bolton, where he had been captain for many successful seasons.
Well it looks to us that Kevin has had a profound impact at Newcastle and not just on the field of play.
Here’s what Kevin said today:
“You can look back to when the club last went up in 1993 and mistakes were made from then until 2009. Some of them were major, major mistakes,”
“Even players were saying it was like being in Eastenders. What we’ve tried to do is close ranks and bring it back to being a football club.”
“It’s got the fanbase, it’s got the stadium and it needed a team loyal to the club and the fans, loyal to themselves.”
“What we’ve done was needed – majorly needed – and hopefully we can only get better. We’re not saying if we get promoted we’re going to do this or that, it’s got to be a slow building process again, getting back amongst that top ten.”
“We haven’t done anything yet. Let’s not get past that. We’ve done well so far but this is only the beginning. A new revolution, a new start for us.”
We remember when Kevin first arrived, how determined he was to save Newcastle from relegation, and in his very first game – against Sunderland no less – he took control of the team in the huddle before the first whistle blew, and was telling everybody what to do.
We thought it really funny at the time – he hadn’t even kicked a ball for the club and he was taking control – but that’s what real leadership is all about.
Kevin has talked about that terrible 6-1 defeat at Leyton Orient during the summer, when the press was telling everybody who would listen, that the club would be in League One next season – and it was coming from those football experts – who are never wrong.
Yeah – right!
Kevin talked about the 6-1 defeat as a turning point:
“With it being Newcastle and us getting tonked 6-1, obviously it was major news,”“Inside the camp it wasn’t as big as it was made out to be. The media frenzy was ridiculous. What we said was we have to get away from that. So it was a case of closing ranks.”
“Getting beaten 6-1 was a shambles but it brought a few things to light. It showed who wanted to be here and who didn’t. What you’ve got now is a squad of players who want to be here, train hard, work hard and play hard and want to get this football club back to where we think it belongs.”
“We knew it wasn’t a 6-1 game, we knew it was little tweaks that needed to be made, because we’d had quite a good pre-season up until then. All the reports that we were going to do another Leeds sort of spurred us on.”
“We talked in the dressing room afterwards – it had to be done there and then. When there’s conflicts and rivalries you do it then, you stand toe to toe and get on with it, then it’s finished as soon as you walk out of the dressing room, it doesn’t spread anywhere else.”
“That’s what we promised each other – no matter what happened between now and the end of the season, everybody was going to be 100 per cent committed to each other, we’re all going to be together and nobody is going to break the bond we’ve got as players and staff.”
“We’ve had a committee and if Chris (Hughton, the manager) has something he wants to share with the lads he’ll come to the four most experienced players (Nolan, Nicky Butt, Steve Harper and Alan Smith) – but that’s been the case at clubs for years and years,” “It’s maybe had more effect here, but you’ve got to have the right mentality of players.”
“We have a management that is so happy with the system. They allow us to manage the dressing room but if Chris says, ‘No, that’s not right, this is what we do,’ then that’s it, no matter what we say. Chris is the manager, Col (Colin Calderwood) is the assistant, we are the players. They manage, we just play.”
“The reason why it is this way is all obvious. Because Chris did not have the job at the start of the season, Chris, Col, all the coaching staff, all the medical staff who came on tour with us did not know they would still be in a job the next day.”
“We knew we had to join forces with them and build something that would work so if Chris got the job, there would be a structure in place to make sure we had the best chance of getting back into the Premier League.”
“We have enjoyed the fact that all you (journalists) can write about is is good stuff!”
Let’s say one thing – the players have transformed the Newcastle club this season.
And even when there was the recent altercation between Taylor and Carroll they closed ranks, and even won the game at Doncaster Rovers on the evening the big news had broken in the press.
The bad news surrounding the club with off-field activities was minimized, and all the news the next day was about what a great game and win they managed at Doncaster Rovers, who were on a 6 game unbeaten run – and even Andy Carroll scored a great winner.
You cannot make this stuff up.
And we’ve heard nothing since, although we assume Chris will take some disciplinary action, when the time is right, because we cannot have these things go on.
But in this interview Kevin has explained well, why the lads are so together this season – they want to be at Newcastle.
It all makes such a difference.
And when you’ve got a lad like Kevin Nolan at the club, we’re not going to go too far wrong – that’s for sure – Kevin has been magnificent for Newcastle United this season – just magnificent – both on and off the field.
Howay The Lads!!