There are many reports about the Newcastle club in the Journal this morning, and one of them has Kevin Nolan talking about what it was like last summer, when he returned for pre-season training. It wasn’t good.
Two proud Newcastle players – Nolan and Smith
Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan talked today about what it was like to return for pre-season training after being relegated:
“If I am honest, when I came into training on the first day of pre-season, I did not think the season would go as well as it has done.”
“I did not think we were going to run away with the Championship, none of us did.” “We have lost four games all season, I don’t think we could have believed we were going to do that.”
“So yeah, it is hugely satisfying and I believe we can be proud.” “The hardest part was when we first came back into training and there were not any games and there was all sorts going on, so much speculation, so much uncertainty.”
“The summer holidays had been bad enough, but it did hit home hard when we got together again as a group.” “The dreaded did happen, we were given a spanking at Leyton Orient.”
“I was there and watched them running around me and I was thinking ‘what on earth is going on here’.” “It was embarrassing, a bitter, bitter blow, but it possibly needed to happen.”
“The way Orient’s lads celebrated, it was unbelievable for a pre-season friendly, but it showed us what it would be like if we did not get it sorted in the Championship.”
“We would have that every other week and it was not a nice experience I can tell you. It was ridiculous.” “I remember the aftermath vividly.”
“There was a lot of talk, there were players saying they did not want to leave, they were going to stay and get the club back into the Premier League. However, it was just words, empty words.”
“When the s*** hit the fan, they wanted to jump ship and it was disappointing when we had the team meeting that some of the guys put their hands up.”
“I won’t deny that some of them, you did not want them to go, but they had to for us to put our house in order.”
We have to assume that those players who left after that game at Leyton Orient on 25th July last year, were those who wanted to leave, and they included Oba Martins, Habib Beye, Sebastien Bassong and Damien Duff.
Michael Owen and Mark Viduka had left earlier in the summer, when their contracts had ran out at Newcastle.
Kevin goes on to say why there’s no way he would or could have left Newcastle last summer, and continued:
“I could never have put my hand up, even if I had felt can I really deal with a year in the Championship.” “I would not have had the bravery to stick my hand up after what had happened.”
“I had only been there a few months and I had not been good enough, nowhere near good enough.” “I was not even established in the team at that stage, so how could I sit there and say ‘right, that is me, I’m off?’”
“It was a sad day in some ways, but then you looked around the dressing room and saw the guys who did want to stay, my heart soared.”
“I still believe I have a point to prove in the Premier League, but it is not just me. We have proved a lot of people wrong, pundits, punters and critics, but we will have to prove them wrong again next season.”
“They wrote us off at the start of this season and they are already doing so again, but who cares what they think?”
Kevin Nolan has become the new face of Newcastle, and he along with our other senior players will ensure that any new players that come to Newcastle this summer, will be indoctrinated with the same spirit the players have shown this season at the Newcastle club.
Long may it continue.