West Ham’s Nolan the diplomat steals hearts and then the points

11:00 13 November 2012

Kevin Nolan of West Ham applauds the Newcastle fans prior to kick-off. Photo credit: Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO

Kevin Nolan of West Ham applauds the Newcastle fans prior to kick-off. Photo credit: Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO

Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Hammers skipper Kevin Nolan was heralded by West Ham and Newcastle fans alike on Sunday

There are some players who return to their old clubs to a crescendo of boos and hatred – Frank Lampard, Jermain Defoe and Nigel Reo-Coker spring to mind. But there are others who return like long lost sons.

On Sunday at St James’ Park we saw both sides of the coin. Kevin Nolan was heralded, Andy Carroll was castigated, yet it was both of them who combined to help steal the points back to London.

Nolan is fast becoming the man of the moment in the Premier League. Not gifted with great speed or skill, he nevertheless leads by example, rallies his troops and then comes up with the goals that win football matches.

He is also something of a diplomat. He left Newcastle for West Ham in a £3 million deal in the summer of 2011, but in the week leading up to his return to the north east, he made sure just how much the Toon army meant to him.

And after scoring the only goal on Sunday, he was quick to do the same afterwards.

“It was a bit emotional when I first walked in,” he said. “I can’t thank the fans enough for the reception that they gave me, it was absolutely unbelievable.

“I had a fantastic time here. I love the place and I loved everything about this club when I was here. I’ve got fond memories, great friends and family here – my boy is a Geordie!”

Nolan’s fifth goal of the Premier League campaign was a typical one from him.

Mark Noble’s cross was cleared as far as Joey O’Brien and when he scuffed his shot it was Nolan, waiting on the shoulder of the last man, who reacted superbly to score from close range.

“Overall it was a fantastic performance from us,” he said. “I was delighted to get the goal and I was delighted with how the day went. I would like to thank the Newcastle fans for the fantastic reception they gave me today.

“But I couldn’t have asked to go to a better club than West Ham for the following they have got and for the commitment they show.”

For a moment when the goal went in, you sensed Nolan preparing to do his trademark chicken dance celebration, but he checked, stopped dead and simply waited for his team-mates to engulf him.

It was another triumph for his diplomatic skills.

“I did say I would never celebrate against them because of the support I received when I was here and if I was to move on from West Ham I would never celebrate against them.”

Listening to him talk, an infectious, cheeky smile on his face, you could see how he might inspire his team-mates to better things and he certainly mustered the troops on Sunday when Newcastle were throwing the kitchen sink at the defence.

“It was backs to the wall at times, but you have got to expect that against Newcastle,” he said. “They are a fantastic side, but they had some fantastic players out and we knew that we had to capitalise on that.

“I think we did that, so credit to the lads. There is so much determination in that dressing room and I am delighted to lead them.”

They are no doubt, delighted to have him and the Newcastle fans who praised his so highly, must be wondering how they let him slip away.


Live Blog Transfer Window Live July 28

 

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest West Ham news

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Jack Wilshere of Arsenal takes on Nathaniel Clyne but should either be in your fantasy team?  (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Having problems making that £100m Fantasy Premier League kitty stretch? Finding yourself stuck with Diego Poyet instead of Diego Costa? Then read the first of our fantasy football season previews.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Kanu and Thierry Henry both made transfer moves during this week in years gone by but how many of these deals do you remember? (Photo By Ben Radford/Getty Images)

Arsene Wenger made one of the best signings in his managerial career, two Dutch internationals arrived for lengthy Premier League stays and Tottenham splashed £15m on a Blackburn winger during this week in years gone by.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Enner Valencia of West Ham (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

West Ham striker Enner Valencia suffered an apparently “significant” injury to his right knee and right ankle in the Europa League clash with Astra Giurgiu, the club have announced.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Clinton N'Jie of Lyon (Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images)

All the latest news and transfer rumours from our London clubs as we enter the final month of the window.

Saturday, August 1, 2015
Alvaro Negredo of Valencia   (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Valencia striker Alvaro Negredo has admitted he hopes to stay in Spain this summer but knows ‘anything can happen in football.’

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more