West Ham skipper plays down his effect on team spirit in run-up to play-off final

09:30 16 May 2012

Kevin Nolan, West Ham United

Kevin Nolan, West Ham United

EMPICS Sport

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan has had a positve effect on the Hammers squad this season, but he insists that too much is made of it

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan insists too much is made of his effect on team spirit, despite helping to turn the Hammers from a beleaguered, relegated shambles last season into a team that could book their place back in the Premier League on Saturday.

Only Blackpool stand between them and an immediate return to the big time, but Nolan is playing down his role in things off the field.

“People give me a lot more credit than I probably deserve in that respect,” said the 29-year-old midfielder, who has scored 13 goals in claret and blue this term.

“I am confident in what I do and in my ability and a lot of people don’t like that and some people do and it is up to them to go one way or the other.

“When people know me, they trust me and they know that they can talk to me and I will always give them 110 per cent and I think that helps with the lads here.

“They are all genuine and honest kids here and I think we have got a good foundation.”

Some thought it was a gamble when Nolan opted to leave Newcastle to come south and join up with manager Sam Allardyce for a third time, but the player certainly does not see it that way.

“I didn’t think it was a gamble, I was absolutely delighted with the move,” he said.

“Once I knew West Ham wanted me to come here and play, for me it was a no-brainer.

“I had been through a few little problems at Newcastle regarding my contract situation, so when West Ham were willing to show their faith in me and give me the terms I could agree on, I was delighted to come down and get full throttle into it.”

The former Bolton man admitted that it was difficult to get used to his new surroundings at first and that certainly affected his early season form.

“Being a northern lad it was quite tough when I first came down, being on my own without my wife and kids and not having the base of what I have always had with my Mum and Dad and my brother close by.

“I think I have adjusted quite well and I have got stronger as it has gone along and I am hoping to finish it off in style by getting back to the Premier League.”

He may not be keen to take the credit for the transformation at West Ham, but just how low was morale when he arrived?

“Going back to this time last year, it was quite surprising coming through the door because there are a lot of great lads here,” he said.

“You can see now the place is bubbly, it’s buzzing. Everyone wants to do it on Saturday because we get on really well with each other.”

A far cry from the despondency in the West Ham captain after relegation and the sacking of Avram Grant as manager.

“There is a low point when you get relegated and I did it with Newcastle,” he said.

“There are always people who have to leave and once they are gone, you have to restructure the club and that is what we have tried to do here.

“We have tried to get a morale going around the place which is going to help in the future and start building something which is not going to be just getting back into the Premier League and surviving.

“It is about getting back up and then slowly, but surely, getting this club back up amongst the top 10 and then top eight and try and achieve what we did with Bolton.”

The first step on that road comes at Wembley on Saturday, and with players like Nolan on their side, West Ham will certainly have the inspiration to succeed.

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

Submit your West Ham player ratings

Latest West Ham news

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Morgan Amalfitano of West Ham United (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Hammers star Morgan Amalfitano is loving life in London and at West Ham

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Pedro   (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

The latest transfer gossip from around the web.

Monday, March 30, 2015
Cheikhou Kouyate, West Ham United.

Cheikhou Kouyate says the success of El-Hadji Diouf, Patrick Vieira and Didier Drogba convinced him that he could play in the Premier League.

Monday, March 30, 2015
Rafael van der Vaart of Netherlands   (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images,)

Besiktas have denied reports that they have offered a contract to Rafael Van der Vaart.

Monday, March 30, 2015
Diafra Sakho of West Ham  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

West Ham’s Diafra Sakho has said that he wishes to remain a West Ham player next season in order to play in the Olympic Stadium.

What is this?

Near You Now

Competitions

Munch on a tasy three course dinner at The Refinery!

“Where to go for a drink near Great Portland Street?” was previously met with blank expressions and shrugs for those local to the area, not anymore, thanks to the opening of The Refinery at Regent’s Place, the eighth bar and restaurant from hugely-successful group Drake & Morgan.

Read more

Don't Miss...

West Ham Transfer News

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez in action for Real Madrid (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Reported Tottenham and West Ham transfer target Javier Hernandez has voiced his disappointment over a lack of playing time at Real Madrid.

Read more
West Ham's Alex Song in action against Crystal Palace (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Read our round-up of the latest transfer news and gossip on the London clubs from around the web.

Read more
Rafael van der Vaart of Netherlands   (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images,)

Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart will be available on a free transfer this summer when he is released by the German club.

Read more