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.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood hasn’t been impressed by Judy Murray’s dancing so far.

Read more

It’s back to university life and back to preppy basics fashion-wise.

Read more

Slough Station was closed for nearly six hours while police and forensic officers were at the scene.

Read more

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

TOP STORIES

Quizzes

Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio features in London24's Hammers history quiz. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Test your knowledge of West Ham’s history with this fun quiz from London24.

Read more
Guess the managers quiz

The managerial merry-go-round spins quickly these days so do you think you’ve got the knowledge to recognise the faces of all these football bosses?

Read more
Croatia's Daniel Prajnic, France's Paul Pogba and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo... three hair-raising World Cup stars (Picture: Archant/Getty)

The World Cup is a showcase of fantastic football... and terrible hairstyles. Try this quiz and test your knowledge of the wackiest barnets in Brazil.

Read more

West Ham Transfer News

West Ham's Diego Poyet (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has admitted that he is looking to send some fringe players out on loan this month.

Read more
Micah Richards.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has denied that Manchester City’s Micah Richards turned down a move to Upton Park on transfer deadline day.

Read more
West Ham's Mo Diame (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce insists Mo Diame only has himself to blame for failing to hold on to his place in West Ham’s central midfield before his transfer deadline day switch to Hull City.

Read more
Ludovic Obraniak in action for Poland (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Werder Bremen midfielder Ludovic Obraniak has claimed West Ham and Sunderland were interested in signing him during the summer.

Read more
Adrian of West Ham  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian admits he was saddened by the departure of his “best friend” Mo Diame to Hull City.

Read more