Kevin Nolan: 'I Couldn't Believe They Wanted to Sell Me'

  • June 29, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Kevin Nolan always expected to spend his entire career at Bolton, only to feel pushed out of the club after they accepted an offer from Newcastle United.

Nolan joined Wanderers as a teenager and went on to make 345 appearances at senior level between 2000 and 2009, scoring 50 goals, before moving to St James' Park in a £4million transfer.

Now aged 38 and holding down the position of first-team coach at West Ham United, Nolan reflected on his departure from the Reebok Stadium with the club's official podcast - Here We Go Again - and admitting he felt there was little option but to leave.

"I couldn't believe they wanted to sell me," Nolan said.

"That was the biggest thing and that's why I went. The biggest disappointment was that they'd accepted the bid.

"I was never going to just kick my heels and say I was staying.

"I was disappointed in Gary (Megson) and Chris Evans, who was his assistant at the time, because they didn't ring me. They just left it for my agent.

"We'd played at Blackburn the night before and my agent came in to tell me he'd had a conversation with the management staff, so I said I needed to go.

"He found me Newcastle and the rest is history. Once he said they'd accepted the bid, I said 'let's do it'.

"I didn't even ring my Mum, my Dad or my Mrs. It was just, 'yep, we're doing it'.

"Once the manager of a club says they're happy for you to go, I don't think there's much more you can do. As much as I loved being there and love Bolton Wanderers.

"I always thought I'd be there for my career. I'd had opportunities - Spurs had put a bid in and people had enquired - but as soon as somebody says 'yes', you're going. I don't care who you are.

"If you dig your heels in and stay, it could become toxic and I didn't want to do that.

"My only regret was I wasn't able to go and say goodbye to the fans, which was disappointing."

Newcastle were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2008/09 campaign and despite speculation linking Nolan with a return to Bolton, a move failed to materialise.

"I know Gary came in for me when we'd been relegated at Newcastle," Nolan continued.

"Gary had asked if I could come back on loan because he'd made a mistake in letting me go.

"I've spoken to him since, after it all calmed down, and he said, 'I shouldn't have let you go'.

"That was big enough and that's why I respect Gary Megson. I always respected him - I like him as a man and a person.

"He sticks by his guns and if he thinks he's got it wrong, he'll hold his hands up so fair play to him.

"He wanted me to go back but I think I had unfinished business at Newcastle and I wanted to prove I could do it at another club."

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


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