You could argue that our player of the season so far actually hasn’t been a football player.
Instead there is a strong case for suggesting that the superb team spirit between the lads has been one of the outstanding factors behind what has been a good season so far on our return to the top flight of English football. I’ve read comments from people that suggest that team spirit will only get the team so far. Well it’s got us this far, and hopefully it will continue.
There are many factors that can be attributed to starting off this fantastic team spirit. The fallout from relegation and the subsequent players meeting after the 6-1 defeat to Leyton Orient could be one, as could the influence of Chris Hughton and the attitude that he and the players who remained to battle it out in The Championship managed to channel onto the pitch as the club fought back from the brink if mediocrity, and I don’t mean top flight mediocrity, I mean real mediocrity, like Middlesbrough for example!
I think a lot of those factors have combined to be honest and have left us where we are now, but the team has still had to endure it’s fair share of knocks. The sacking of Chris Hughton and the sale of Andy Carroll could have easily jeopardised the team spirit, and some would argue that after the sale of Andy Carroll it looked like we had lost that team spirit with the defeat against Fulham and that first-half against Arsenal.
Fast forward just 45 minutes though and you will see that team spirit has actually remained. It just went missing for about a week. So who could be held responsible for that? Hughton has gone so it wasn’t him. Pardew is relatively new so I doubt it will be all down to him, although I do give him credit for not rocking the boat too much. For me, much of the credit has to go to the players, in particular a player that is criticised by some but usually pops up with an important goal. That man is Kevin Nolan.
Nolan is in no way the Captain Fantastic that Alan Shearer was, but he has been just as important to this current crop of players as Shearer was to their predecessors. He might not be a Hollywood name, and he might not be the best player that we have ever had, but his effect on the other players is something that can’t be ignored.
Kev doesn’t allow people to shirk and he won’t allow heads to drop. Rather than leading by example he leads by leadership. Put simply, he knows how to gear the players up. I don’t think he is solely responsible for it, but I do think that he is a very important part of our team.
If the plan to improve the team is followed then it’s likely that Nolan will be replaced at some point in the future. That is how football works unfortunately. What is important though is that we don’t forget the role that he has played in helping to drag the club back from the brink with his leadership, performances, and most importantly, his goals.
Well done Kev. Keep it up!
Video supplied by Davidtoon4life.
A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.