In a revealing interview with the Liverpool Echo this week, former NUFC captain Kevin Nolan has admitted just why relegation in 2009 was the best thing that ever happened to him and NUFC.
The 35-year old, who now manages League Two side Notts County, signed for us in January 2009, arriving for £4m from fellow Premier League side Bolton Wanderers.
Little over four months later and Nolan watched a hopeless and heartless Newcastle United suffer relegation in a dismal 1-0 defeat at Villa Park. It was a day that broke the heart of so many NUFC fans, including myself, but according to Nolan, it was a moment that proved hugely significant for himself and the future of the club.
Here’s what Nolan had to say about our relegation in 2009, explaining why it was the ‘best thing that ever happened to the club’ in his revealing interview this week:
“Being relegated was the best thing that ever happened to the club, because it got rid of a few players that didn’t want to be there.
“They were on inflated wages and people who talked the talk in the press but couldn’t walk the walk.
“I feel like that is what we did and that is why they are in the situation they are now because they have realised to be successful you have got to be together.”
A fascinating insight here. As well all know, the squad back then really was full of players here for their final pay packet and prima donnas who did not fight for the shirt at NUFC.
After admitting just how much relegation improved our togetherness, he then spoke about just how the Championship helped revitalise his career on a personal level:
“That’s why we did so well in the Championship (we pulled together) and that kicked me on again because that year in the Championship, I got Championship Player of the Year.
“I felt ‘Right I’m going to prove now that I am a good player at Newcastle.’
“In the Premier League that year, I got 12 goals, I scored a hat-trick (against Sunderland) and I was riding the crest of a wave.”
He wasn’t the most talented, but Nolan cared and knew where the back of the net was too – scoring 30 goals across our crucial 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons.
An insightful interview from a great servant of our football club.