Kevin Nolan had the bub­bly out af­ter be­ing named Ori­ent player-man­ager

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Thomas O’Leary

KEVIN Nolan got lost en route to his un­veil­ing as Ley­ton Ori­ent man­ager on Fri­day, ar­riv­ing at Bris­bane Road more than an hour late.

And even though his pre­de­ces­sors have barely lasted five min­utes in the job since Ital­ian bil­lion­aire Francesco Bec­chetti bought the club, Nolan is con­fi­dent swat­ting up on his east Lon­don ge­og­ra­phy won’t be a waste of time.

The for­mer West Ham cap­tain be­comes the sixth man to take charge of Ori­ent since Bec­chetti’s ar­rival in 2014 with re­cently sacked Ian Hen­don’s seven-month ten­ure the long­est any­one has been granted to at­tempt to make their mark.

But that does not faze player-man­ager Nolan.

“I did not re­ally look at what hap­pened with pre­vi­ous man­agers of this club be­fore sign­ing,” said the 33-year-old, an hour and a quar­ter af­ter his first meet­ing with the me­dia was sched­uled to be­gin.

“When I joined West Ham, I got slated be­cause I’d just left New­cas­tle where I’d been top scorer and had gone down to West Ham, who’d just got rel­e­gated.

“If there’s one thing I like, it’s a chal­lenge so when I heard that stat that I was the sixth man­ager, I thought it’d be a chal­lenge for me.

“I know ev­ery­one thinks I’ll only be here for seven months but come the end of my two-and-a-half year con­tract, ev­ery­one will be ask­ing me how long my next con­tract will be.”


Though it’s early days for Nolan the man­ager, he is al­ready cer­tain he will be wear­ing a track­suit rather than a suit in the dugout.

And, should the goals flow, there will be no chicken dance cel­e­bra­tion on the side­lines. He does not want to be the sideshow.

But it’s al­ready clear Nolan is cer­tainly not lack­ing in con­fi­dence and backs him­self to be the man to guide the O’s out of League Two.

“I’m hop­ing to be as suc­cess­ful as Jose Mour­inho or Sir Alex Fer­gu­son,” he laughed.

“But the se­ri­ous aim is that at the end of my two-and-a-half years that Ley­ton Ori­ent won’t be a League Two club.

“I don’t want to be play­ing in this league for a num­ber of years. With the per­son­nel and the qual­ity we have in the squad, we’re good enough to mix it in League One.

“We have got some very tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als and with my­self com­ing in as a player from the Premier League, that’ll give us pres­sure but I thrive on pres­sure.

“Hope­fully by the end of sea­son, it’ll come up trumps and we’ll all be cel­e­brat­ing.

“If over the next four months we don’t quite make it, next year will be the one where we’ll be want­ing to get into League One.

“Then we’ll be push­ing to get into the Cham­pi­onship as soon as pos­si­ble, but first and fore­most I’m not look­ing be­yond May. “I’ve got a job to do and I firmly be­lieve that I will get

this club out of the league. That’s what Francesco wants, that’s what he pays me for.”

Nolan is the youngest boss in the Foot­ball League, two months the ju­nior of Wi­gan Ath­letic’s Gary Cald­well.

And he ad­mits he has be­come a man­ager quicker than he ever ex­pected.

“I’ve al­ways thought about get­ting into man­age­ment, but I never thought it would be this early,” he said.

“I al­ways had the in­ten­tion of stay­ing in foot­ball as a player as long as I could af­ter I left West Ham.

“I’ve spo­ken to a lot of peo­ple who’ve re­tired and they told me to keep play­ing for as long as I can.

“I’m hop­ing that in two-and-a-half years, I can ex­tend my con­tract both as a player and a man­ager.”

Al­though the mid­fielder trained with Ori­ent af­ter leav­ing West Ham in Au­gust, he did not sign a con­tract to play and con­fesses not hav­ing a club had taken a toll on him and his fam­ily.


“When I knew I was com­ing to the club, I got the best bit of sleep I’ve had for a while,” he re­vealed.

“Do­ing the train­ing ses­sion on Thurs­day was strange but I thought it all went along well, so I was re­ally pleased to get home af­ter the an­nounce­ment.

“I got home to my wife and my kids and there they were stand­ing there with cham­pagne glasses, my kids had or­ange juice in them, shout­ing con­grat­u­la­tions.

“It’s had a mas­sive ef­fect on them which is nice, be­cause I think they want to start com­ing and watch­ing foot­ball again and Ley­ton Ori­ent is a fan­tas­tic place to go to.”

PICS: Ac­tion Im­ages

IN-FORM: John Akinde HEY­DAY: Kevin Nolan play­ing in the Premier League for West Ham and, in­set, at the Ley­ton Ori­ent press con­fer­ence

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