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What Kevin Nolan Leaving Newcastle United Will Mean For The Toon

So Kevin Nolan is on his way from Newcastle United to Upton Park. Surprisingly, the Newcastle skipper rejected a new contract at St James’ Park in favour of a move down a division to the Hammers.

At first glance, this is not good news for Newcastle. A solid first season back in the top flight has been largely based around the play of Kevin Nolan, never more evident than in the dismantling of Sunderland in October where he grabbed a hat-trick. And, generally speaking, losing your captain and talisman just months after losing your young star is not ideal. However, there is certainly a case to be made that this could be a great move for the club.

Look at it this way. Nolan is getting on a bit now. He may still have a few years but he is never going to get any better than he has been this season. His departure frees up space for a young driving force in the heart of midfield and, possibly more importantly, it shows the rest of the league that Newcastle are not the sentimental club they have become over the last few decades.

Throughout my life, Newcastle have been popular but never successful. People seem to want them to do well but they always fall short. For instance the infamous capitulation of Kevin Keegan’s side at the hands of Manchester United. They have come to be associated with sentimentalism, never a good thing in the ruthless world of modern football. The unexpected development in this story will go some way to shedding that image. This is now a club that will not pay over the odds now for someone based on what they have already done. Some fans may not like it but it is the way to progress the club.

If Alan Pardew can use this as an opportunity to bring in good young talent, or even bring through some of the academy players at the club, then this could be the moment where Newcastle United begin to move to the next level. They finished 11th in the league last year and with a chairman who does have money, then the possibility to establish themselves as a top 10 club is there. But the competition is stronger than ever. The replacement has to be good.

There is talent in the squad. Cheik Tiote showed that he has the ability to play a pivotal role if he can stay fit and reach a level of consistency. The transfer rumours are also positive. Seb Larsson and Charles N’Zogbia have both been mentioned, and this kind of attacking player is what the fans will want to see brought in. Much rests on the weeks ahead — before the season starts.

In the end, as with 99% of transfers, the proof will only be seen as the season progresses. If things start poorly at St James’ then the fans may become frustrated at the lack of a strong leader. If Nolan’s replacement scores 10 goals by Christmas then Nolan will soon become a memory of a forgotten era.

What do you think? Is this move a real problem for Newcastle, or could it prove to be a significant, positive moment in the club’s recent history.

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  1. stunna

    June 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

    I don’t have any issues with letting Nolan go. He was a leader and had a good nose for the goal, but he’s slowing down. If he had agreed to a new five-year deal (he wanted) or even a three-year deal (NUFC offered), I’m afraid towards the end of the deal he’d be about as valuable as Smudge was the past couple seasons. I’m not sure Nolan would have gotten much playing time this season with Cabaye, Gosling & Ben Arfa in the mix.

    Newcastle essentially swapped a 29-year-old central mid for a 25-year-old French international. There’s obviously some risk considering Cabaye hasn’t proven himself in the EPL & we’ve lost a captain, but I’m all for getting younger.

    I won’t feel the same way if we unload Barton, but I actually think getting rid of Nolan improves Barton’s chance of staying. We need an experienced, vocal leader in the midfield.

  2. DaveD1000

    June 16, 2011 at 5:53 am

    You have it right. KN did a job for us and will always be remembered for his goals againt Slumberland. He has moved on for money and security, nothing emotional in it. As Joey tweeted…The king is dead….Long live the king.

  3. Glenn United

    June 16, 2011 at 5:50 am

    So agree with Rob…we now need to find a great goal scorer because Ameobi doesn’t fit the bill (we should sell him too!!) Get in Ba but we need another one or two!!!!!!
    Nolan will be missed he was a great leader, like rob said He was in the right place at the right time, wasn’t setting the pitch on fire, but was great and a hero for alot of other reasons!!
    Who will step up to the plate now? Would have rather kept Nolan!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ashley better spend and spend all of Carroll money and some!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Phuttz

    June 16, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Nolan may not be the most gifted player out there, but he brings leadership and respect on and off the pitch. With him gone, and Barton to follow suit, who is left to lead the Toon?

  5. Rob McCluskey

    June 16, 2011 at 5:38 am

    It depends on how good Cabaye is really. Although it also means we’re in desperate need of a good goal scorer now. Demba Ba is coming but we need someone else too.

    I’m just a bit distraught that a club hero has left. Kevin Nolan wasn’t exactly a great footballer, but he had the important attribute of being in the right place at the right time and got plenty goals. That is something hard to find these days. Much like Chris Hughton though, he left on a high note, so he’ll now forever be known as a Newcastle club legend.

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