Back from my holidays to the news that skipper Kevin Nolan is leaving West Ham by mutual consent. Clearly Slaven Bilic has seen enough to know that Nolan is no longer a force at Premier League level and in truth he didn't look up to it last season and was seemingly picked out of sentiment.
But let's remember that Nolan has always come across as a decent human being and could have chosen to sit out this season in the reserves on a massive salary, so credit him with wanting to play and being willing to take a pay-cut to do so. At 33 he could still do a decent job for a Championship side.
Overall, Nobby Nolan did an effective job in his four seasons at the Hammers. Never the most mobile or speedy midfielder, he was signed by Sam Allardyce for his leadership qualities and goalscoring abilities. It's significant that the spirit of the side improved markedly after he signed and he was brilliant at the dark arts of influencing referees and appealing for penalties.
Nolan's goals also contributed to the club's promotion and it's often forgotten that he could have been the hero of the Play-Off Final against Blackpool, having hit the bar with a great effort before playing a part in Vaz Te's winner.
When he was scoring he was worth a place in the side, but the decline in his stats tells the story of a player coming to the end of his career. He scored 13 goals in WHU's Championship season, ten PL goals in season 2012-13, seven in 2013-14 and only one goal last season. He always tried his hardest for the club though and it wasn't his fault if he was picked when past his best last season. Good luck at your new club, Kevin.
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