clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Opinion: Should Bolton Wanderers Re-Sign Kevin Nolan?

Chris ponders an oft-mooted return to the Reebok for our former star

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Now before I start, let me establish that this piece is based on absolutely NO real-life links between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United captain Kevin Nolan.

However, what it is based upon is recent newspaper reports that the former Wanderer and current Hammers captain is on his way out of East London, with speculation rife as to where he'll end up.

It's now six years since he last pulled on a Bolton shirt. His final appearance came in an away game against Blackburn Rovers where, if popular rumour be believed, he decided to smack team-mate Jloyd Samuel square in the jaw for some perceived slight. He was then shipped off to Newcastle United for a fee of £4m, which most sensible Bolton fans saw as an absolute miracle for a player who had been on the decline for two seasons.

That is not to say that at his peak Nolan wasn't one of the most influential midfielders in the last ten years.

After making his debut in 1999, the one-time Liverpool academy graduate became a more permanent fixture in the side by the start of the 2000/1 season which saw him score once in 31 games as he helped the side win promotion under Sam Allardyce. His influence grew as the side reached the Premier League, peaking with a return of nine goals in 37 games in the 2003/4 season amid calls for international recognition with either England or the Republic of Ireland.

Nolan's game was based on being in the right place at the right time, usually to poke the ball home at an opportune moment. Never one for running much, nor for intricate passing, nor for tough tackling, Nolan was a goalscoring midfielder, and a damned good one at that.

I confess to never being a huge fan of Nolan. I saw him as a one-paced, one-trick pony. Obviously scoring goals as he has isn't a bad trick, but I looked at a lad who often seemed out of shape and unwilling to do the dirty work that the likes of Kevin Davies and Gary Speed did without pausing for breath.

But that's by the by.

We're talking about a player who holds the record for Premier League games without an international cap.

His move to Newcastle United saw him spend a season in the Championship, but a return of 30 goals in 91 appearances for the Magpies re-established Nolan as a player of some note, coming on the heels of a couple of years of underachievement which pre-empted the end of his days as a Wanderer.

Criticism of his lethargic style of play became louder in the North East as time went on. Fans became exasperated with someone whom they saw as 'lazy', despite his excellent goal return. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

A move to West Ham came about when his old mucker Sam Allardyce took over at the 1966 World Cup Winners in 2011 when a fee of £4m and a reported £60,000 per week saw him again drop to the Championship for a season. Upon his return to the Premier League with the Hammers a year later he knocked in 10 league goals in 35 appearances and proved Allardyce's investment to be wise.

Now we're in 2015, and Nolan is again being called 'lazy' by his own supporters. Just one goal in 26 league games has prompted word of a mutually-agreed departure, should a suitable club be found.

Could that club be Bolton Wanderers? Well why not?

We know that he's played and thrived in this league before - and we know that he holds the club in high esteem - having kept on his personal executive box for many years following his departure in 2009. He has the goal record of a seasoned striker, never mind a midfielder - and aren't we forever struggling for goals?

That said, he was never the fittest player, and never the most willing of runners. Would that sort of approach to the game be welcomed by Neil Lennon? It is thought that the Bolton boss prefers his players to have a box-to-box mindset much like that of Darren Pratley - there's no way on EARTH that Nolan could play that sort of game.

He would undoubtedly be a luxury, but I think we could reasonably expect that he'd be a success.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below the line. Should Bolton re-sign Kevin Nolan?