Toon star hails Pardew drive

The former Reading, West Ham, Charlton and Southampton boss took

over in the midst of a storm last December following Chris

Hughton’s untimely departure. Owner Mike Ashley’s decision to

dispense with Hughton’s services just months after he had guided

the club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking

did not go down well either with the fans or the players, and his

replacement faced the delicate task of repairing bridges while at

the same time attempting to steer the Magpies clear of the

relegation battle. But despite the loyalty to Pardew’s predecessor

which remained inside the dressing room, Nolan insists there was

never any danger of a revolt. He told NUFC TV: “Everyone was very

unhappy with the treatment of Chris and how it went down, but the

fact is the owners had a job to do and they thought they could get

someone in who was going to take the club forward. “You have got to

respect those decisions and, as players, all we have got to do is

make sure we are right for the new manager coming in, and that was

the be all and end all of it. “I spoke to Alan – it was very well

documented that he came to see me the day he took the job and he

was introduced to the press and to the fans. “He came to see me at

my house, which I thought was a great move, just to come and see

what the players were about. “I did reassure him then that he was

not going to have any backlash, because there were things in the

papers that players were going to down tools and things. “We had

worked too hard to get where we were at that point and we weren’t

going to let a press report or things like that get in our way.

“The drive and desire the Gaffer has for wanting to take this club

forward matches what we have got in the dressing room, so we are

just hoping now that he gets the resources to make sure he can

better us and keep moving us on year by year.” Pardew is currently

attempting to strengthen his squad ahead of the new season while

also hoping to tie up some of his key players on new deals.

Tyneside was hit by a bombshell last week when it was revealed that

midfielder Joey Barton will not be offered a contract extension,

while Jose Enrique’s future remains unclear. Nolan still has two

years of his existing deal to run and while talks over an extended

stay at St James’ Park are ongoing, no agreement has yet been

reached. However, he admits he is happy in the north-east and is

honoured to captain the club. He said: “My wife has been here for

18 months now and my kids – my little boy is a Geordie, he was born

up here, so we have settled into life up here really well and

hopefully I have a good few more years left here. “It’s

unbelievable. When I think back now, I never thought two years ago

that I would be where I am now, and that’s the most satisfying

thing. “I have been able to get where I want just through hard work

and dedication, and hopefully in the next couple of years, you are

going to see the best of me again, and more of it. “But to be

captain of this club, it really feels a great honour. It’s

fantastic and I am absolutely delighted. “When my daughter walks

round telling everyone I am captain of Newcastle, that’s when you

realise it affects a lot of people. “Genuinely from the bottom of

my heart, I love doing the captaincy bit and I love playing for

this club.”