It’s still early days, but new Leyton Orient player-manager says he is happy to have made a positive impact on the club.
It wasn’t that long ago that disenchanted O’s fans were singing ‘We’re f***ing bored’ as their team struggled to put a decent run of results together in League Two.
That discontent in the stands has now been replaced by chants of ‘Stand up for the Orient’ and ‘Kevin Nolan’s red and white army’ at Brisbane Road.
Nolan has restored the team to winning ways, and at a recent fans forum he revealed that the offer to become player-boss was too good to turn down.
“The initial offer of just being a player just didn’t feel right, I didn’t get that tingle in my stomach like I did with the player-manager offer,” he said.
The 33-year-old former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle and West Ham midfielder told supporters he’s aiming to do things his way as he seeks to restore Orient’s fortunes following their relegation from League One last season.
The Liverpudlian who has played for the likes of Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew, said: “I have learned a lot from playing under some great managers, especially big Sam.
“Becoming player-manager at this fantastic football club is exciting and I’ve got that buzz back”
“But I won’t be copying his tactics – I’ll take the good bits but I want to be my own person. I will, though, take a saying from him, which is: ‘If we don’t win, make sure we don’t f***ing lose’.”
Nolan has played in the top flight of English football throughout his career and admitted dropping from down Premier League to the League Two was not easy.
However, he reiterated that the prospect of becoming a manager as his playing career enters its final phase was an exciting one.
“It was a tough one to come to terms with,” he told the forum. “I had a couple of offers from teams at a higher level and abroad but it wasn’t for me.
“I live round the corner, I wanted to feel the buzz and make sure my next move was right for me and the family. Becoming player-manager at this fantastic football club is exciting and I’ve got that buzz back.”
Orient fan and blogger Elliot Byrne said afterwards that the vibe among Leyton’s long-suffering supporters is currently positive.
“I don’t want to be a Jonah or anything, but since Kevin Nolan was appointed in January, I have been nothing but impressed with him. He looks the real deal.”
However, Elliot admitted glowing reports were also issued by the fans about previous manager Ian Hendon in the early days of his tenure.
“We were saying similar things when Ian Hendon won his first five games in charge. But the one thing I have been really impressed with in Nolan’s first eight games is that on the couple occasions that we have been beaten comprehensively, against Cambridge and Northampton, we have always responded.”
“With Nolan nominated as League Two manager of the month in his few first weeks in charge, talk of promotion is in the air again”
Nolan’s appointment and decent early run of results isn’t the only positive coming out of the club at present.
With key members of the squad set to return after long-term injuries, club owner/president Francesco Bechetti has had extradition proceedings relating to criminal charges in Albania put on hold. The Italian continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Nobody is counting their chickens just yet, but with Nolan being nominated for the League Two manager of the month award in his few first weeks in charge and Leyton just outside the play-off places, talk of promotion is in the air again in London’s East End.
Image courtesy of Leyton Orient