He was discarded by West Ham and cast into the wilderness but former Irons captain Kevin Nolan has found a new lease of life in east London – as player/manager of Leyton Orient.
After he was released in the summer by the Premier League club, Nolan kept up his training regime at the League Two outfit while pursuing his coaching qualifications. Months later, he runs his first training session Friday (January 22) and his first match in charge on Saturday at Wycombe Wanderers.
The east London club are 11th and dismissed coach Ian Hendon on Monday following a run of four wins in 21 league games. Hendon took over after the Os were relegated from League One last season.
It is speedy return from football exile from the 33-year-old. He was originally brought to West Ham by manager Sam Allardyce – his former boss at both Newcastle and Bolton – and he provided grit and experience to his side. After the departure of Matthew Upson to Stoke the Liverpool-born midfielder was made captain.
He scored 99 goals in 522 career league appearances, making his professional debut in March 2000.
He said he was "nervous" about his first day. "A new job – you always get the butterflies. I always had that as a player moving to a new club. But exciting – hopefully I can settle in quickly especially with the first game being so close."
A statement on the O’s website read : “The club are extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Nolan as the new player-manager on a two-and-a-half year deal.
“A number of strong candidates were interviewed by the chairman, but Kevin’s hunger, desire and passion to succeed at Leyton Orient, coupled with his experience, were key in the decision process and the club believe they have the man to take Leyton Orient forward and improve the club’s position.
“Kevin will take charge of first-team affairs with immediate effect. Everyone at Leyton Orient would like to welcome Kevin to the Matchroom Stadium and look forward to working with him.”