KEVIN Nolan went through the agony of relegation and the ecstasy of promotion with Newcastle United.
Now captain of tomorrow’s opponents West Ham United, Nolan could unwittingly have a say in Newcastle’s Premier League fate.
Nolan was an influential figure on and off the pitch in Newcastle’s renaissance.
The team spirit which took the club out of the Championship – and to Premier League safety the following season – was forged by Nolan and a clutch of senior professionals.
Nolan’s only regret remains the abrupt nature of his departure in the summer of 2011.
The Liverpudlian was hoping to commit his long-term future to the club, but a new deal couldn’t be agreed, and Sam Allardyce – who managed him at Bolton Wanderers – came calling.
Newcastle’s loss has been West Ham’s gain.
“I’ve got memories of really great times at Newcastle – I loved my time there,” he said.
“The way I left wasn’t great, but I’ve still got respect for everyone up there.
“It’s a great club, and it was good to be part of it.
“I hope they get out of it, but we want to get 45 points. We want to win.
“I can’t wait for it. Going back up to Newcastle was a massive thing for me, and I’m looking forward to this game.”