I don’t think that it comes as a shock to any West Ham fan that Kevin Nolan retains his place in the starting eleven week after week. Not because of his blistering form or ability which we would crumble without; but his relationship with Big Sam. Many of us would not be surprised to learn that the pair are related. The sad truth is in fact that our manager, who has gained such a strong and credible reputation in the game, is of the belief that Nolan is crucial to our success.
With some players, I believe that they are unfairly criticised. Take James Milner for example. Many people view Milner as a waste of space who offers absolutely nothing to his team. He is in fact one of the hardest working players in England who can drag even the least talented of sides to a decent result. I try to convince myself almost every day that this must be what Sam sees in our captain. He must do things which not everybody sees. Then I give up and realise that I am completely kidding myself. He offers nothing. His stamina is atrocious, he cannot pass the ball, he’s not skilful, he’s slow, he’s not the best at heading and his goalscoring record over the past few seasons has not been worthy of a continued spot in the team. With his fantastic, almost telepathic, relationship with our record signing Andy Carroll, I can bring myself to not criticise his selection too much. The only problem is that he hasn’t played once this season but that hasn’t stopped Sam picking him. The most he offers is standing in front of the opposing goalkeeper from corners. For Nolan to play well he needs a big centre-forward with outstanding aerial ability to feed off of, something which Modibo Maiga, Mladen Petric and the 4-6-0 formation do not offer. So why on Earth does Sam pick him when he would be much better off in playing Ravel in his position or even Joe Cole?
Yes he is a very good leader, but let him lead in the dressing room or on the training pitch. Let him be club captain. We already have 3 international captains in Winston, Roland and Momo who could easily have just as much of an impact as Nolan.
He is one of our weakest players and it infuriates me that Sam cannot see what us fans see!