Why Nolan is not the man Notts County need

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Nolan appointed Magpies boss

Kevin Nolan has gone straight from a Premier League playing career into League Two management. His last game for West Ham came in August 2015, five months before he took the reigns at Leyton Orient, with no coaching roles in between.

To do so, he may have assumed two things: firstly, that the leadership qualities he showed as captain of Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham would have been transferrable to management. Secondly, that managing in the fourth tier would be easier than in the top flight.

He was wrong on both counts. This blog watched his first game as player-manager of Orient and it was noticeable that he treated players in a similarly informal way to how he would have treated his teammates as a player. This approach briefly boosted morale and aided a positive start, but the lack of discipline soon hindered the team.

He has now taken charge of Notts County, a side in an even worse position than Orient were. They have shipped 131 League Two goals since the start of last season and are in desperate need of an experienced head, capable of providing discipline and organization.

The advantage County’s relegation rivals have is a well-trained manager. The fitness of Graham Westley’s sides often pays off in the second half of the season. Gary Johnson and John Coleman have been proven to thrive in adversity in the past. Even Daniel Webb and Andy Edwards at Nolan’s old employers have a lot more coaching experience and are well-respected figures in E10. Even if they have not managed before, they have had the necessary preparation.

Notts County are one of the bigger clubs in League Two and yet, there is a concerning lack of direction at Meadow Lane. In appointing Nolan, they are putting themselves in grave danger of relegation.

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