24th July – Martin Keown

Martin Keown might be known more as a commentator to younger football fans but he was an imposing centre back that was very solid and dependable.

The defender now works for the BBC and has commentated on some of the biggest games in world football and the main reason for this is because he has played in huge games throughout his playing career.

Keown started his career at Arsenal, but made his first team debut on loan at Brighton in 1984 and played 23 times for the club. After returning to his parent club he made his Arsenal debut on the 23rd November 1985 against West Brom. He would go on to play 22 games through the season but when new manager George Graham came in he was not seen as part of the future and left for Aston Villa on the 9th June 1986.

Keown AV

His first season was a little bit of a disaster as Villa finished bottom of Division One and were relegated but when Graham Taylor came in as manager there was an upturn in form for both club and player. Keown missed just two league games as they gained promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt and then helped them stay in the top flight in the following campaign.

On the 7th August 1989, the centre back signed for Everton and after an incredible start which saw Everton top of the table they faded in the second half of the season and Keown’s form dipped slightly. He recaptured his great form during the 1991-92 season and after 96 league games for the club he returned to first club Arsenal.

Keown Everton

In his first four seasons back at Arsenal he barely missed a game and was part of the double winning side of the 1997-98 campaign and would also be an integral part of the 2001-02 double winning side. He remained a key player until the end of the 2002-03 season, lifting the FA Cup at the end of it.

The following season Keown played a small role in the Invincible season, playing 10 games, just enough to earn a third Premier League winners medal. But this would be his final season as he was released at the end of his contract and he signed for Leicester City. He only stayed at the club for less than six months, playing 17 league games before joining Reading.

Keown Arsenal

His time at Reading was even shorter and after five games he announced his retirement. He did briefly come back to play for Wembley FC with a number of other ex professionals but this only lasted three FA Cup qualifying games.

Keown won 43 England caps and scored twice for his country before retiring in 2002.

The final word can go to former Leicester City manager Micky Adams. “In Martin Keown we’ve signed a born leader, not just on the field but off the field as well. I believe we’re two people who can learn things from each other.”

6th March – Garry Monk

Garry Monk will go down as a Swansea City legend for what he did as a player but he is also doing a fantastic job as their manager and leading them to another top half finish.

When Monk first joined the club he wouldn’t have believed that they would be in the Premier League never mind being one of the best footballing sides in the top flight. Many people were surprised when the 36 year old was given the job because he didn’t have any experience and they felt that under Monk they would be battling relegation. However, he knows everything about the club and the way they want to play.

The former central defender started his career at Torquay United and was very highly rated, making five appearances for the club before he had even turned professional. This meant other clubs were looking at him and he signed for Southampton at the end of the 1995-96 season. In 1998 he would return to Torquay on loan and once again impressed so on his return he found himself in the Southampton first team and made his debut on the 28th November 1998 against Derby County. He would go on to play a further four games over the season.

Monk Soton

In September 1999 he went out on loan to Stockport County but was recalled because of an injury crisis at his parent club and he played the first two matches in January 2000 for Southampton. A year later he went out on loan to Oxford United but once again he was recalled because of injuries and would go on to play the last two home games at The Dell against Manchester United and Arsenal which were both won by Southampton.

Monk struggled once more to become a first team regular so was sent out on loan again. This time it looked as though it would be turned into a permanent move but after playing 15 times for Sheffield Wednesday and not helping them avoid relegation to Division Two, the move didn’t materialise. He did eventually leave the club permanently and joined Barnsley in February 2004. However he only lasted half a season and left for Swansea City in June.

Monk SWFC

It was a great start for him at Swansea as he helped them get promoted from League Two in his first season and then reach the League One Playoffs in his second season. In August 2006 it was announced that he would be the club captain. Unfortunately after just two games in the 2006-07 season he picked up a cruciate ligament injury and was ruled out for the rest of the campaign. Monk returned to the team and captained the club to promotion.

In their first season back they were excellent and finished 8th place but the 2009-10 season was not the best for Monk as he struggled with injuries and only played 22 times. Also during this period Monk and the manager Paulo Sousa did not see eye to eye and after the Portuguese man left the club Monk was back in the starting 11. He would then lead the Swans to the Premier League after defeating Reading in the Playoff final and he was given a new three year contract by the club.

Monk SC

Over the next two seasons he began to play less but was still able to lift his first major trophy after Swansea won the League Cup in 2013 after defeating Bradford City 5-0 in the final. Just under a year later he would be given the manager’s job and currently has a 38% win percentage as manager.

The final word can go to someone that didn’t get on well with Monk but knew his quality, Paulo Sousa. “Garry is one of the players we think is very important to our project for his experience, quality and leadership. He is an important figure in the dressing room and on the pitch. He knows the club’s philosophy.”

5th March – Matty Fryatt

Nottingham Forest are definitely outsiders to reach the playoffs this season and with Britt Assombalonga out injured they will be relying on Matty Fryatt to score the goals.

Fryatt is now 29 and has been a consistent goalscorer for a number of years and he has proven that when he’s given the chance he can find the back of the net. When he has started games in his career he has always been one of the most awake on the pitch and he has proven this by scoring Leicester City and Walsall’s quickest ever goals both after just nine seconds, surprisingly though in both games his side would go on to lose the games 2-1.

The striker started his career at Walsall and made his debut in the League Cup against Bolton Wanderers on the 24th September 2003. But he had to go out on loan to Carlisle United to get more experience in December and he played well during his 10 game spell. The following season he was a regular for Walsall and was awarded their Player of the Year after hitting 15 goals in 36 games. This led to speculation about his future but he stayed with Walsall until January when he signed for Leicester City after another good start to the season.

Fryatt Walsall

He made his debut against Sheffield Wednesday in a 2-1 defeat and a week later he scored his first goal for the club in a 2-1 defeat against Cardiff City. Despite manager Craig Levein being sacked, Fryatt believed he made the right move and scored six goals to help the club avoid relegation from the Championship. The following two seasons were a struggle as he suffered from injury problems and only managed six goals and with the club getting relegated his future was in doubt.

However, he made a positive start to the 2008-09 season, scoring five goals in the first four games and was named the League One Player of the Month. The goals kept coming and he became the first player for 42 years to score 20 goals before Christmas for the club. During this fantastic run he also became the first player in 83 years to score consecutive hatricks. He ended the season with 32 goals and was named the League One Player of the Year after helping Leicester gain promotion.

Fryatt LC

Once again he started the next season in fantastic form, finding the back of the net three times in the opening five matches. A broken jaw towards the end of the season stopped him having as much of an impact as he would have hoped but with 13 goals he was still the top goalscorer. He only spent a further six months at Leicester as he joined Hull City on the 1st January 2011 and got off to a great start, scoring on his debut against Portsmouth and then another against Barnsley. On the 5th February he would score a hatrick against Scunthorpe United and on his 25th birthday he scored his 100th career goal in a win over Nottingham Forest. He ended the season with nine goals at Hull.

Fryatt HC

The 2011-12 season was the last time he was first choice at Hull as he played every league game and scored 16 times but in his first appearance in the 2012-13 season he picked up a serious achilles injury. So on the 27th September 2013 he joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan and made a good impact. He scored against Brighton, Barnsley and twice against Reading before returning to Hull and scored his first Premier League goal in a 6-0 win over Fulham and would later play an important role in getting the club to the FA Cup final by scoring in the semi final against Sheffield United. On the 9th June 2014 Fryatt signed for Nottingham Forest and so far has six goals for the club.

The final word can go to Nigel Pearson. “Matty’s goalscoring record is pretty good. He is a predator and he also has the ability to score goals out of nothing. He works phenomenally hard for the team and he makes himself chances because of his work rate as much as anything.”

12th February – Benik Afobe

Benik Afobe has been one of the highest rated youngsters in recent seasons and now he is getting his chance to show his potential in the Championship and is clearly showing everyone his talents.

Still only 22 he seems to have been around for quite a lot of time and played for many different clubs. This is to his credit as it seems like he just wants to play football and when he knew he wasn’t getting chances at Arsenal he went out on loan to try and play games in a lower level. A lot of young players are criticised these days for just sitting in the reserves and youth teams and because of this they don’t develop as well as they should have.

Afobe started his career at Arsenal when he was just six years old and after progressing very well through the youth teams and scoring a lot of goals, he was being linked with a move to Barcelona but he instead signed a professional contract with the Gunners in February 2010. To get his first taste of professional football he had to go out on loan and on the 2nd November he joined Huddersfield Town and made his debut that night in a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. He would go on to score his first professional goals against Rotherham United in the Football League Trophy to help his new team to a 5-2 win. After an injury to Anthony Pilkington, Afobe got an extended run in the first team and was in brilliant form for the rest of the campaign. During the second half of the season he picked up four man of the match awards in a row. In total he made 32 appearances, scoring eight times and providing 10 assists.

Afobe HT

During the 2011-12 season he suffered a few injuries but did eventually get fit enough to join Reading on the 22nd March 2012. He only played three times for the club but he did still play a part in helping them secure the Championship title. At the beginning of the following season the striker joined Bolton Wanderers on a season long loan. He scored his first goal for the club on his first start in the League Cup against Crawley Town but he was largely used as a substitute and had to wait until the 23rd October to score his first league goal in a 2-2 draw with Wolves. In January his loan was cancelled and he subsequently joined Millwall, unfortunately an injury meant he only played five times for the club.

Afobe BW

He spent eight months on the sidelines and when he returned he went back out on loan, this time to Sheffield Wednesday, where he played 12 times and scored two goals. This season started with Afobe joining MK Dons on loan for the season and went on to score his first goal in a 1-0 win over Chesterfield on the 19th August. But the League Cup second round was probably the best moment of his career so far as he scored twice in a 4-0 win over Manchester United and carried on his superb form in the competition by scoring two more in the next round against Bradford City. On the 29th November he bagged a hatrick against Colchester United in a 6-0 win. After 19 goals in the first half of the season there were other clubs looking at the striker and he joined Wolves in the January transfer window and he scored on his debut in a 2-0 win over Blackpool. Afobe so far has three goals in five Championship games for his new club.

Afobe MK

The final word can go to Wolves head of football development Kevin Thelwell. “Benik seems like a really outstanding young man. He is very pacey and powerful, good technically, and has an outstanding goalscoring record. We are really excited about him signing.”

3rd November – Stevie May

Sheffield Wednesday have made a good start to the season but they have struggled to put the ball in net and they will be hoping that Stevie May can find his feet in the Championship soon.

They have the joint best defensive record in the division and if only they could have scored more goals then they would have been closer to the top of the league than they currently are. May will need time to adapt to the English game but if the chances fall his way then he will surely hit the back of the net on a regular basis.

The 22 year old started his career at St Johnstone and made his debut as a 16 year old on the 11th May 2009 against Airdrie United and even managed to score. This convinced the club to give him a new contract but did not make an appearance in the following season as he needed extra time to develop. He had to wait until a game against Hearts on the 13th November 2010 to make his next appearance and would then start his first game against Motherwell on the 26th January 2011. In total he played 22 games over the course of the season and scored twice in a 2-0 win over Hamilton.
May SJ
At the start of the 2011-12 season he could not break into the first team and joined Alloa Athletic on loan and was instrumental in the club winning the Scottish Third Division. He scored a hatrick against East Stirlingshire in January 2012 and was in fantastic form for the rest of the season. Later in the season he would score four times against Elgin City to secure the title for Alloa and was then named the SFL Third Division Player of the Season after 19 goals in 22 games. This also led to him being given an extended contract at his parent club.

But it did not secure him a first team place at St Johnstone and he once again went out on loan. This time to First Division side Hamilton. After a slightly slow start he found his feet in the higher division and began to score goals for fun, including hatricks in consecutive games in April 2013 against Airdrieonians and Livingston. At the end of the season he won more personal awards after scoring 26 goals in just 35 games. This form finally convinced his parent club to give him a chance in their first team.
May Hamilton
May started the season well with four goals in the first nine league games and a winner over Rosenborg in the Europa League. The following month, May won the October SPL Player of the Month after scoring five times in four games. His goalscoring did not slow as he hit two hatricks in the space of three weeks against Dundee United and then Hearts. May’s 19th and 20th goals of the season were arguably his most important as they were in the Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen which secured the club’s place in their first ever final. They would go on to lift the trophy with May providing the assist for former Sheffield Wednesday favourite Steven MacLean. May finished the season with 27 goals in all competitions and he was linked with moves away from the club all summer, however he played in the early rounds of the Europa League, scoring against Luzern and Spartak Trnava.

On the 9th August 2014, the striker signed for Sheffield Wednesday and scored his first goal for the club against Middlesbrough on the 23rd August. He would go on to also score against Birmingham City and Reading in the following weeks but now he has to push on and grab more goals for the side.
May SW
The final word can go to Sheffield Wednesday manager Stuart Gray. “We’ve got to create chances for him. He’s got a calmness in the 18 yard box where he can pick out the corners. I’ve got every confidence he will convert them. He’s very keen to get into the full Scotland squad.”

17th October – Kevin Lisbie

Kevin Lisbie might be 36 but he has just got better as his career has gone on and last season he was a massive part of Leyton Orient’s promotion challenge.

Leyton Orient surprised everyone last season and were unlucky to not get promoted after losing to Rotherham United on penalties in the League One playoff final. Lisbie has been a consistent goal scorer for the club and although this season has started slowly for the club, they will be hoping to pick up some better results and recover from losing manager Russell Slade. The striker is just as important off the field as he is on it and his experience will be vital now.

The Jamaican international started his career at Charlton Athletic and made his professional debut during the 1996-97 season and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League in his second season. He did not get much of a chance in the top flight and had to go out on loan. He joined Gillingham and played seven times for the club, scoring four times. With Charlton getting relegated he was expected to play a part in the first team but this did not happen and he had to go out on loan during the 1999-00 season, joining Reading, however he only played twice.

Charlton once again gained promotion but this time Lisbie got more of a chance after a loan spell at QPR in December 2000, he went on to play 18 Premier League games. He had his best goalscoring season in the following campaign for the club, hitting the back of the net five times but in February 2002 he was placed on the transfer list. He eventually signed a new contract in May.
Lisbie CA
His best moment in a Charlton shirt came in September 2003 when he scored a hatrick in a 3-2 win over Liverpool but unfortunately he could not build on this as he suffered from injuries and ended it with five goals in just 10 games. After he returned he became a regular in the side during the 2004-05 campaign but after suffering from nosebleeds it was discovered that he had a benign tumour in the back of his nose which had to be treated.

In the 2005-06 season he was loaned out a few times, firstly to Norwich City and then Derby County and this signalled that his time at Charlton was over. After 176 games for the club he was released and after a successful trial at Colchester United he joined the club in August 2007. Despite the club getting relegated from the Championship, Lisbie was in fantastic form and in just one season he surpassed his league goals for Charlton after scoring 17 times and finished as the club’s top scorer.
Lisbie CU
This meant that clubs were interested in him and he joined Ipswich Town for £600,000 in July 2008. He started off quite well at the club but struggled to hold down a first team place, with him failing to play a single game in the last two years. During this time he had to go out on loan again, and rejoined Colchester in August 2009 and scored twice on his second debut on the opening day in a 7-1 win over Norwich. He once again became a fan favourite as he finished as their top scorer with 13 goals but with the club failing to get promoted he decided not to sign for the club permanently.

He then spent the 2010-11 season on loan to Millwall in the Championship but injury problems meant he could not play to his full potential and he only managed four goals in 20 appearances. After being released by Ipswich he joined Leyton Orient on the 9th September 2011 and has become a hero for the club, scoring 46 times in his three full seasons at the club so far, with a best of 18 coming last season.
Lisbie LO
The final word can go to Russell Slade. “Kevin is a huge player for us. He’s a class act and an excellent professional, who offers us valuable experience and quality, both on and off the pitch.”

12th October – Shola Ameobi

Shola Ameobi definitely split opinion amongst Newcastle United fans for his overall performances but he usually stepped up to the plate against Sunderland which means that he will never be forgotten.

After 14 years at Newcastle he did leave the club in the summer and it probably was the right time to leave. There were rumours that manager Alan Pardew wanted him to stay at the club as a player-coach but this didn’t happen and the record holder for most appearances as a substitute in the Premier League will probably not get the opportunity to wear the black and white shirt again.

The 33 year old first joined Newcastle in 1997 and progressed through the youth team before making his first team debut in September 2000 against Chelsea. He went on to make 22 appearances that season as Carl Cort and Alan Shearer had injury problems and finished the campaign with two goals. Over the next few seasons he continued to play games and was very influential during the club’s Champions League campaign in the 2002-03 season, where he scored against Barcelona at the Nou Camp and twice against Bayer Leverkusen in a 3-1 win.
Ameobi NUFC
His early form for the club continually divided fans but his goal scoring record looked worse because a lot of his game time was from the bench. During the later stages of the 2005-06 season he became a first team regular and ended the season with six goals in 12 games. The 2006-07 season had the potential to be his best as he scored five goals in 16 appearances and began to look a constant threat but a hip injury ruled him out for the majority of the season. In the following season he struggled to get a place in the first team and joined Stoke City on loan on the 27th March 2008, playing six games and helping them gain promotion to the Premier League, however he failed to score a goal and a permanent deal could not be agreed.
Ameobi SC
When he returned to Newcastle he could not break into the first team but when he did get his chance he scored his first goal in two years in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City on 20th October 2008 and in the next game scored against Sunderland. He then went on to score his 50th goal for Newcastle in the return game with Sunderland. The club were relegated at the end of the season and Ameobi was expected to score the goals to get them promoted.

He repaid the faith shown in him by manager Chris Hughton and was named the Championship Player of the Month in August 2009, after scoring his first ever hatrick against Reading and then another in a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. An injury slowed his season but when he returned he scored even more goals and finished the season with 10 goals in 18 games.

In their first season back in the Premier League, Ameobi scored some important goals including two against Sunderland in a 5-1 win and a winner against Wigan Athletic. After the sale of Andy Carroll he became the club’s main striker. This would be the last time he was a regular starter but in the rest of his time at the club he still managed another goal against Sunderland to equalise in the 91st minute.

In his 397th and final appearance he was sent off against Liverpool. He finished with 79 goals in all competitions before joining Turkish side Gazientep on the 11th August 2014. He scored first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Adanaspor from the penalty spot on the 19th September.
Ameobi Gazientep
The final word can go to Alan Pardew. “He has been an incredible servant to Newcastle United. Such loyalty and commitment in the modern game is rare and Shola was not just a great player on the pitch but a key figure off it. He is a leader of men, a great role model for our younger players.”

25th September – Glenn Murray

Glenn Murray has to be one of the unluckiest players ever after working so hard to get to the Premier League and then miss pretty much the whole campaign must have been hard to take.

At the age of 31 he is at the stage of his career where it is unlikely that a Premier League team will take a chance on him and he will have to be at a club that gets promoted. He is still contracted to Crystal Palace but is currently on loan at Reading.

The striker started his career at non league side Workington Reds before going to America to sign for Wilmington Hammerheads, where he spent one season, scoring three goals in 14 games before returning to England. He joined Barrow and impressed with seven goals in seven games and earned a move to Conference side Carlisle United.
Murray CU
He did not have the greatest goal scoring record at Carlisle but played a part in two successive promotions as they won the Conference Playoffs in 2005 and then won League Two a season later. But he would only go on to play one League One game for the club and had to join Stockport County to get regular football and in two months he played 11 games and scored three goals. After initially joining Rochdale on loan he signed for them permanently in January 2007. During his loan spell he scored four goals in 12 games. He finished the 2006-07 season with 16 goals in 31 league games and was seen as the player that could lead the club to promotion.

The 2007-08 season started well for the striker and after nine goals in 23 games, Murray joined League One side Brighton in January. He made his debut in a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Northampton Town but on his home debut he scored twice in a 3-0 win over Crewe. He ended the season with eight goals in 21 games.
Murray BH
Injuries in the following campaign restricted his playing time but he did still manage 12 goals and had a similar record in the 2009-10 season. His final year at Brighton proved to be his most successful as he scored 22 goals in 42 league games. After he rejected Brighton’s new contract offer he left after hitting the back of the net 53 times in the league for the club.

This was forgotten by the Brighton fans after he signed for their rivals Crystal Palace in May 2011. But his first season wasn’t as successful as he hoped as he only scored six times but the 2012-13 season must have been like a dream for the striker. On the 22nd September he scored a 20 minute hatrick against Cardiff City and followed this up with more goals and another hatrick in November against Ipswich Town.

At times he was unstoppable and before Christmas he had scored 22 goals which is a record. However, his dream soon turned into a nightmare as he picked up a serious knee injury but his 30 goals in 42 games were good enough to help Palace get promoted. Murray eventually returned on the 8th February 2014 as a substitute against West Brom.
Murray CP
Since he has only played 15 Premier League games and on the 1st September 2014 he was loaned out to Reading. On his debut he scored twice against Fulham in a 3-0 win but he did miss a penalty against Sheffield Wednesday in the following game.

The final word can go to Ian Holloway. “There are not many strikers who have got 30 in one season. What he’s done is phenomenal. It’s not just that. It’s his work rate, he leads the line and how he brings other people into the game is as good as I’ve seen.”

4th September – Richard Garcia

Hull City have had a very good summer transfer window but it wasn’t long ago that they had to rely on free transfers and not big name players.

Richard Garcia is 33 today and is one of the players that helped get Hull back into the top divisions and get the fans excited about the club once again. Garcia may not have been the best player in the world but he definitely worked hard for the side. The fans may have a lot to look forward to now but it is only because of the hard work of the players that came before that allowed this to happen.

Garcia started his career at West Ham signing his first professional contract in 1998. He scored in every round of West Ham’s run to the Youth Cup final as they won the trophy. In August 2000 he was ready for first team football and was loaned out to Leyton Orient where he played 21 times and scored four goals. After an injury to his knee ligaments he returned to his parent club and made his debut for them in a League Cup match away to Reading in September 2001.

After West Ham were relegated from the Premier League, Garcia was expecting more game time but this didn’t happen and after just 22 games for the club he joined Colchester United in 2004. In his first season he scored six goals in 30 appearances but it was in the following campaign that he showed his true potential, helping Colchester gain promotion to the Championship and also reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup. A knee injury ended his season in March but he scored Colchester’s first goal in the 2006-07 season against Birmingham City on the opening day of the new Championship season.
Garcia CU
Colchester were the surprise package and pushed for a place in the playoffs but Garcia’s seven goals in 36 games was just not good enough to secure them a place in the top six. At the end of the season Garcia had played 96 games in all competitions and scored 21 goals and despite being offered a new contract decided to join Hull City.

He made his league debut for Hull against Plymouth Argyle and scored his first goal in the following game against Crewe. In his first season Garcia played a leading role in the club’s promotion push and they secured their place in the Premier League after defeating Bristol City in the Playoff final. He was also awarded the goal of the season award after hitting a 35 yard screamer against Burnley in March 2008.
Hull City v Stoke 08 November 2009
In the Premier League Garcia only took two games to score his first goal of the season, securing a point away to Blackburn Rovers, however this would turn out to be his only goal in the top flight in two seasons and had to wait until the 12th November to score again, when he scored against Preston in a 2-0 win back in the Championship. After injuries disrupted the rest of his time at the club he left after 128 games and returned to his homeland of Australia.
Garcia MH
On the 23rd August 2012 Garcia joined Melbourne Heart and stayed for one season, scoring six times in just 24 games but decided to move to Sydney FC in the next summer where he had a similar record, 6 goals in 23 games. But once again he only spent one season at the club and joined Minnesota United on the 5th May 2014 but after just two appearances he left and recently joined Perth Glory on a two year contract.

The final word can go to Melbourne Heart head coach John Aloisi. “Richard can play a number of roles. The experience he possesses isn’t something you encounter too often. He will assume a leadership role on the pitch and will be an important guide for our younger players.”

24th June – Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan will go down as one of the best players to never get an England cap and will also fall into the very small category of things Newcastle United fans can thank Joe Kinnear for.

The midfielder has scored goals all through his career and has always provided a threat from the centre of the pitch with his late runs into the box and a lot of opposition fans, particularly Sunderland, are sick of seeing his ‘chicken’ celebration. It is very surprising that he never got picked for an England squad as he was always been an influential member of every squad he has been in.

Nolan signed his first professional contract at Bolton Wanderers and made his debut in the 1999-2000 season but it was in his second season when he really started to show the fans his quality as he played 31 times in the league and also played the full 90 minutes of their playoff final win over Preston North End which got them to the Premier League.
Nolan Bolton
He settled quickly into the Premier League and scored twice on the opening day against Leicester City and finished the season with eight goals, including one at Old Trafford in a 2-1 win. Proving this was not a fluke result in the next season Bolton beat Manchester United again at Old Trafford 1-0 with Nolan getting the goal. However, it was a much more difficult season as the club just stayed in the top flight and that goal was Nolan’s only one all season.

The 2003-04 season was much better for everyone as the club finished in eighth place and reached the final of the League Cup. Nolan finished the season with 12 goals and then in the following season helped the club qualify for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history. He scored twice in that European run against Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Zenit St Petersburg.

After Jay-Jay Okocha left the club Nolan took over the captaincy as they once again qualified for Europe. It was in Europe that the club had one of their finest moments in recent history – a 2-2 draw away to German side Bayern Munich with Nolan setting up one of the goals with a long throw. Despite their good run in Europe they started to struggle in the league and they barely stayed in the league once again.

In January 2009 Nolan left Bolton after 323 league appearances and joined Joe Kinnear’s Newcastle United. It was a tough start to his career on Tyneside as the club were relegated and he was sent off for a horror tackle on Everton’s Victor Anichebe. But he vowed to stay at the club and get them back where they belong and he definitely played his part. He scored his first goal against Crystal Palace and followed this up shortly after with a hatrick against Ipswich Town. Throughout the season Nolan was made captain and finished it by being named the Championship Player of the Year. His 17 goals from midfield were crucial in winning the title and was now firmly a fan favourite.
Nolan Newcastle
At the start of the next season he was named the new club captain and scored a brace against Aston Villa in their first home game back in the Premier League. On the 31st October came one of the greatest moments ever for him and every Newcastle fan as he scored a hatrick against Sunderland in a 5-1 win. He ended the season with 12 league goals, including another in the return game with Sunderland.

Although he was very impressive for Newcastle he was sold to West Ham in the summer and was immediately made captain. He was tasked with helping get the club promoted and he delivered by scoring 12 times and helped them win the playoff final against Blackpool. Back in the Premier League once more his form did not drop and he scored his first goal of the season in an opening day win over Aston Villa. He hit double figures for the fourth season in a row and this included his 100th career goal and a hatrick against Reading.
Nolan WH
Last season was a bit more difficult as his disciplinary record was not the greatest but he did still finish it as West Ham’s top scorer and a lot of their fans seem to forget that when talking about his contributions.

The final word can go to Joe Kinnear who signed him at Newcastle. “When I heard there was a chance of getting Kevin I was determined we would pull out all the stops to bring him here. He’s a player I think our fans will love. He’s a real inspirational player and a great character. He’s the sort of lad who never knows when he is beaten.”