Kevin Nolan, the former skipper for West Ham United and current manager of League Two side Notts County, made a number of loan moves in the January transfer window to improve his team, but no move will have raised more eyebrows than the move to register himself as a player.
With the team in dire financial straights, the team was not able to acquire many new players in order to advance their position in the League Two table, where they currently sit only one point above the relegation zone. After settling some debts with HMRC, Notts was finally able to sign Mark Yeates from Blackpool. Nolan was also able to secure loan deals for Hull City’s Josh Clackstone, Arsenal’s Marc Bola, Nottingham Forest’s Jorge Grant, and West Bromich Albion’s Tahvon Campbell. In addition, Nolan signed former Newcastle teammate Shola Ameobi.
Notts County owner, Alan Hardy, said the plan all along was for Nolan to be a player-manager for the team, but had to wait to announce it until the transfer embargo was lifted. Nolan was named manager in January and was rumored to be interested in signing former West Ham, Chelsea, Aston Villa, and Wolverhampton player (and ex-teammate) Carlton Cole.
The challenge to keep Notts County in the Football League will surely keep Nolan busy, as the team lost 2-0 to fellow relegation cantidates Accrington Stanley on Saturday. To make matters worse, it appears that the team is not out of the woods just yet on the financial front, as yet another creditor stepped in at court to claim that the club owes them almost 700,000 pounds. Normally, when a team is trying to avoid relegation, people speak of “survival”, but this time it appears that the very existence of the club is in jeopardy.