Nolan No.1 in Football League
The announcement was made at a gala dinner at Grosvenor House, Park Lane on Sunday March 14 in front of more than 850 attendees from clubs, sponsors and representatives of the football industry.
Nolan is ranked first in FourFourTwo’s Top 50 Football League Players list, ahead of West Bromwich Albion midfielder Graham Dorrans and Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford.
Beckford and Rochdale defender Craig Dawson were named Player of the Year in Leagues One and Two respectively. Crystal Palace starlet Nathaniel Clyne picked up the Young Player of the Year prize and Gordon Taylor OBE - chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association - was honoured with the Contribution to League Football award.
Nolan was part of the Magpies’ side that lost their Premier League status last summer, but has since played a pivotal role for Chris Hughton’s outfit – scoring 12 league goals – as the Toon Army appear set to celebrate bouncing back into the top flight at the first time of asking.
“It’s something that I will treasure for a long time,” he says in the April issue of FourFourTwo magazine – in shops on Monday.
“When I first joined Newcastle, there was a lack of togetherness between the players and the fans but one of the best things to happen this season is that we’ve got them back on board. We’re now looking to the future together and we have to make sure that what’s happened to this fantastic club never happens again.”
The former Bolton Wanderers man, who made more than 300 appearances for the Trotters, was widely expected to depart St James’ Park – as were the majority of the club’s other high-profile names – following the 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa last May, meaning second-tier football for the North East giants for the first time in 16 years.
However, the 27-year-old insists he had no intention of moving on so soon, and was desperate to ensure the side’s stay in the Championship was a short one – finally giving the club’s success-starved support something to shout about.
“I had unfinished business. I’d only been at the club for six months, and missed a chunk of games, so I wanted to repay the fans.
“I want to make sure that when I do eventually leave Newcastle, the fans can’t say I jumped ship. I want to come back in 10 years and be warmly accepted by the people.”
The full interview with Nolan, plus additional exclusive one-on-ones with Dorrans, Beckford, Dawson, Clyne, Lee Camp, Robbie Savage, Lee Hughes, Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert and the full rundown of the Top 50 Football League Players can be found in the April issue of FourFourTwo magazine – out Monday.