Kevin Nolan: Notts County appoint new manager

Kevin Nolan (left) and Alan Hardy
Alan Hardy (right) appointed Nolan a day after taking ownership of Notts

Former Leyton Orient boss Kevin Nolan has been named as Notts County player-manager following Alan Hardy's takeover of the League Two club.

Notts, who had been managerless since sacking new Oldham boss John Sheridan on 2 January, have lost 10 straight league games and are 22nd in the table, just a point above the relegation zone.

Hardy said Nolan, 34, could revive Notts' fortunes on the pitch.

"Kevin is an outstanding leader and we need immediate success," Hardy added.

Hardy revealed that Notts are losing £1.6m a year but said he was at Meadow Lane "for the long haul".

"It is a dream come true but there is a realisation that there is a tough job ahead," Hardy added.

Nolan will take charge of the team for the Nottinghamshire derby against Mansfield Town on Saturday.

Hardy's head rules heart

Nottingham businessman Hardy finalised his purchase of the Magpies from Ray Trew on Wednesday, a deal he said was "90% heart and 10% head" because of what he described as the club's "huge" debts.

Notts are still under a transfer embargo and the subject of a winding-up petition brought by HM Revenue & Customs. But Hardy, who said he feared Notts would have gone out of business had he not intervened, has promised to settle any outstanding debts.

He hoped that would happen in time for Nolan to be active in the final seven days of the January transfer window.

Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan won seven of his 15 games as Orient player-manager, drawing twice and losing six times

Nolan was appointed Orient boss in January 2016 but was sacked after three months, despite winning seven of his 15 games while in charge.

Nolan, who took the job after talking to former Notts manager Sam Allardyce, said: "This squad is capable of staying in the league. With my input we can start to get away from the current situation.

"I do not see this as a risk. I see this as something I can build with Alan. Alan knows we have to turn this around slowly. I see this as a challenge.

"I hope I can make him a successful and give him back all the faith and confidence he has shown in me."

'An outstanding leader'

Former Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham midfielder Nolan cannot play while the embargo is in place but said he still feels like he has something to offer on the pitch as well as off it.

Hardy said: "Kevin Nolan is an outstanding leader and that is what is this football club needs.

"Kevin will provide the leadership on the playing side. Not only is he a very good footballer, but when he went to Orient he had immediate success and we need to start climbing the table.

"This is massive football club but it is not a successful on the pitch. These two need to be realigned."

Alan Hardy
Alan Hardy is a Nottingham businessman and Notts County regular

Hardy, the chief executive of Paragon Interiors Group and owner of Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club, said there was a "one, three and five-year plan in place" and hoped the club's debts "will be cleared by three years".

He added: "The immediate priority is survival and we need to understand what the fans want.

"We want the product to be right on the pitch but we we also want fans to enjoy themselves while they are here. I understand that frustration and anger.

"The passion and determination in this club needs to go up a few notches."

Analysis

BBC Radio Nottingham's Notts County correspondent Colin Slater

"There was an openness from both Alan Hardy and Kevin Nolan. As chairman Hardy faced the more difficult questions but, to his credit, he did not shirk any of them. Never once did he say "no comment".

"There were two disclosures which will particularly disturb Notts fans. One is that the club is losing £1.6m a year. The other is that there is a pile of debts to the Football League clubs and these will delay the lifting of the transfer embargo even when the £300,000 tax bill is paid.

"Arrangements will have to be put in place for all these other debts to be paid before the Football League will lift the embargo and Hardy suggested Notts will no more than about seven days to bring new players in before the window closes.

"Nolan looked and sounded glad to be back in football and I think his cheerfulness and positivity will extend to fans, even the most critical."

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