Orient appoint Nolan as player-manager
10:30 21 January 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
League Two outfit announce former West Ham United captain as their new boss
Former West Ham United captain Kevin Nolan has been appointed the new player-manager at Leyton Orient.
The O’s confirmed the news in a statement this morning that the 33-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the League Two outfit.
He was the bookies favourite from Monday night and has agreed to take the role after holding talks with president Francesco Becchetti.
A combined player-manager job is rare in the Football League with Edgar Davids one of the last to attempt it at Barnet.
He lasted just 16 months with the north London club and was in charge as they got relegated to the National League in the 2012/13 campaign, but Nolan will be determined to be a success.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle hero discussed back in 2013 how he expected to become a manager one day and now is his chance.
It is understood he has all the required coaching badges and joins Orient just a month after nearly completing a transfer to Brisbane Road as a player.
Ian Hendon allowed Nolan to train with the O’s between September and December and had hoped to sign him permanently.
A deal was close just before Orient’s FA Cup second round match with Scunthorpe United on December 5, but a contract couldn’t be agreed.
In a strange twist of fate head coach Hendon was then “relieved of his duties” on Monday following the 3-1 loss to Exeter City.
The former West Ham United coach was called into a meeting with president Francesco Becchetti after Saturday’s match and told he would be leaving.
Andy Hessenthaler was appointed caretaker manager on an interim basis, but Nolan has now been confirmed and will take his first training session tomorrow morning.
He becomes the seventh person to work under the ownership of Becchetti – including Hessenthaler’s short stint this week.
The Italian took charge of the O’s in the summer of 2014 and has overseen a succession of different managers at Brisbane Road.
His seventh will be Nolan and it is no doubt that Orient have pulled off a major coup by getting the former West Ham captain to join them - even if he lacks experience.
After playing in the Premier League last season, his quality should shine through in League Two and he will have plenty of help at the club.
Nolan’s first match in charge of the east Londoners will be at Wycombe Wanderers this weekend - a crucial clash in the battle to make the play-offs.
While it is a risk for the O’s to appoint somebody who has never managed before, Becchetti has at least picked a person with knowledge of the current squad.
Nolan was said to be incredibly popular with the players when he trained with them and it could prove to be an inspired decision by Orient’s president, but only time will tell.