Kevin Nolan admits West Ham regret as he leaves the club

first_img Manager Slaven Bilic paid tribute to the man who made his final appearance for the club as captain in Saturday’s 4-3 home defeat by Bournemouth at his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning after admitting he could not guarantee him the amount of football he wanted. Bilic said: “That is basically the only reason (he left). In the end, it is good for both parties. “It was not only this week. We had a few chats with Kevin, now he’s leaving and I can only say a big thanks to him for the club because he was a great captain and a great professional. “Even in the short period I experienced working with him, he was a brilliant professional, a hard worker and I wish him well on behalf of the staff, the players and the club.” He said: “This has been a fantastic time for me since I walked in the door. I’ve had just over four fantastic years and I’d like to thank everyone who has made it so easy for me to settle down here with my family. “My boy speaks like a Cockney now, so I don’t know if I’ll be moving back to Liverpool any time soon! “Since I’ve come here, it’s felt like home and it’s a real possibility that it’ll be home for a long time, so I thank everyone who has made that possible from inside the club to all the players I’ve played with. “People don’t see the staff behind the scenes who work so hard for us, and obviously I’d like to thank the fans too. “A little part of me wishes I was a bit younger when I came here so I could be part of what is going to be a fantastic transition going into the Olympic Stadium. I’ve seen all the videos and everything that’s gone into it, and it’s going to be something special. “It’s exciting times for the club and it’s about the boys now making sure they keep that Premier League status this season and building to ensure that they then go on and start challenging the European clubs, because that stadium will deserve it. “Thanks for everything.” Nolan, who signed off with his nickname “Nobby”, also revealed that Hammers’ Wembley play-off final victory over Blackpool which clinched their return to the top flight would go down as one of the best days of his career. The Hammers announced on Thursday that the 33-year-old, who captained them as they fought their way back into the Barclays Premier League at the end of the 2011-12 season, has left by mutual consent in the search for regular football during what remains of his playing career. Merseysider Nolan, who moved to Upton Park from Newcastle in June 2011, later expressed his thanks to the club and their fans in a statement released on the official website, www.whufc.com. Kevin Nolan has admitted his regret at not joining West Ham earlier in his career after deciding to leave the club. Press Associationlast_img read more

Through 3 games, Syracuse uses balanced offense to replicate last season’s production

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Kiara Lewis snatched the ball from Digna Strautmane and jab stepped toward the Albany defense. Six handoffs in Syracuse’s two-guard sequence had weaved the ball from wing to wing, reaching four players as the shot clock ticked down to 15. Lewis took two steps forward after receiving hers and pulled up from the foul line.It was the 8:14 mark of the third quarter last Saturday, and Syracuse was struggling to pull away from a nonconference opponent for the third-straight game. But as Lewis’ jump shot sunk through the net over Albany’s Khepera Stokes, the Orange’s lead extended to 15 and continued to increase as SU won by 22 points.Through the first three games of its season, Syracuse’s 77.2 points per game has turned into 68.7 through three games this year. But as opposed to relying on one or two scorers to accumulate the majority of points, the Orange have relied on variety and distribution. Against the Great Danes, 10 out of the 11 players who played for Syracuse scored a point.“Balance is balance and it’s hard to scout balance because you can’t leave players when you have threats on the floor,” Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said.As Syracuse enters its most challenging game of the season against No. 1 Oregon, spreading the ball around in sets will once again be a focal point. Hillsman has always subbed at a high rate — 123 times through three games, to be exact — but now more of his role players are starting to score. After only having two players average more than 10 points per game last season, Tiana Mangakahia and Miranda Drummond, the No. 20 Orange (3-0) have four through three games.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I think that losing Tiana kinda made us understand this pressure, that losing her meant we sucked,” sophomore Emily Engstler said. “So, we took our offense and started to divide it a little more evenly.”Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorWith a roster that features three graduate transfers and three freshmen, nearly half of the Orange are new. Some returning players hinted that Hillsman introduced plays slower than in years past, but the 13-year head coach denied the claim.Engstler said she integrated her guard qualities again. Brooke Alexander needed to make the shots off the bench she’s subbed in to make. Amaya Finklea-Guity scans for open slivers in the paint to drop step in for a layup. As opposed to limiting themselves to one defined role on offense, they’ve begun to expand into more.“I think we have six or seven new players that we’re asserting throughout our team,” Hillsman said on Oct. 11. “It’s just one of those things. Get things in place, install your system, and play.”Through three games, Engstler has snagged rebounds and led Syracuse’s transition offense. Sometimes, that’s meant driving into the lane and finishing a layup. Other times, that’s meant pulling the ball back and scanning the court for Lewis.But in the Orange’s second game against Maryland Eastern Shore, when Lewis had seven assists and took on a role as more of a facilitator, Engstler and Strautmane emerged. With the clock winding down in the first quarter, Lewis pulled the ball out and waited for a final shot. Strautmane curled around a Finklea-Guity screen and sunk a 3-pointer before the buzzer. In the second half, she made four more.“If we can have four players getting 12, 13 points a game, get some 7, 5 points here, we’re going to be a good team,” Hillsman said on Nov. 7. “We’ll be up in the high-70s, 80s like we want to score.”With the Orange in their final possession against the Great Danes and a win already secured, Alexander drove right and rose through contact from Albany’s Helene Haegerstrand. Alexander turned her back and flung a shot over her shoulder, falling onto the court as it banked off the backboard and in.From the Syracuse bench, Alisha Lewis was the first one to jump into the air, grinning as Alexander was helped up. Three seats down, Lewis did the same, throwing a towel into the air.Heading into the season, Lewis was primed to inherit Mangakahia’s role as the dominant scorer. At times, she has. But it’s been the other dozen Syracuse players, complementing her drive-and-kicks by converting open 3-pointers from the wing.“It’s never like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re going to score and you’re not going to score,’” Strautmane said. “It’s always going to be like someone’s got to step up and somebody’s gonna pass more and somebody’s gonna drive more, somebody’s gonna shoot more.”Asst. sports editor Danny Emerman and staff writer David Schneidman contributed reporting to this story.  Comments Published on November 17, 2019 at 10:14 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrewlast_img read more