Kevin Nolan believes that Sunderland should be in the same league as Newcastle.
The 35-year-old played for the Magpies for two seasons between 2009 and 2011. He is currently manager of Notts County who are in the League Two play-off semi-finals after finishing in fifth place. They drew 1-1 with Coventry in the first leg, so they have the advantage going into the second leg at home.
Therefore, he could be managing against the Black Cats next season if things go right for Notts County. Sunderland had an abysmal first season back in the Championship as they finished bottom to suffer consecutive relegations down to League One. Although new owners have agreed a deal to buy the club with EFL approval the only barrier left, so the future could be positive after one of the worst spells in the club’s history.
Nolan obviously has good memories from the Tyne-Wear derbies because he mentioned them when talking about Sunderland’s current situation as quoted by the Shields Gazette:
“I know Newcastle fans aren’t going to like me for this, but I didn’t want to see Sunderland in League One.
“I loved Sunderland in the Premier League or Championship, whatever league we were in. I wanted them to be there. For me, it was points on the board.
“That’ll live with me forever, and it’s so sad to see them in that predicament now, because I love watching that derby. It brings back great memories of the hat-trick and scoring at the Stadium of Light.”
Local derbies are some of the best matches that a club will play due to the fierce rivalry and the bragging rights that the winner has, so it’s understandable that Nolan has such good memories from his time with Newcastle where he played a key role in those matches.
A club of Sunderland’s stature deserves to be much higher than they currently are, but football is a brutal game at times and a number of factors have come together to put them in their current predicament. Having the two big rivals in the same division will be a bonus when it next happens, even if Newcastle are enjoying the struggles of their major rival because it adds to the drama of their seasons.
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