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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 08:42 GMT
Kevin Nolan column
The Kevin Nolan column

By Kevin Nolan
Bolton captain

The issue of mid-season breaks has been in the news recently.

People have told me that unsavoury reports emerged following Liverpool's warm-weather training trip last week.

I'm currently in Tenerife with Bolton as we enjoy our break - and let me state now that there has been no karaoke!

Bolton tend to go away at this time of the season - over recent years we have been to Dubai - as part of our preparations for the crucial last stage of the campaign.

Abama Hotel - Tenerife
I hacked my way around the golf course

The trip allows the players to relax for a few days and recharge both mentally and physically.

The change of surroundings - spending some time away from the training ground - helps.

The squad is able to focus on what it wants to achieve in the final weeks of the season.

Our manager also believes that it is beneficial for the players to spend some time together away from our families and the responsibilities of our lives outside football.

I guess this also works as a break from moody husbands and fathers for the wives, girlfriends and children - and they tend to receive presents as well when the players return.

This has been the first year I have made the trip since I became a dad and I have found it hard at times to spend a week away from my daughter.

Not that I am complaining.

We arrived on Sunday and enjoyed a meal and relaxed.

Training resumed on Monday and has continued through the week but there has been plenty of spare time.

I hit a bit of a hot streak on the pool table. I would not say that I was the best in the squad but managed to win myself a few quid.

Quite a lot of the squad play golf but I did not bring my clubs along, which are brand new and have not yet been used.

However, having looked around the course I realised I had to try my luck and hired some on Wednesday.

Kevin Davies and I took on Nicky Hunt and David Thompson in a game of fourballs.

I was terrible, hacking my way around the course, but we managed to win by two holes. The losers did not take the defeat well, accusing us of cheating. We didn't.

The hotel facilities have been absolutely superb and the players have been free to spend their spare time largely as they want - as long as they are in their rooms by 11pm.

But throughout the week the intensity of training has increased as we look forward to the game at Tottenham on Sunday.

After training every day we had to spend 15 minutes in the sea as part of our warm-down.

Needless to say, lots of the players start splashing each other.

The other day I jumped on Ricardo Gardner's back and dunked him.

He emerged from the water in something of a panic, wagging his finger in my direction.

It turns out that when Ricardo was a boy he used to swim the length of a pool under water on a daily basis, starting from the deep end and finishing in the shallow end.

One time he misjudged the distance and tried to stand up when still towards the deeper end of the pool.

He had to be rescued by lifeguards and has not been in water deeper than his waist ever since.

I did apologise for bringing back all those memories but it was quite funny to hear him tell the story.

Meanwhile, I was glad to see that Bolton have reduced their ticket prices for next season.

We desperately need to see the Reebok Stadium full on a regular basis and I am in favour of anything that will help that happen.

Watching Premiership football is not cheap and this will help to make it more affordable for the supporters.


I have a guinea pig and have named him Stelios, do you have any pets?
Oliver Hall, England

I have not got any pets myself but a few people have told me that they have a cat or a dog or whatever called Nolan, which is a bit weird.

I have heard a rumour that Sam Allardyce fines any players that shoot from outside the box and don't hit the target. Is this true?
Steve Brownett, England

Kevin Nolan (left) and Jay-Jay Okocha
The gaffer said that he would have to fine Jay-Jay because he was missing the target so often

This all started a couple of seasons ago and was related to Jay-Jay Okocha's shooting accuracy.

The gaffer said that he would have to fine him because he was missing the target so often.

He now has a theory that a large percentage of shots from outside the penalty area miss the target and thus do not lead to goals.

The manager is now insistent that if you shoot from outside the area you hit the target - but there are no fines involved.

I take my kids to all home games and occasionally we stay for autographs. Two questions. Are players aware of the buzz kids get from getting an autograph - and is there a club policy about signing them?
Nigel, England

When I leave the ground I try to sign as many autographs as I can.

The problem is that quite often you have one person asking you to sign the same photograph seven or eight times. These are often then sold on the internet for profit.

There are then young fans who want the signature of their favourite players to keep and treasure - and these are often the people who miss out.

My mate Carl O'Malley used to play for Bolton in the youth team around the same time as you. Do you remember him at all?
John K, UK

I remember Carl. He was a very good player and I was surprised when we let him go and that he did not make it at another club after he had left Bolton.

He was a year older than me and was being groomed to be the next big thing at Bolton.

For one reason or another it did not happen for him but he was a fantastic lad. I have not got a bad word to say about him.

Kevin, I know it is very early in your career, but can you see yourself one day moving into coaching or possibly management?
David Logan, UK

Yes. I think I would like to be a manager with the extra responsibility that role brings.

Having said that, by the time I retire I might want to move away from football or I might be washed up, with nobody interested in giving me a job.

Time will tell, I guess.

  • Kevin will continue to answer a selection of your questions each week throughout the season. Send us your questions using the post form in the top right-hand corner.

  • Send Kevin your questions using this form and read his answers to a selection of last week's at the bottom of the page
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