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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2006, 09:42 GMT
Kevin Nolan column
Diving is increasingly part of the game

By Kevin Nolan
Bolton captain

Football is a fantastic game but one of the things that attracts controversy is players diving.

This week the Torquay chairman Chris Roberts announced an initiative to punish his players for diving - even going as far as sacking them for a third offence.

Kevin Nolan (right) tackles Scott Parker
Over the last few years a lot of stuff that players thrive on have been taken out of the game

If it works then fair enough but it seems drastic to be fining players - to go as far as sacking them for diving would be unbelievable.

I think this is a problem that can be sorted out by players having a stern word with their team-mates.

We have had instances at our place where a few of the lads have done it.

What happens is they end up getting stick for it in training and that seems to put a stop to it - they do not want to be embarrassed by the attention they get through the week.

The gaffer Sam Allardyce has talked about it and I think it is something that all the managers have got together and said they want to stamp out.

It is something that has been going on for a while.

Even though football is quite physical, over the last few years a lot of stuff that players thrive on have been taken out of the game - like the tackle from behind.

There used to be players who would spend all game booting people and the fans loved them. Now those players have virtually gone from the game.

People sometimes compare the behaviour of rugby players and footballers - but the games are totally different.

The other week I was watching the Australia v Great Britain rugby league game and a player punched an opponent and then 10 minutes later hit the scrum-half.

It was unbelievable but he only got a one-game ban. If that was a footballer he would be looking at a three-month suspension at least.

The diving situation is a difficult one - but what can we do about it?

I'm sure plenty of people have looked at the problem and it is not happening so maybe it is one of those things.

Without all these controversies we would not have pundits and people analysing the game.

These people have so much to talk about they have made a living out of it. I think people actually like all the controversies in the game.

So do we really want to do anything about it?

I do not think you will be seeing many Torquay players diving now if they face the sack so if it works then good luck to them.

Jasmine Elizabeth Nolan is absolutely gorgeous - I am so proud to be a father

But if that happened at Bolton I do not think too many of the players would be happy.

It would go to a vote between me and the other players to see if we can come to an agreement.

I am captain so when things happen we have a group of about four players and we get together and chat about it.

Personally I do not think I would back it - even though I am not a diver and do not condone diving.

I would much rather sort out the problem another way.

Last week I missed the game at Everton to attend the birth of my daughter Jasmine Elizabeth Nolan.

The contractions started late on Thursday night and continued through Friday.

Fortunately one of our friends Julie is a midwife so she looked after my fiancee Hayley while I went to training.

It was on my mind throughout the weekend - in fact it has been on my mind for the last nine months.

We went to the hospital at 4am on Saturday and it was not until 1.58pm that Jasmine arrived.

It was an unbelievable experience which is impossible to explain unless you have children yourself.

She is absolutely gorgeous - I am so proud to be a father and so proud of Hayley.

It was really sad seeing her in so much pain during the birth and not being able to do anything for her.

But she has been superb throughout the pregnancy and even six hours later she was talking about doing it again.

On the Friday I had taken part in our team-play in training and the plan was to leave it until the last minute to make a decision on whether to play.

Normally we meet up as a squad on Saturday morning but the gaffer gave me special dispensation to meet at Everton as it was only 15 minutes from where I live.

If the baby had come at 1pm I could have popped over, stuck my boots on and had a go.

I was a bit upset to miss the game but I would not have changed it for the world - it was well worth it. I do not think I could have left her so soon after the birth.

All my Evertonian friends have been saying she is a true blue because she made me miss the game!

Nothing I have done in my career - getting promoted to the Premiership, playing in Europe or scoring a goal - can even compare to such a fantastic experience.

I went back to training on Tuesday and life is now getting back to normal - it is just that I have got another little life to look after now.

It has been great going to work with a smile on my face and coming home to her is brilliant - even seeing her cry makes me happy.

I am just looking forward to Jasmine meeting all my team-mates - maybe if Hayley will let me we can get her a Bolton strip for when I go down and show her off.

  • I would just like to say a special thanks to Julie for looking after us and Hayley's mum Christine who was great as well.


    Hi Kevin. I am a Liverpool fan but I have seen you play a few times now and think you are a great player. I was wondering though, out of the players you have played with and against in the Premiership, what would your dream five-a-side team be?
    Mark Weir,

    In goal I would have Jussi Jaaskelainen then probably Steven Gerrard, Thierry Henry, John Terry and Wayne Rooney. I would put myself on the bench and be the captain - shouting at them from the sides.

    What main factor in the whole game of football would you like to see stamped out to help the future of the game?
    Gary, Bristol

    I think the rule when a player gets injured and has to wait at the side of the pitch to come back on is ridiculous. I'd rather he just came back on and we get on with the game with 11 versus 11.

    Hi Kevin. Great column mate! Just a quick question really. It's kind of stupid but its been bugging me for quite a while! Do players wear a brand new kit every game? If not how long before a new one is issued and what happens to the old ones? Best of luck for the rest of the season!
    Steve Kerwood, UK

    Generally we get a kit every 6-8 games but it depends. A lot of players swap it every week, some don't. I tend to give away between 10-20 shirts a year to players and then some to friends and family. All the shirts, shorts and socks that don't get used get given to us at the end of the season to give out so I pass them on to local charities. Although my dad and brother normally pinch one each - I think they mainly use them as pyjamas.

    Hi Kevin. I read on BBC Sport that Sam Allardyce took advantage of the international break and took the rest of the squad to see a Celine Dion concert in Las Vegas. Was this seen as a nice treat or a punishment for the rest of the players to try harder to make the international squads in future?!
    Andy Montgomery, England

    He took his wife to see Celine Dion and Shirley Bassey as a present - we were back at home training hard unfortunately. But I saw Celine Dion over there a few years back and she was terrific. I would definitely recommend seeing her if you go over there.

    Hi Kev. Firstly good luck with your new arrival (say goodbye to your sleep). Just a quick question, when players have a fitness test just before a game what does this consist of exactly?

    There is a lot of twisting and turning and a lot of sprint work. It normally starts slowly with some jogging and then goes into sprinting and then some ball-striking with the inside of the foot. I've been very lucky in that I've not had many injuries and not had to do any fitness tests, so the only information I've got is from watching others doing it - so touch wood it will never happen.

    All right Kevin. Good column and hope everything goes well with the kiddo. I was hoping you could answer a question regarding training. What sort of stamina is expected at your level? Are you up near the 20 mark in the beep test? Been wanting to know that for a long time! Cheers, all the best
    James K, Australia

    I've never done the beep test but we have a thing at Bolton called the premier endurance test that our fitness department and the manager came up with. It's what is expected during a Premier League game and consists of lots of sprints, three-quarter runs and stuff like that. I think it works as over the last five years we have become quite a fit club. I'm generally one of the fittest, along with Gary Speed, who is still very fit, and Kevin Davies. But most of the lads are as fitness stats are vital when the gaffer signs a player.

  • 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.

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    Torquay to dismiss diving players
    21 Nov 06 |  Torquay United


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