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Last Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007, 09:56 GMT
Kevin Nolan column
The January transfer window is now open

By Kevin Nolan
Bolton captain

The January transfer window is now open and I expect to hear all sorts of rumours in the next month.

When I see Bolton fans out and about I hear a lot from them about who the club are supposed to be signing. They might ask you about rumours regarding your own future.

A few weeks ago people were telling me that I had been spotted at Bellefield, Everton's training ground. I can tell you that this is simply not true.

As far as I know the players at Bolton do not read newspapers too often. I don't think I have bought one for a couple of years.

The only time I tend to read a newspaper is when my Granddad pops round to my house and brings one with him.

Some of the rumours I hear are pure fantasy.

I don't take them too seriously, I don't think that as a player you have much choice, but I also believe that if anything was going to happen in regard to my future I'd be the last to hear about it.

People think that I must be ducking the issue when I say this but players are often the last to know about comings and goings.

Tal Ben Haim
Being linked with different clubs - as Tal Ben Haim is at the moment - can be unsettling

Several times the manager has introduced me to a new signing and, in my capacity as captain, asked me to introduce him to the rest of the team. That initial meeting will be the first I'll have known about him.

The transfer window can be a tough time for some players, especially those who are out of contract in the summer.

They are inevitably linked with numerous clubs and this can be quite unsettling.

We have a couple of players in that situation - Tal Ben Haim being one of them. Lots of different papers are linking him with different clubs.

At training we tend to try to make a bit of a joke out of it, telling him that we are sick of him and that now the transfer window is open we might be able to get rid of him!

But although Tal might be going through a bit of a tough time sorting out the right contract for him, his team-mates will not be making it any worse by constantly asking if he is going to sign a new deal.

On a serious note, I think Tal wants to stay at Bolton. He has done well since he came to us and he has been well looked after.

People sometimes forget the difficulties for a foreign player adjusting to life in England

When a player arrives from abroad we have a liaison officer whose job is to help them settle in the area.

There are all sorts of issues to consider; whether to buy or rent a house, which area to live in, sorting out schools, cars and all the day-to-day issues that English players never really consider.

For example, after foreign players have been in the country for a certain period of time they need to acquire a UK licence.

The liason officer helps them find an instructor so they can pass the test and drive themselves to training.

For the players who cannot speak English, it is even more difficult and the liaison officer plays a crucial role at the club.

People sometimes forget the difficulties involved when foreign players sign for a Premiership club.

In addition to the cultural differences and the fast, physical style of play in the Premiership, several players we have signed at Bolton have arrived from countries that are hot all year and have struggled to adjust to our climate.

All of these factors have a real impact and it makes me laugh when people say that Andrei Shevchenko is a massive flop.

OK, he has been far from his best but it often takes more than a few months for a player to settle in England - as his Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba has proven.

At Bolton we do not tend to bring too many players to the club in January. I'm much more likely to notice the manager working hard to sign players during pre-season.

The truth is that the manager cannot afford to miss many training sessions, in which we are working on important areas such as team shape and tactics, because we have so many important games coming up.

These start at Doncaster on Saturday.

We are out of the Carling Cup and we know that the FA Cup is our best remaining chance of collecting some silverware.


Kevin, how many of your Bolton team-mates read this column? Have players from other teams said they have read this?
Stuart, Nottingham, England

I'm not too sure about players from other teams - it is not the sort of thing that would be talked about on the field of play.

As for the Bolton lads, I know that a couple of the players read it when they use the internet. Outside of the club, though, virtually everybody I know reads it now and it is something that I really enjoy doing.

When a player signs for a club, who decides what squad number he receives?
Rob , England

I would say that the player generally decides.

When he signs for a club the kit man will give him a sheet which shows him the available numbers.

When he has chosen a number the kit man will check with the manager to make sure he has no problem with the choice and that will be that.

Hi Kevin I have a question regarding Nicolas Anelka. After he scores he makes a gesture of what appears to be a bird and I wondered what it means?
Michelle Deluce, UK

I don't actually know myself.

We have been asking him in training and it appears to be something of a secret. The hand movement seems to resemble a butterfly and he makes quite a strange sound as he does so.

Dear Kevin, I am a West Ham supporter. After you guys destroyed us 4-0, I started to have a lot of doubt about the Hammers staying up. What do you think about our situation and do you think we can stay in the Premiership?
Morris Cohen, Australia

It was a big shame when Alan Pardew got the sack - I thought he did fantastically well with the club last season, it was very refreshing and similar to what Reading are doing this campaign.

To reach the FA Cup final in their first season back in the Premiership was also a magnificent achievement.

But in many ways I think the second season back in the Premiership is much more difficult than the first. Having done so well last season West Ham might have thought it would become easier but that is not the case. A lot of teams have raised their game against them.

Other factors have gone against them and they have lost games they should really have drawn or even won - but when you are down towards the bottom, stuck in a bit of a rut, situations often go against you.

I thought that when we played them - Pardew's last game in charge - they started quite well. After we scored we controlled the game but did not create all that many chances and 4-0 was perhaps a little bit harsh on West Ham.

I think that West Ham can stay up - they certainly have the quality to do so and some players with plenty of experience as well.

The 6-0 defeat at Reading might yet turn out to be a blessing - make them totally aware of the situation they are in and the need to fight for their Premiership survival.

  • 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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    Bolton bullish on Ben Haim future
    03 Jan 07 |  Bolton Wanderers


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