Kevin Nolan admits West Ham regret as he leaves the club
Kevin Nolan has admitted his regret at not joining West Ham earlier in his career after deciding to leave the club.
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.
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.
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."