The Bells Are Ringing


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Nolberto Solano

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Nolberto Solano

Post by Guest on Thu May 01, 2014 8:46 pm

Geordie Evening Chronic

Barely any mention of us in there and fairly centric upon his time at Newcastle (well it is from the local Newcastle paper) but interesting to see where he's ended up. Managing a second-tier North American side.

Nobby Solano ready to turn the page on his playing career and move on to the coaching manual
Nobby Solano admits he could probably write a book about his life in football.

But instead prefers to look back at his career as more of a coaching manual.

And that’s just as well because Solano’s climb up the managerial ladder is well under way.

The Peruvian legend had already began to cut his teeth in coaching during his time at Hartlepool United at the end of his career in England.

But when the chance to manage Universitario de Deportes in his home country came up it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

Managing the cash-strapped outfit Primera Liga side was far from an easy task and with the Lima side deep in relegation trouble he managed to pull them away from danger and guide them to a respectable position.

Solano left the club in 2012 and while he had plenty of offers to coach around the world, he now finds himself in Canada as head coach of Toronto International.

His aim will be to nurture talent in North America’s League One Ontario but he will also work closely with Canada coach and former Real Madrid and Barcelona manager Benito Floro.

Solano told me from Toronto: “This is the perfect challenge for me.

“There are brilliant facilites here and it’s a great chance to work with some young players and nurture them.

“I love to pass on what I have I learned to them. Being a player is one of the best things in the world.

“And when you retire, you do miss it. A lot.

“But then you realise that you can still have that day to day enjoyment of being involved.

“And that’s what I love the most.

“You can guide young players and steer them away from making mistakes.”

Solano arrived at Newcastle as one of Peru’s favourite and most famous sons.

You simply don’t get much of a bigger name than Solano in Lima.

He’s still big news and many people’s tip to eventually coach the national side in the long-term.

For now he is focusing on using his experiences in England as an education.

It was back in 1998 that United paid £2.5million for the playmaker’s services from Boca Juniors under Kenny Dalglish.

Solano says: “I quickly found out what English football was all about!

“I’d only been here a few weeks and Kenny was fired.

“I didn’t quite know what was going on but it started to be filtered through to me that despite Newcastle reaching the FA Cup final in the previous year in 1998, the Premier League form wasn’t good enough.

“This was confusing for me at the time because we’d started with two draws!

“One against Charlton at home then a very respectable 1-1 draw at Chelsea when I made my debut. But my Newcastle career started with controversy and Kenny was replaced by Ruud Gullit at a time when I was learning about the English game.”

Working with big-names like Dalglish and Gullit didn’t faze Solano though.

After all he had played in the same side as Diego Maradona at Boca Juniors. It was Maradona who nicknamed Nobby “The little Maestrito”.

Solano said: “Working with Diego was a real thrill for me.

“This was in 1997 after Maradona had been a big star at the World Cup.

“But I picked up so much from him and he understandably had an aura around him.

“He called me the Little Maestrito.

“They were good times but even then I always wanted to test myself in one of the big leagues in Europe.”

Solano’s popularity on Tyneside mirrored life in his own country, he quickly settled in and admits he felt like an “adopted Geordie”.

He said: “I always feel at home when I am back in Newcastle.

“The people are very warm and friendly.

“When you play for Newcastle you must realise you aren’t just doing a normal job.

“To pull the shirt on is like an honour and you have to respect, try your hardest and realise that if you want to go out for a coffee or a beer after the game at the weekend, you need to win.

“Everybody wants to talk about football and it is not like London where you can escape from the fans.

“For me that is a good thing because when you are playing you have a passionate crowd behind you.

“They keep you going during the games.”

But one thing that didn’t just keep going was continuity at Newcastle for Solano.

No sooner had Dalglish been shown the door, it was the turn of Gullit a year later – in similar circumstances.

Indeed, at the start of the 1999/2000 campaign Gullit found himself under immense pressure and after a slow start, his fate rested on the Tyne-Wear derby.

Dropping Alan Shearer, Duncan Ferguson and Rob Lee meant that Gullit HAD to win.

And after fielding youngsters like Jamie McClen and Paul Robinson he cranked up the pressure on himself just days after suggesting that the Tyne-Wear tussle wasn’t as big as the Milan affair which he’d experienced in his days of stardom in Serie A.

It meant that Solano had the chance to work with another great name in Bobby Robson though.

Solano said: “Bobby was a great man.

“We got into the Champions League again under him and we had a great team.

“We had Alan Shearer and he was the best striker we could have, and then he had me, Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy in the mix too and we scored lots of goals.

“Getting Newcastle into the Champions League was a great experience.”

And remembering the team spirit and banter, keen trumpet player Nobby added: “Everybody has heard the story about the trumpet with Bobby.

“He didn’t know I played it.

“But I brought my trumpet over from South America and enjoyed playing after training.

“Sometimes that was in the dressing room and I once performed a duet with Gary Speed.

“I could play Careless Whisper and You Make Me Feel Brand New by Simply Red.

“One night I rang Bobby on a withheld number and began playing it down the telephone. He soon found out who the culprit was but it was all part of the dressing room spirit.”

Solano was moved on to Aston Villa in 2004 in a move that didn’t strike a chord with United supporters.

But after Sir Bobby left the club, Graeme Souness bought him back and on the same day as striker Michael Owen arrived in front of 20,000 fans, Solano was also presented back to the crowd.

He said: “It was a nice welcome back but I felt I was back at home again.

“We managed to get back into Europe in the UEFA Cup when Graeme left and it was under Glenn Roeder that we got the buzz back of taking the fans into Europe.

“I’d love to see Newcastle get back into Europe again some day.”

At the moment though Solano is focused on coaching.

Toronto is a football city that have their own representation in Major League Soccer.

Solano is keeping tabs on different techniques of coaching and admits he never stops learning.

He said: “In football you can’t learn too much.

“There is always a different way, or a different system or just a different way of thinking.

“I just try to use everything that I have learned from all my managers down the years.

“You take a little bit from all of them.

“Maybe one day I will write a book but for now I like to use it as a guide to help me through”

Solano admits he still enjoys playing his trumpet but his main aim is to hit the high notes in the world of management and coaching.

If his playing career is anything to go by, he’s got every chance.

Anybody got any memories of Solano in Claret & blue to add? I thought he was a decent player for us. Certainly undertated in his time here.


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Re: Nolberto Solano

Post by Guest on Thu May 01, 2014 8:55 pm

Last time I saw him he was in a betting shop in Hull losing a few ££ on the roulette machines...


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Re: Nolberto Solano

Post by Guest on Thu May 01, 2014 9:54 pm

I named a Hamster after him.


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Re: Nolberto Solano

Post by Guest on Thu May 01, 2014 10:15 pm

AndyD wrote:Last time I saw him he was in a betting shop in Hull losing a few ££ on the roulette machines...

Doesn't sound too good...

The season he left us was my first year living away from home  when I went to university. It is therefore the only season that I tend to be a bit sketchy on. 

Didn't Solano leave us under a bit of a cloud? Did he ask for a move or something?Anybody care to enlighten me?


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Re: Nolberto Solano

Post by Guest on Thu May 01, 2014 11:37 pm

I was in Prague and remember saying to my dad, god bless him, that at least we have kept hold of Nobby (don't know why?) then 'breaking news' Nobby returns to Newcastle...


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Re: Nolberto Solano

Post by Guest on Thu May 01, 2014 11:57 pm

AndyD wrote:I was in Prague and remember saying to my dad, god bless him, that at least we have kept hold of Nobby (don't know why?) then 'breaking news' Nobby returns to Newcastle...

Tell you  what though, he was good value overall. We got a cracking player and he teamed up well with the forwards we had.


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Re: Nolberto Solano

Post by Jim on Sun May 11, 2014 9:02 pm

Its true he handed in a transfer request to return to Newcastle, one that was rejected by the club, he then got sent off against Portsmouth in his final game for us and then returned to Newcastle for £1.5million + milner on loan

great player for the 18 months we had him mind

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