Nolan: Newcastle was like a fishbowl
West Ham United midfielder Kevin Nolan said he found life in Newcastle to be "hectic" and like a "fishbowl".
Nolan, 30, joined Newcastle in 2009 and became captain but, amid a contract dispute with the club, left to sign for newly-relegated West Ham two years later.
Despite his rather sudden departure, Nolan said he still had great admiration for his former club and had made the decision to move on purely on the strength of the Hammers' interest.
"What I saw was that I had a club that wanted me," he told ESPN. "The owners wanted me - they did their best to get me in. To pay the money that they did when they had dropped down to the Championship showed what it meant for them to have me at their club.
"A lot of things got said about my time at Newcastle, but I loved my time there and respect everybody up there. It was time for me to move on. I don't think my place was ever under threat at Newcastle. If I stayed there, I knew I would be in the team."
Nolan was a popular figure on Tyneside and contributed 12 goals in his final season but, though he has nothing but admiration for the club, he has indicated that he found living in the city could be intrusive.
"You can just get lost in London," he said. "Nobody bothers you. It is so easy in restaurants, nobody comes over and you can really relax and enjoy it. It is quite mad coming from Newcastle, where it is pure hectic - fishbowl-type."
He added: "You've got everything else around it [London] like the O2 and the theatre. We've got it all down here - it is fantastic. I didn't think I would come south.
"I always wanted to come home after a couple of days in London because it was too hectic, but I have loved every minute of it."
Jermaine Jenas, who left Newcastle for Tottenham in 2005, was quoted as having made similar comments upon his departure from St James' Park, although he has since insisted he never referred to the city as a "goldfish bowl".