Kevin Nolan says he was “sad” to see Sunderland suffer a second successive relegation – as he wants to see them in the same division as Newcastle United.
Nolan could be managing in the same league as Sunderland next season.
The former Newcastle midfielder hopes to take Notts County into League One through the play-offs.
The League Two club take on Coventry City at Meadow Lane tomorrow night in the second leg of their semi-final, having drawn 1-1 at the Ricoh Arena at the weekend.
Nolan scored four goals in his two derby appearances for Newcastle against Sunderland. And the 35-year-old – who recruited former United striker Shola Ameobi after taking charge last season – says Tyne-Wear derbies are “special” games.
“I know Newcastle fans aren’t going to like me for this, but I didn’t want to see Sunderland in League One,” said Nolan.
I know Newcastle fans aren’t going to like me for this, but I didn’t want to see Sunderland in League One. There’s no better feeling (than a derby). I didn’t lose a derby game.Kevin Nolan
“There’s no better feeling (than a derby). I didn’t lose a derby game.
“I love Sunderland in the Premier League or Championship, whatever league we were in. I wanted them to be there. For me, it was points on the board.”
Nolan and Ameobi still talk about the derbies against Sunderland.
“They’re special,” said Nolan.
“I’ve got Shola working with me now, and we still talk about the Newcastle days.
“I go back to it (promotion in 2009-10) with my team, and talk about how we did it and how much of a solid unit we were.
“Those days against Sunderland are up there with it.
“That’ll live with me forever, and it’s so sad to see them in that predicament now, because I love watching that derby. It brings back great memories of the hat-trick and scoring at the Stadium of Light.
“I had my debut in a 0-0 and cleared one off the line. I don’t forget things like that. It’s etched there. I bought into everything about what being a Geordie was about.”
On the job at Notts County, Nolan said: “When I got this opportunity, I don’t think I could turn it down.
“With it being black and white, it made it even better.”