After injury saw him released from Leeds United, he signed for the old Emley in 1994. In his 10 years with the club he captained the side during their glorious FA Cup run to Upton Park in 1998.
More than most, Nicholson is part of the reason the second incarnation of the club has such high expectations and it still a big draw for supporters and players alike. “The prestige of this club sells itself and when the opportunity came up, I knew this was the right time to get back to the Welfare Ground. Wherever I’ve played or coached, there’s still nowhere that compares to Emley.”
In the newly appointment management trio, assistant Nicholson is the footballing link between the two joint managers Mark Wilson and Richard Tracey.
It’s with Tracey that Nicholson has the more recent history - serving as a player and assistant manager to Tracey at Ossett Albion over four seasons. But it’s the decades later reunion with Wilson – Emley team mates in the nineties – that will have both fans and the pair reminiscing: “Me and Mark have been in touch ever since we left Emley. He’s been a life-long friend, to be honest with you. Same age as me. I grew up playing football against him and then with him”.
Few would disagree with Nicholson’s assessment of his old friend as a “hot head” on the pitch but he thinks the 2019 version of Wilson will surprise people with his seriousness to his senior role in the dugout.
In return, Wilson says his former team mate is “a winner” and that’s Nicholson’s approach as assistant: “We’ll get it down and we’ll knock it about, but it’s results that count and results that matter. We want to get it down and play some football, but I don’t think you can do that all the time. It’s about playing effective football and doing that in the conditions that you’ve got.”
Nicholson’s final thought is the memory of playing in front of bumper crowds – far bigger than should be watching football in a small West Yorkshire village: “We’d like to see everybody back that used to come and watch and make this club great again because that’s our aim. It’s a big club is this. It’s a sleeping giant. We all can’t wait to get started.”