KEVIN NOLAN reckons that Newcastle are better off without Andy Carroll - and so are his kids!
Some of the Toon army will not agree when they see Carroll taking on his hometown club wearing the red of Liverpool.
But Nolan is adamant the astonishing 35million banked by owner Mike Ashley will fire his club onto the next level - even if his wife has lost a babysitter.
Providing Carroll passes a fitness test, tomorrow promises to be an emotional afternoon for the Liverpool-born Toon skipper.
The two are the best of pals and Carroll, 22, lived at Nolan's house last year as part of bail conditions on an assault charge that was later dropped.
Hitman Carroll also had his Range Rover torched while it was parked on Nolan's drive.
Three months later, though, Carroll was off to Merseyside and the Nolan family lost their long-haired, live-in nanny.
Was Carroll's caring side hard to replace? Nolan laughed: "You're joking, aren't you? I wouldn't leave him with my kids. He'd probably have the house burned down, or the car!
"People blame Andy for going but you can't really blame anyone - the money was absolutely unbelievable for the club.
"If a club pays 35m for you, anyone in any business would say you've got to go. If you can get four or five players in for that, it works the best way.
"It's worked out better for us that Andy has gone although we'd love to have him still.
"If he was here we'd probably have a few more points and would be able to build a great team around him."
The idea of hellraiser Carroll stopping with Nolan, 28, and his missus was a strange one and he added: "When you look back on it now, it was very bizarre but it worked.
"In our family that's what we do for our friends, I've been brought up like that.
"Even now down in Liverpool my family are there for him. Even though he feels detached from his family, he knows if he needs it he's got someone to go and lean on."
It could have gone wrong for Alan Pardew's men after flogging Carroll.
But Toon have continued to battle and can now sit back knowing their Premier League survival is all but secured.
Nolan added: "We're not just a one-man band, everyone's seen that. We've done well."