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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Joe Jones: Calling for Kevin Nolan to lose Notts County job is deluded

I know I'm not the only Notts County fan who feels deflated following the last couple of months at Meadow Lane, seeing a side that, following full time in the New Year's Day win over Port Vale, was second in League Two - four points behind then leaders Luton Town and seven clear of fourth - now in fifth, seven adrift of the top three and just four above eighth.

We've seen Notts put in superb performances this season and also grind out results, and it was superb to see - and obviously expectations rose as the prospect of automatic promotion, or perhaps the title, was a real possibility, and so having such hopes dashed is painful.

However, this is where perspective and hindsight come into play. The bulk of the team this season is the same as that of last season - in 2016-17 Notts were punching below their weight for the first half, before Alan Hardy and Kevin Nolan arrived and lifted each of the players to punch above their weight, and indeed safety was ensured before the final day.

This time round, the players got off to a flying start in the league (aside from the Coventry opener) and soon enough we were topping the table, and as the weeks went on, the Magpies continued to impress - still very much punching above their weight.

But an EFL campaign is very much a marathon, and as it turned out, Notts might have led the pack early on, but the rigours of the 46-game season, plus all the other cup competitions, will take their toll on the players physically and mentally.

From a transfer perspective, January didn't go to plan - losing Ryan Yates was a huge blow and I don't feel we've fully recovered from it; Mason Bennett was good but injury prone and unfortunately he got sidelined in his first full game; Matty Virtue has been sub-par, while Liam Noble and Noor Husin have been decent but not superb - and certainly not . I think only Ben Hall has been a legitimately great signing.

Alongside losing Yates, the Bennett loan was also a massive blow, given how Shola Ameobi and Jon Stead could now not get their rest, and indeed they have completely run out of steam.

But calling for Kevin Nolan to be sacked, as some people have been doing, is very much a joke, except for the fact they seem to be serious.

Yes, Notts have all but fluffed automatic promotion; yes, Notts are in poor form and face a battle just to stay in the playoffs; yes, I'm not especially confident that they could succeed if they do finish in the playoffs.

But would I have taken worrying in the top seven of the table rather than the bottom two? Absolutely. Do I think Nolan and Hardy will be wiser come the end of the season, whether we get promoted or not? Yes. And do I think both of them, plus the better players in the squad, would remain at ML and a summer of good recruitment could see Notts build on and have a team that could genuinely fight for promotion next season? Yes, I do.

Pep Guardiola didn't meet expectations last season at Manchester City, finishing without a trophy. Sir Alex Ferguson wasn't much cop in his first few seasons at Manchester United. But they were afforded time, in spite of some braying fans calling for them to be sacked, and they went on to greatness.

Nolan is a young manager and has a lot to learn - same as Hardy in terms of owning a football club. And it's not like we're fighting for our EFL life, like we were last season - worst comes to worst, we spend next season in League Two, we can add a few more pieces to the jigsaw, and we go again.

All I know is, anyone calling for Nolan to be sacked is outright deluded - remember what happened with Keith Curle a few seasons ago? Gunning for promotion into the Championship, yet even that didn't seem good enough for some, and now what most of us wouldn't give to be there now. So be careful what you wish for, because as disappointing as things may seem now, they could be much, much worse.

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I'm not the biggest fan of his attitude or weaknesses, yet he's earned my support and really at this stage sacking him seems mad.

I do understand why some are and, naturally will.

Just for me he needs to continue and we need that stability, if he doesn't get his ideas right it might be harder but I think he'll re-access in the summer and bounce back.

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Sometimes, I believe social media is a total blight! It 'allows' folk to say things they wouldn't normally do (if they first engaged their brain before speaking) and the "absolutely no filters" comments I've seen this Season aimed directly at players, the Gaffer and the Chairman, leave me cold!

It's clear that many of these moaners have never been in any positions of authority; you know, the one where you rally your troops to do well for you with a pat on the back, rather than a smack in the teeth or by calling them out and causing them embarrassment!

I don't think anyone needs reminding of "where we were last year" but I DO think they need reminding we have a new-to-Management-Gaffer who's inherited this team - and done WELL; and that the 'learning curve/s' he and the Chairman have gone through in their first year, can only make them stronger in the coming months - not to make the same mistakes, twice.

WE REALLY DON'T NEED A CHANGE OF MANAGER: what we truly need is a 'change of attitude/manners/support' in some folk who purport to be 'fans' of this historic club but who just harangue, moan, criticise and seek to bring down, the heart of the club they claim to love!

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Great comments @Lozzle1 I couldn’t have said it better myself Social Media has a lot to answer for. I get sick of reading the comments from our so called supporters on Twitter and Facebook. I remember the old days when if you wanted to criticise the club, manager or players the worst you could do was write a letter to the football post other than that you moaned to your mates down the pub after the match. :biggrin:

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