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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Joe Jones: There will NEVER be a "Nottinghamshire City FC"

Thursday, just another day at Pride of Nottingham HQ, keeping tabs on the latest Notts County news from my super-plush office (dingy bedroom) and espresso machine (ASDA brand kettle and Nescafe), when I stumble upon this gem of an article.

"Could Nottingham Forest and Notts County merge?"

I spit my coffee out upon seeing these seven words. Great, that's another screen to be budgeted for. That's next week's sesh at the Beechdale out the window.

Just what is this article on about? This better be good.

Turns out it's not actual news, but an opinion piece on a football blog with probably the most unwieldy - and open to interpretation - name out there.

"It's Round and It's White". Which features the logo of a black and white football.

Righto, let's have a gander at what this "Warren Smith" has to say about my beloved Notts merging with the neighbours on the other side of the Trent.

Again, it better be good, because this is football sacrilege we're talking about.

"Clubs are often built on their strong individual identity, it’s their colours, crest and supporters which make the club what it is."

So far so good. A case of stating the obvious, mind, but he is not wrong.

"But, what about if you combine two clubs?"

Aaaaand no. Just no. This completely negates the "strong individual identity" he mentioned literally moments ago.

"An almost unthinkable prospect for most supporters – but in times of peril, could these two Nottinghamshire teams come together and go forward?"

It's not "almost unthinkable". It's "completely unthinkable". And neither club is "in peril". Sure, Forest are having some issues off the pitch, but they're - and oh god does it pain me to say this - a fairly big club with a decent history...

(cough, splutter, heave)

...so they are not in peril. And even if end up going the way of a Portsmouth or Leeds United, they are big enough to bounce back. They'll hardly go extinct - there will be buyers out there in the big wide world who will like the look of them.

And as for Notts, we may have been "in peril" several months ago, but with Alan Hardy having just taken over the club, things have stabilised a great deal. So, nothing to see here.

"Whilst club mergers are rarely heard of these days in the higher tiers of English football, we must not forget the successes that mergers have had. Newcastle United, Stoke City and Watford were all born out of multiple clubs putting aside their differences and coming together for the good of the local area."

You're talking decades ago, potentially the as far back 19th century, when football was a fledgling sport.

And though mergers may happen in the lower leagues (Hayes and Yeading is one I can think of), football is a lot more unstable there. Doing this anywhere in the professional game will be met with the same opposition as when Wimbledon became MK Dons.

Then there's a load of tosh in the article, which isn't worth commenting on, but here is the climax, which needs addressing:

"It’s often said in football cliché law, that nobody is bigger than the club. Well here’s a new one. No club is bigger than the city. The cities were here long before football; and the clubs have to pay the cities taxes, wages; just like any other business. Nottingham needs a good football club, now – before the rest of the country (and potentially world) forget the debt of gratitude owed to Nottingham. It’s that why the two clubs should put differences aside and come together, for the good of the city."

A football club brings a hell of a lot of revenue and attention to a city. When you think of Blackburn, what's the first thing that comes to mind? It ain't the textile sector, I'll tell you that.

And when Leicester City won the title last year, how much exposure did that give the city? Global, I'm telling you. The whole world was talking about this modest city in the East Midlands.

Nottingham does not "need" a "good football club". No city is entitled to a "good football club" because of its history or stature, and certainly does not warrant ripping up two clubs and gluing them together cut-and-shut style because of this petty sense of entitlement.

Neither Bristol nor Birmingham have top-flight clubs at the moment - should they just "merge together for the good of the city?" And then what? Do they get a bye to the Premier League?

I'll tell you what would happen - fans of both clubs would stay the hell away. And without fans, the clubs would go nowhere.

Franchising might work in the United States, where a club can be uprooted and moved elsewhere, or two clubs merged together, for the sake of "business".

But this isn't America. This is England. A football club is ingrained in a fan's very being. It's part of them. Uprooting that is like taking out a vital organ. Most fans would rather their club reborn in the 10th tier of the league pyramid as a phoenix club (witness AFC Wimbledon) than lose it for good.

So in conclusion, no. Forest and Notts will never merge. If this article was part of some college assignment, then I hope it's not read by a tutor who likes football.

And if you wrote it to bait fans, well then, shame on you.

Oh, and one more thing.

"Nottinghamshire City FC"? Really?

I could eat a bowl of alphabet pasta, leave it a couple of hours, and come up with a better name looking at the contents of my toilet bowl.

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before a few years ago this would not bother me as much, though i think its just plain stupid to suggest especially when you do not come from nottingham.

nice read jj.

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The Nottinghamshire FC thing must have been bait, you can't really suggest two teams merge and choose that as a rational 'suggestion' for the clubs name.

And besides, we are quite happy (as will Forest fans).

Our problem is more with the direction our owners have been leading the two clubs, luckily for us we have been taken over but I couldn't imagine any of my red friends would think differently. Many opposition fans speak of how much history Notts have, again same for Forest but together? There would be no meaning.

It simply wouldn't be the same.

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Fantastic read ... much enjoyed article .. something my grandad said many times ... being a county and forest fan please note he was born in 1917. So I always loved that idea of bring one team forest and county together I say would be a good team but as there always been 2!  It may annoy people. But joe jones a good read. More like this please thought provoking 👍🏻👍🏻

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