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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Notts County 2015-16 Season Review: The Season From Hell

Finally, FINALLY, Notts County’s wretched season of 2015-16 has come to an end. Finally, we can consign one of our worst, most embarrassing and most mentally draining campaigns to the dustbin of history. But where do we go from here?

I had actually felt somewhat guilty after posting my previous column, where I had longed for the season to be over, but I then found out that a lot of people shared my views.

And when I say a lot of people, I mean virtually everyone I’ve spoken to at and around Meadow Lane, in the street and online. They ALL wanted this season over and done with.

Just over a month ago I flat out refused to come to Meadow Lane to watch Notts play Exeter in what turned out to be Jamie Fullarton’s last game in charge – good job I didn’t, because it ended 4-1 to the Grecians.

This brief mini-boycott came to an end just a week later when Fullarton’s brief reign came to an end and Mark Cooper came in his place, and indeed things turned round on the pitch, our fight against relegation ending in a positive note.

After safety was assured, however, it all fell apart again. We went from an upturn in form, which yielded two draws – including against champions, Northampton – and two wins, to losing three on the bounce and conceding 10 on the way, though a win against Newport seemed to somewhat alleviate the pain in the same manner paracetamol will stop a gunshot wound from hurting.

And then came the crowning moment to the whole farcical affair – the final game of the season against Carlisle United, which began under a bright blue sky and gorgeous hot weather, soon turned to clouds both above the pitch and on it.

It should have been a game of redemption where Notts ended the season on a high and secured either a draw or a win to officially crown Cooper as permanent manager.

This being Notts, of course, it had to go wrong. Cooper was heavily linked to the Forest Green Rovers – a team that, at the time of writing, was still in non-league – before the game, with both sources in Gloucestershire and our own Colin Slater saying he had opted to turn his back on the whole “points target” malark for something more stable and less farcical.

Indeed, the Magpies gave one of the worst performances of the season against the Cumbrian side, managed by Keith Curle – yet another of our ex-managers who has got a fair measure of revenge this season – the result of which was a 5-0 defeat.

And then, almost as perfectly timed as Earl Hebner’s scampering from the Montreal Screwjob (if you’re not a wrestling fan, Google it) or Craig Joubert’s sprint away from the pitch when Scotland were knocked out by Australia in the Rugby World Cup, so was Meadow Lane a shrinking object in Cooper’s wing mirror – he had bailed out on Notts no sooner the season was wrapped up.


So, here we are then. The 2015-16 season has come to an end, and I’m feeling like I’ve just done 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. I’m sure many fans will be feeling similar.

At the very least, is the future bright? Is it hell. We have no manager, we have an owner who wants to sell but, following a plethora of mixed messages in the media, seems no closer to do so, and we are lumbered with a load of players on two-year deals who seem to be just as disillusioned with the whole farce as us fans.

Let me ask you this, fellow Notts fans – over the last three seasons, how often have you actually felt like things were actually going well, either on the pitch or off?

I can pinpoint to a handful of moments at most – the Liverpool game, the Great Escape, the five-game winning run in October 2014, the 2015 off-season, the Aston Villa game, and securing safety this season. Out of about three years, we’re talking a total of three weeks, while the rest has been virtually all bad.

This season, in my opinion, has been the worst of the lot, bearing in mind the expectations we had at the start.

Just being consigned to this pathetic division is bad enough, but when we’re getting turned over by teams whose stadiums still have standing areas, who up until a few seasons ago were semi-professional non-league nobodies, whose badge features a PRAWN, then you know you’ve plumbed the deepest depths the likes of which you would need concrete shoes to reach.

Add to that being humiliated by a non-league side on national television, losing twice to your local rivals, falling to a record defeat against said local rivals, and all the chaos behind the scenes, and you have the perfect recipe for pretty much the worst season in recent memory – and Notts have had plenty of candidates since the turn of the century.

The other week, Cooper banished Liam Noble away from Meadow Lane and said he will deal with him when he feels like it. Now he won’t have to.

Us Notts fans haven’t got either of those luxuries, to either postpone the murky tasks or escape them altogether – once the season is over, it’ll be three months before we have to tune in again for another 46+ games.

The reality is that increasing numbers of fans are choosing not to deal with it anymore and are sacking it off. They won’t get season tickets. They are ignoring their heart, which tells them to support Notts through and through, and using their head, which is telling them not to bother anymore because of the heartache, grief, and wasted time and money.

In day to day life, relationships – in business, in love, in family, and whatever else – have their ups and downs, and people must take the rough with the smooth, but if the relationship isn’t going anywhere, if one party isn’t pulling their weight or, god forbid, if one party is abusive, then the other party is more than entitled to stop giving their other half any more chances and depart, never to look back.

If Notts County want to ensure that fans don’t abandon the club – which, as “sinful” as it is in the world of football, drastic times call for drastic measures – they need to make sure the relationship is fruitful, is going in the right direction, and isn’t abusive.

So for the sake of thousands of long suffering fans, Notts County, STOP MESSING US AROUND AND GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.

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You got straight to the point, with some humour inserts which made it very enjoyable to read and yes, Notts have to get their act together. If the club doesn't change hands, we need to find the right balance for direction and come together - put differences a-side and try to move forward in the right way.

If this can't be done, I'll be fearful for next season. I really am, but this season shouldn't be one which defines us.

It should be one which we strive towards improving from.

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So true - I guess that nothing will improve until we get new owners. We have no facts as to whether there are really 2 bidders only the word of a man who has deserted us and taken his name off the programme.

So, who will decide which players will be retained? Guy Branston who is a a big part of the current problems?

Who will plan our recruitment? What budget is there? Nothing can be set until the new owners are confirmed, so everything will go on hold and all the other teams will get ahead of us. 

So the fans will get more and more disallusioned and upset.

We need leadership and communication from our Club and we need it now.

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How can someone, rumoured to be living in Devon, be head of recruitment at Notts County? What the heck does he know about any of these players? He needs to be gone sharpish.  Glad the season is done. 

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