Five thousand, thanks.
It’s been a few years in the making, but this weekend Notts County finally play their 5,000th Football League match away to Gillingham. It will be our 888th fourth division match. We’ve spent the largest share of our Football League existence in the third division (1528 matches), with 1516 matches played in the second division (now the Championship) and 1068 in the top flight, albeit mostly before the war.
We are the eighth club to reach the landmark, after Preston, Burnley, Wolves, Derby, Bolton, West Brom and Blackburn. Blackburn played their 5000th league game last month, and we could overtake them and West Brom in terms of League games if either win promotion to the Premier League.
So how did things work out in our previous landmark games? Let’s have a trip back in time!
10 January 1998: Rochdale 1-2 Notts County (Jones, Robinson); att. 2387
This was a sixth straight win on the way to winning the fourth division under Sam Allardyce, leaving us seven points clear at the top of the division. Shaun Derry started for Notts; he would leave the club a few weeks later. We were the first club to play 4000 league matches, with number 4000 originally scheduled to be played at home to Hull City and special match programmes printed. Unfortunately it was postponed, so we reached the landmark at Spotland instead.
Key figures: Darren Ward, Ian Hendon, Gary Jones
UK prime minister: Tony Blair (Lab)
UK number one: Various Artists – Perfect Day
25 March 1975: Notts County 2-2 Nottingham Forest (Scanlon, Richardson (OG)9; att. 20,303
We played our nearest and dearest in the second division for our 3000th. Notts, managed by Jimmy Sirrel, were comfortably in mid-table at the time and might have had a stab at promotion but for a leaky defence. The visitors were perched precariously above the relegation zone and had just appointed a new manager called Brian. We eventually finished 14th, just a couple of places and points higher than Forest.
Key figures: David Needham, Bill Brindley, Ian Scanlon
UK prime minister: Harold Wilson (Lab)
UK number one: Bay City Rollers – Bye Bye Baby
13 December 1952: Notts County 5-0 Blackburn Rovers (Ken McPherson (4), Edwards); att. 10,222
We celebrated our 2000th league game in style with this win in the second division. We started the game comfortably in mid-table while Blackburn were struggling, but over the course of the season Notts found wins hard to come by and eventually finished 19th, just three points clear of the relegation zone. In the early 1950s, the club’s envisaged march to the top flight had stalled, and Tommy Lawton had left the club the previous season. We had another five seasons in the second division, mostly fighting relegation, but by the end of the decade we had dropped into the fourth division for the first time.
Key figures: Leon Leuty, Cecil McCormack, Tommy Deans
UK prime minister: Winston Churchill (Con)
UK number one: Al Martino – Here in my Heart (this was the very first UK number one!)
25 February 1922: West Ham United 2-1 Notts County (Cook); att. 20,000
Notts started this Division Two match perched handily behind the promotion places, but following this defeat we won only one more match all season and finished in a disappointing 13th, at the time our lowest ever league position. Better times were to come though: we finished top the following season, heralding a three-year stint in the top flight. Our goalkeeper at this time was one Albert Iremonger.
Key figures: Albert Iremonger, Billy Flint, Harold Hill
UK prime minister: David Lloyd George (Lib)
Thanks go to the brilliant Up The Maggies site; I wouldn’t have been able to work out our 1000th and 2000th games without it! Additionally, there's the EFL website featuring their exclusive "5000 club". Disclaimer: I’m rubbish at maths.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. The Pride of Nottingham very much values your time visiting our site and, we are very appreciated for being here to share the journey of Notts County with you!