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Where has it all gone wrong at Notts County?

Notts County went into the new League Two campaign as one of the pre-season promotion favourites following on from last season which saw the Magpies reach the playoffs defying all expections. There was a real hope last season with Notts riding high up the table, many tipping and even expecting them to go up automatically, but the form after Christmas left fans wondering if they would even make the playoffs, which they did only to beaten by eventual winners Coventry City.

But 7 League games in to the new season, Notts are still yet to win a single game. They have now gone 9 games in all competitions without a win. Losing on penalties to Middlesbrough following a 3-3 draw after 90 mins in the EFL Cup. Losing 2-1 to Grimsby Town in the EFL Trophy despite showing a dominant first half display under new manager Harry Kewell. 

Notts invested heavily during the summer on recruits which was needed to boost the team to push on and get one step further than last season and achieve promotion.

Kristian Dennis, Kane Hemmings and Enzio Boldewijn came in and fans were ecstatic about these signings as they have proven what they are capable of in League Two. David Vaughan and Andy Kellett were bought in for a bit of experience. Will Patching and Tom Crawford also arrived to bring some youth to the team. Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ben Hall returned on loan, Nathan Thomas were also new additions to the squad to add depth.

Following on from poor defensive displays that cost Notts leads and points, Elliott Ward was drafted in to add a bit of stability to a frail defence. Rob Milsom also returned alongside Harry Kewell when he was announced as manager from Crawley Town.

Notts haven't won a competitive fixture since the 21st of April 2018 when they beat Yeovil Town convincingly 4-1 at Meadow Lane. This season, from a defensive point of view, they have been shambolic, having conceded 21 goals in their first 7 league games, an average of 3 goals conceded per game. The last time Notts conceded 20+ goals after 7 games was all the way back in 1888-89 when they conceded 23. 

Fans have shown their frustrations in the club and players this season following on from poor displays. Many speculate that there is something going on behind the scenes that we aren't aware of that is affecting the team.

During the summer, Shola Ameobi & Alan Smith left the club. Which begs the question, did they have some influence on & off the pitch? They have both got Premier League experience and we often seen them animated on and off the pitch last season.

Nolan, Kewell and fans have also pointed out that the players don't seem to have enough energy to go the full 90 as they look like burning out after 60 minutes. Mike Edwards was Strength and Conditioning coach but departed from his role this summer, could this be a reason or is that just a coincidence?

There is clearly something not quite right at this club, whatever it is it needs addressing and it needs addressing fast. The status of 'The World's Oldest Football League Club' hangs in the balance, it might be early doors yet but things need to start improving fast!

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The issue is a mix of things.

I have said that the fitness hasn't been good since the pre-season, usually the players look much more engaged with games but I don't think it's just that - yes we Mike Edwards quite clearly but it's also not that simple. The players need to mark better, we have defended very loosely for years and someone should be telling them to press much more.

Also, they don't take responsibility for their own actions that well - they need to be more practical and hard-working on the field.

I do feel Notts miss the experience, however at the same time the experience we do have remaining has been underwhelming.

To move forward, the players have to work harder and ensure that the ball is well protected. I don't feel things will improve that much until the club has a more vocal and experienced goalkeeper though. There's a lot holding Notts back, yet sadly for me Ross Fitzsimons hasn't taken his chance to secure the number 1 position.

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The football at times has been good but confidence, fitness and work rates haven't been good enough. I am convinced that the teams good enough, they just need to realise and work on what is holding them all back. It's mostly individual errors on the pitch.

I feel there's more to the issue but I don't think the club speaking about overspending helps, the players may be worried about that.

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The pressure of promotion may have had something to do with it but this can't be used as an excuse either. Losing games takes impact and it grows harder to break, winning seems impossible and Notts have fallen into this trap.

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Overspending on the player budget seems like a big risk.

It must have been known as it seemed to be focused on generating season ticket sales, it would have been nice for it to pay off. I don't know what the fix or the issue is, it would seem there is more happening.

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I really don't know what to think. After reading the thing Alan Hardy said about giving Managers more time, is he listening too much to people on social media. Maybe Nolan could have turned things around again. Just dont know whats going on behind the scenes either do we. 

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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