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Noisy Neighbours

Son of Berti

Anyone who kept an eye on League Two last season will have deduced that it is almost impossible for a Club to sustain a high performance level allied to a top league position for the duration of a long exhausting 46 match season in a league which takes no prisoners.

Chairmen and Managers who make the strategic decision to invest heavily in a compact squad of just 16 or so (relatively) costly players may well see their Club jockeying for a top seven position up until Christmas only to find that injuries, suspensions and heavy pitches begin to take their toll in January.

As a consequence they are forced to bring both youth team players through the ranks quicker than is wise and loan players in what turns out to be more often than not a desperate but vain attempt to maintain league position. They watch their hopes of promotion fade quicker than the February sun.

And in their position, you have to ask yourself whether you really want to further jeopardise your chances of promotion by increasing the risk of injury or suspension, by committing your top players to FA Cup, Carling Cup, and Johnson’s Paint Trophy games on top of the 46-game gruelling league campaign.

When Big Sam Allardyce managed Notts County, he made no secret of the fact that he had absolutely no interest in Cup competitions, as his focus was solely on achieving promotion. At least his honesty saved fans a few quid as only the die-hards were willing to part with their hard-earned cash to watch a half-hearted effort on the pitch.

As I write this article on the coach travelling to Huddersfield for our Carling Cup match, I have to confess that I don’t have any idea what Ricardo Moniz’ cup ‘policy’ is going to be.

Will he want to give his ideal starting eleven another competitive 90 plus minutes to continue the gelling process?

Will he want to give those ‘fringe’ players who are knocking on the door a chance to impress him that they should be in the starting eleven for the next league game?

Will he want to give those players who have been injured some valuable rehab game minutes?

Or will he send out a blend of youth players, second-stringers, and those he wants to put in the shop window in the hope that a watching scout will see a potential loan target and reduce our wage bill by a few pennies?


(See after-game comment at the end of this article.)


Neither the Carling Cup (in its early rounds at least) and certainly not the JP Trophy games will attract large enough crowds to swell Clubs’ income levels significantly. Many season ticket holders stay away from these matches on principle, not understanding why their outlay at the beginning of the season shouldn’t include Cup games.

And the FA Cup matches won’t generate a dream, money-spinning, tie against Premiership opposition until the third round, at the very earliest.

So all that is left to generate any big interest in the early rounds of all three cup competitions is the prospect of a tasty local derby to draw in crowds looking to savour a crunch game.

Which brings us to this year’s opening round of the Johnsons Paintdrying Trophy, when Notts host their noisy neighbours, Mansfield Town. When I first heard news of the draw, I just thought: What a pity. The two teams will have already played each other earlier in the month in a league match and Mansfield are hardly a ‘glamour’ team.

But, thinking on, I realised that this tie actually has the prospect of generating added commitment on the pitch as well as enthusiasm in the stands because, unless the league game results in a draw, the losing side and its fans will be out for revenge and, quite possibly, there will be one or two individual scores to be settled on the pitch as well.

So what at first seemed (to Notts fans, at least) a disappointing 1st round JPT draw, may well turn out to be quite a feisty confrontation.

I, for one, am looking forward to it!

(After-game comment: As we all now know, RM sent out his strongest team at Huddersfield and what a brilliant display of commitment, vision, and ability we were treated to! I consider myself privileged to have been there to witness it.)

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I can see Notts winning this now, yet the tie hasn't impressed me to be honest - Yet I don't knock them but in an ideal world, a different team would have been nice.

We have to make the most of the games given, though the JPT isn't a competition many take seriously.

Bring on Mansfield again!

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i think the night sums up the disappointed about our inability to perform well in the games we need it to be spot on. huddersfield seemed amazing!

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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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