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Central midfield "Lost in Space"

Shortcomings of a defence that cannot mark and strikers that cannot score, despite the 000's spent, the central midfield area is one which is being overlooked. @ARLukomski twitter posting is so relevant: Along with Milsom, we must have one of the most ineffective midfields in this division. Do I see any real quality, the answer has to be no. Milsom's 1st half v Swindon, showed what was possible but there is no real pace to cover the ground whilst in possession. Hewitt has long been viewed as an asset by some supporters but all his running is defensively, without the ball, offering nothing in an offensive attacking sense January will be crucial to correct this crucial area of the pitch...Thoughts?

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Loans, players in hindsight Notts could have possibly signed

Glenn Roeder Jack Dunnett's £ for £ matching supporters donations never happened Colin Foster Outstanding centre half loan signing from West Ham. It's easy to say "class" and he fitted that description Tom Ince Easy to see how he has carved a career in the top 2 divisions Lloyd Sam Great close control established him as a favourite at the San Sirrel. Matt Richie One escapee from the Munto era. Had Notts had signed him, Raymundo could have had a saleable asset to sort out the Munto financial mess he inherited.      

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Recruitment, recruitment, recruitment

When Alan Hardy took over at Notts, and then welcomed questions on either the Official Notts Co twitter or Nottingham Posts questions and answers...I submitted questions on the quality of our recruitment process, citing Brentford and Accrington as the "optimum" to aspire to. Needless to say, on countless opportunities, my questions remained unanswered We are now faced with a bloated squad with key positions short of the quality needed ( goal scoring striker in Akinde mould), Central midfield king pin in Bishop / O'Connor mould,( Harry Pell fitted the bill), a Goalkeeper to compete with Fitzsimons ( Pindroch cannot).. Yes, there will be trimming of the squad, but who are going to take our "surplus"? For an owner that is always quoting the mantra "best in class". our League Position shows the actual class in recruitment. Having said that, the owner has backed the manager with the cash and it has been blown away  

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Kewell's Dutch philosophy

an interesting read from The Guardian on his influences https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/sep/07/harry-kewell-frank-rijkaard-notts-county Frank Rikjaard noted as being a main influence I may not have been a fan of Harry's initial appointment but was pleased to have someone to roll up the sleeves and work on the coaching, rather than Nolan's perceived man management at a distance. Mind you, Harry is at odds of my opinion of Brisley today...We cant agree on everything Kewell: ''you have to win ugly in every league, the attitude has to be right and then you earn the right to play''. #Notts 1 reply0 retweets3 likes Reply  1   Retweet       Like  3   Direct message   BBC Nottingham Sport‏ @BBCRNS 4h4 hours ago More Kewell: ''Brisley gives my back four a little more of a safety net - I thought he did an excellent job''. #Notts 2 replies0 retweets2 likes Reply  2   Retweet       Like  2   Direct message Pie Thagoram‏ @Piethagoram More Replying to @BBCRNS sorry @HarryKewell . He looked lost, was too slow and is not comfortable on the ball.    

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Nolan managing an "unbalanced" side..budget misspent? Part 2

It's fantasy land if Nolan thinks this squad is good enough? What is very apparent from the initial games, we have no height, no muscle, no guts to grind out results yet other teams are light years ahead of us. Relegation is a real possibility unless decent loan signings can be attracted, which may prove difficult in our position https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/kevin-nolan-finds-astounding-not-1425585 I refer back to this link as to where things started going wrong. If he thought Hewitt and Duffy should have been contenders, I am sorry but I think he started losing the plot. Hewitt looked good alongside Yates but since the latter's departure, the same Hewitt is the one that loses possession the most. The tightness of the defence for the first half of the season was down to Hewitt and Yates protecting the Centre backs.  Duffy, well this season, seems unaware of danger and lingers rather than challenging for the ball Coaching staff in totality needs to look at themselves. Do the players know what they are supposed to be doing. After Lincoln, my answer has to be no Well, Nolan looks a broken man and I beleive he needs replacing immediately. Gary Bowyer is available. I will leave it at that

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Round peg, round holes, square pegs, square holes, Hewitt fits neither

https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/notts-county-boss-kevin-nolan-280965  https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/kevin-nolan-backs-notts-county-1214452   so why does Nolan play him there? Yes, injuries to Ox-Ch but it is no coincidence that the change in form coincided with the loss of Yates, so even in midfield, I have to say he is not good enough. I would like to see the stats for pass completion, which must be among the lowest in L2. He helped protect the defence last season, covering for Duffy and Brisley but  just giving the ball away heaps more pressure on the team Nolan's faith in Hewitt is misplaced, I am sure that Harry Pell should have been on the summer shopping list. I am too losing faith in Nolan's management, that he cannot see what is needed for L2. Colchester's tall hungry and mobile set the standard and Notts are woefully way off the mark    

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

Nolan managing an "unbalanced" side..budget misspent?

..or the chickens coming home to roost. The defence last season was so well protected by the likes of Hewitt, Yates and Hawkridge and since the departure of Yates, he was the key player that has not been replaced. Player identification is the key for success. Look at Accrington last season, 23rd in L2 in terms of revenues yet the budget was allocated so precisely and a balanced team won promotion By offering O'Connor allegedly 3 contract offers, we then panicked and signed Vaughan...the wrong type of midfielder when we already had Husin. Neither can tackle and win the second ball, yet players like Harry Pell were available at the right price and Colchester rightly identified him as a Bishop / O'Connor / Yates like midfielder Similarly, Omar Sowunmi contract had expired and his towering performance Friday night, showed that there were better players than offering Duffy a new contract. Calls for Hewitt to return to midfield I hear people voice out loud,. However, he must have one of the worst pass completion rates in L2. If we are serious about promotion, are there better midfielders available ( see Pell above!) Brentford built their success on their own "moneyball" model. Even scouring Europe for "value for money" players that could give you a competitive advantage. Southampton also devoted a lot of resources behind the scenes watching lower European league videos, looking for "gems" at a low price. Fitzsimons, has come under a lot of criticism but he was blameless against Yeovil, and it can be argued his saves, could have prevented a 0-8 loss Well the loan window needs to be used to get that key central midfield bully. It's early days too, but the strikers don't look like "natural goal scorers". You look at some strikers and can recognise a goal scoring instinct and coolness in front of goal. I just don't see that with Dennis and Hemmings at the moment.

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

How the poor start for Notts during the 2018-19 season has affected me

Things are weighing up on my mind a lot, I’m still in some form of shellshock from yesterday and I am truly disappointed – I honestly struggle to see past my current mood because it’s all very deflating. I attended the game against Yeovil yesterday with my son @super_pie, @Magic magpie and @super_ram. Leading into the game I wouldn’t have gone if Mark dropped out, I just wasn’t looking forward to it but not because I felt Notts would lose. I actually felt positive about the game and 25 minutes in, it was hard to see how Notts could lose the game but sadly they handed all 3 points to Yeovil on a plate. Personally, I don’t attend games to see a side win and I don’t try to promote the club for any other reason than wanting to help. I am used to what happens on and off the pitch, I shouldn’t be  fazed by what occurs but somehow it still gets me down. Notts played very well in the early minutes of the first half, they knocked it around well but I felt attacking the KOP wasn’t the best game plan. I don’t know if this was due to Kevin Nolan/Alan Hardy thinking “excite the fans, we have worked hard in training.” Or, if it was simply Yeovil winning the coin toss at the start – either way I feel it made the second half harder. I didn’t take any pictures or do anything yesterday, I didn’t even use my phone until after the game. By the time the whistle had blown I just wanted to bury my head in the same sand that Kevin Nolan seems to be used to by now. I love the Notts Community and most fans will know there’s a ‘family’ vibe amongst the regulars but I honestly feel very dissociated right now. This is the main reason why I wasn’t looking forward to Notts, people don’t seem to understand how individuals feel and I saw a lot of unpleasant stuff going on amongst ourselves. It’s like a bunch of kids fighting over the same wish but doing nothing about it. Notts are poor right now, Kevin Nolan needs to sort the defence out and sign a keeper on loan. This season is far from finished and I wish we could focus on that, it’s just very depressing and I can’t absorb much more of the nonsense that I see. The football club’s better than this, we are better than this. Alan Hardy and Kevin Nolan have their first real test, the issues on the field are Nolan’s problems. Those that say he fixed us from being sure relegation candidates, that wasn’t his mess and it will be interesting to see if he can make the right decisions. I don’t want him to be sacked, nor do I want any pressure to be mounting on him because I think stability will resolve itself eventually. But Nolan needs to get a grip of his squad, he needs to acknowledge the players who are out of form and get the defence focused. The midfield for me would be fine, yes they could help out more, especially the wingers but they play to instructions – so that needs adjusting. Rant over….

Chris

Chris

Looking ahead to the 2018/19 season for Notts County

So, it’s the dawn of another new season for Notts and as the feeling has started to settle – I find myself really excited about the prospect of another good season for the club but also to pick up from last season. All the optimism I have right now is making me all the more eager to get the 2018-19 campaign underway. Last season, in reflection was a true rollercoaster, however despite what some may have considered negative then in comparison to previous seasons wasn’t all that bad and although the club lost to Coventry in the playoff semi-final it restored pride to the community. It was refreshing to see fans eagerly optimistic and yes some performances did seem like the old ‘Notts County’ – yet last season did lay the foundations for further improvements. I also promised myself that after the Newport County game on the final day of the 2016-17 season, that I would try to be more sociable and for the most part I had succeeded. Before doing my usual media work for the site, I would try to get out of my shell and I have to admit I found it hard – yet I also enjoyed it. Towards the latter stages of last season, Magic magpie and my sons friend Callum started attending games and this has made a huge difference. I love attending games with my family and Jake had started to slowly drift away but he’s back now. I’m very thankful for this and I have enjoyed both home pre-season games simply because of the fact my father attended both games. I know how much family means to my son and he sees match days in a different way because of it – I often wish that for the younger fans things could be vastly different but I do believe those days will return eventually. 2018-19 will be a massive season, I am eagerly awaiting tomorrow and not just because of the chicken I have before the game! I have a very good friend who is now a season ticket holder, he’s been bitten by the ‘community feel’ surrounding Notts and I have the people I want around me. I may lose track of where I am at times, due to depression and previously because of health issues I have suffered from but I have a new way of thinking. Hopefully, my health won’t prevent me from attending home games. Yet I look forward to making more away trips, this won’t be an easy thing due to the cost but it’s something I want to make more effort with. I look forward to seeing all my friends and all the people who speak to me on a match day. COYP!!

Chris

Chris

 

New Year Resolution: Attend more Notts County away games in 2018

2017 has been a very busy year for me. Unfortunately I have only managed to attend two away games and despite having Luton Town eyed up as my third, it just wasn’t possible for me to make the trip which I am actually very gutted about not attending. It would have been nice to be there, as by all accounts it sounded like a very decent performance by the Magpies, and of course the travelling Black & White army that followed in support. However, I have started plans to attend several games in the New Year and I will be ensuring I save up well in advance so I can afford these away days. I’ve always enjoyed away games ever since my first one, which was away to Hartlepool. The fan that drove us there did warn me that I might end up ‘being bitten by the bug’, but there has always been a bigger sense of togetherness, so I miss the long trips in the company of friends and fans. I don’t know, it isn’t the same but I’m eagerly looking forward to getting back on the road. Luton sounded impressive for all the right reasons, and the pictures taken by Dan Westwell remind me why I really enjoy away days. Plus it would be nice to see Notts get a result away during 2017, the fact that in the two games I have seen Notts got beaten, well I would only hope to see the squad correct this. I enjoyed both Coventry City and Mansfield Town (obviously aside from the school lines, and the issues at Mansfield). And this year it’s not about having free time, it’s more a collection of expensive games being the ones I would prefer – so I guess I will have to check out for some cheaper occasions and commit to them? At least home games this season have been quite enjoyable, even when the performances haven’t quite matched the results gain – it does seem like the Kop has found its singing voice again after the past few seasons of neglect. I have also managed to be somewhat sociable before games, which for me has been a big thing. Match days as I have written before are very busy for me, but I wouldn’t have them any other way – it’s just nice to find time to have a laugh and a drink before the match. So hopefully folks will see me at certain away games in 2018, they’re more sociable due to the nature I don’t have so much that I do – whilst I do tend to sneak in the odd couple of drinks. After the games listed above I could have perhaps gone for a couple more! Ha…

Chris

Chris

 

Little changes make a big difference

This blog is personal, as a result it’s not your typical read on Notts County and I thought that I should warn potential readers before – if you prefer the regular variety of opinions be sure to have a read of our home page otherwise I would suggest clicking away from this blog. Towards the end of last season I decided to make changes, I wasn’t all that happy with things and as most fans (who know me) will have seen I started using my real name. It was more of a positive change than I had thought, but I was worried about trolls. Despite this I was actually pleased, as I made the change for the right reasons – some fans didn’t know if they should call me Joe or Chris and the confusion really started to impact how I felt inside. I’m not going to dwell on the mental side of my feelings, despite people claiming to understand depression – I find most don’t have the foggiest and take to judging rather than offering support which does help to heal. So, I cast my mind back to the remaining league home games – a point where I started to realise that the regular fans that I grew to enjoy speaking with, well, the numbers had dwindled despite the new ownership. I wanted things to be different, I wanted to feel happier and I realised at this point avoiding things only impacted how I felt. Those people who warned me about others, the idiots who would send me stupid messages and the likes of a certain fan who has received a lot of media attention for being the tool that he is – really take no bearing on me. I ended the 2016-2017 season promising myself that I would try harder to be more sociable, I mean I don’t avoid it but I tend to be busy. I’m not the biggest user of social media, I write my thoughts and feelings – rather than reforming to the standard form, popularity really doesn’t concern me. Yet I did want to try and break some of the anxiety that I felt inside. There’s people who only see the confident, fairly outgoing Chris – who don’t understand remotely why at times I find it hard to even speak. And again this comes back to the ‘judgemental’ side of things, though it is something I have been trying to tackle head on. In my private life, I try to occupy myself as the close season I have fewer things to do and this is the time I fall into traps about what I think about, and how I feel. My wife’s has been a great support, as we have made a lot of home improvements – and things feel homely. The house had been left in a very bad state by the former owners, plus teens and thieves who had vandalised the property and stole all the lead or mental in the house. It’s funny how little things, such as blinds or just having the kitchen in a more finished state changes how you see things – again this is something I felt I would take notice of with match days which is a good release for me. Though I wished my son would attend more games, there’s many who ask about him and it’s not the same but I do respect his decision. This season I feel I’ve been doing the right things, as I use Fridays to focus on my health and the weekend as a way to just to enjoy without the pressure of having to do things. That said, match days are extremely busy for me but if I wanted – I could make it easier. I’m hoping to get back on the road once things settle, I can’t justify spending money away from my family and I really do need to choose which away games I make carefully – fingers crossed I can get to Mansfield as I haven’t yet been to the One-Call Stadium.

Chris

Chris

 

It's Never Dull...

Well the dust has just about settled on another season of highs and lows, joys and sorrows for the world's oldest league club. It's been a rather strange season. It sounds very cliche but it really has been a season of two halves - one spent watching our promotion hopes go down the drain, and the other half spent fighting the unthinkable in relegation out of the very league we helped establish. But we've come out the other side,  and now seems like a good time to look back on a real rollercoaster of a ride. So this is my season review. Nothing special, no real plan. Just me waffling in the hope that somebody somewhere has enough time on their hands to read said waffles, and hopefully - raise a smile! Despite an awful end to the 2015/16 season, the appointment of the experienced John Sheridan seemed a real statement of intent from Notts, and with players such as Jonathan Forte, Michael O'Connor, Richard Duffy, Matt Tootle, Adam Colin etc all signing from higher league clubs, there was reason for quiet optimism going into the new season. Not that that hope lasted very long. All of 16 minutes in fact before Adam Collin introduced himself to us with a howler to gift Yeovil the lead at Huish Park. A second followed soon after, and in the end the 2-0 scoreline probably flattered Notts, who were second best all over the park in the West Country sunshine. Still, at least we got a nice sun tan! And from a purely selfish point of view, I was home and tucking into my takeaway whilst the Notts fans were still trying to find their way back to the M5! Failiure to win either of our first two home games of the season did little to raise enthusiasm, and it wasn't until the second half of our fourth game of the season at Hartlepool that Notts' season finally kicked into life. Trailing 1-0 until the 65th minute, loanee Louis Laing would change the game - netting the equaliser himself before setting up veteren striker Jon Stead for the winner ten minutes later, to the delight of the hardy souls who made the long trip to Scotland, and to me and some other Notts fans enjoying Twenty20 Finals Day at Edgbaston! Back-to-back away wins were recorded thanks to another terrific second half display that saw us win 3-1 at Crawley, and set us up nicely for what promised to be a tasty home game with Grimsby Town. The Marriners brought a large and boysterous following, and when Omar Bogle (Omaaar, Omaaaarrr) latched onto a pathetic back pass from Aborah to double their lead early in the second half, they appeared to be cruising. But Johnny Forte halved the defecit with eleven minutes to go, and barely a minute later the travelling army of "Fish" were stunned when Notts won a penalty. Maybe it was the adrenelin, or maybe it was just a c*ap effort, but O'Connor smashed it wide to the disbelief of the Notts crowd.  But to their credit, the players didn't let the setback get to them, and after launching the kitchen sink at Grimsby for the final ten minutes, Aaron Collins lifted the roof off of the Kop end when he equalised a minute from time. Vadane Oliver almost stole all 3 points moments leter when his looping header was tipped onto the crossbar by the keeper. If that had gone in I think there would have been a few broken bones in the Kop! We couldn't repeat the trick a week later as we slumped to a dreadful 2-0 reverse at home to Accrington Stanley, but our away form came to our aid again, with back-to-back away day successes again, this time at Cheltenham Town and Exeter City, either side of a first home win of the season over Leyton Orient.  Those 3 straight wins had us briefly up to the dizzying heights of 5th, but we came crashing back down to earth with a bang, with a gut wrenching defeat to Mansfield Town at Field Mill, conceeding two stoppage time goals.  Another home defeat followed, this time to Morecambe, before, once again - our away form kept us in the mix, and saw us achieve arguably our best result of the season - winning 2-1 at eventual champions Portsmouth, thanks to two Adam Campbell goals. An incredible result, and a brilliant day for the travelling fans. Little did we know, it would end up being 14 long, excruciating weeks before we had that winning feeling in the league again.

A frustrating goalless draw at home to Luton followed, before we just about avoided FA Cup embarrassment to non-league opposition again, coming from 2 down to rescue a draw at Boreham Wood. There's a first time for everything, and that was the first time I've found myself watching a game from the toilet block door to stay out of the rain! An utterly calamitous 4-0 trouncing at Bloomfield Road put a slight dampener on what was an otherwise cracking weekend in Blackpool, before bottom side Newport came to the Lane and tore us a new one. Shaun Derry was then on hand to rub salt into the wounds 4 days later, before another masterclass in defensive ineptitude handed Barnet 3 points at The Hive, in a game where Notts should have been 3 to the good by the time Barnet got on the scoresheet. Some degree of pride was briefly restored in the FA Cup second round, as we fought back from 2 down to earn a deserved replay with league one Peterborough, but the losing run in the league was stretched to 6 games as we threw away the lead at Colchester.  By this stage, the atmosphere was starting to turn toxic, not only against the manager and the players, but the owner. The clear chants from the crowd for Trew to leave at Colchester proved to be much closer to the mark than any of us imagined, as the following Monday Trew announced that he had agreed a deal with Alan Hardy to sell the club.  This meant that the army of Notts fans who travelled to Peterborough the next evening for the FA Cup replay were in good spirits, and with the prize at stake being a trip to Chelsea, there was a cracking atmosphere in the away end. It wasn't to be as we were comfortably beaten on the night, but it was a fantastic evening in that away end.  The optimism was short lived as two more home defeats over the Christmas and New Year period left us just one place above the relegation zone, and 4-0 humbling at Cambridge in the first game of 2017 signalled the end of the road for yet another manager. John Sheridan was relieved of his duties, but we were still yet to hit rock bottom.  That would come with an embarrassing surrender to ten man Morecambe, making it an unwanted club record of 10 consecutive league defeats, during which we shipped just the 27 goals! But thankfully, things were about to change for the better. Alan Hardy officially completed his takeover of the club, and wasted no time in appointing Kevin Nolan as manager. Some wondered if we were in a position to be able to afford to gamble on another rookie manager, but it was obvious that he and Hardy had already struck up a strong relationship, and quite frankly, many of us thought "sod it he can't do any worse".  A bumper crowd of over 11,300 descened onto the Lane for the pairs first game at the club, and Notts finally stopped the rot with a hard fought goalless draw against local rivals Mansfield Town, who's fans seemed more interested in setting off flares than watching the game. We never did find out if any lifeboats actually responded... The next home game finally brought us our first win in what felt like an eternity, and in typical Notts fashion, it came in the most dramatic way possible.  For the most part we had been all over Crawley, but try as we might we just couldn't find that all important goal, and when Curtis Thomspon saw red midway through the second half, after all of the chances we'd missed, you couldn't help but feel that a sucker punch was inevitable.  But if anything, the red seemed to galvanise Notts further, and the home fans roared them forwards. Sure enough, with just 15 minutes remaining Thierry Audel headed Notts into the lead. Just ffteen minutes to hold on for that long awaited victory. Crawley had created nothing all game, surely this was it?  Well this being Notts there had to be a sting in the tail, and when James Collins let fy from some 30 yards and his effort flew in off the underside of the bar, everyone's heart sank. Just typical, we had been the better side and had been hit with the sucker punch. "Watch them nick it now" I remember thinking to myself.  But once again, the setback only seemed to strengthen our resolve, and when Crawley's keeper spilled a shot, Forte was on hand to smash the rebound home, sparking scenes of utter delerium around Meadow Lane.  Those five minutes of injury time were five of the longest minutes of my life, but the sheer release of emotion at that final whistle will live long in the memory. There were grown men in tears. Unless you suffered through those 14 weeks of hell since the last win, you can't even begin to understand just how much that win meant to us, and the way in which we won it made it even more special. Moments like that are why we stick with our clubs through thick and thin.  The joy was short lived, as a frustrating defeat at Accrington Stanley (I'll let you say it...) followed, and set up a relegation 6 pointer at home to Cheltenham. It was a game of huge importance for both sides, but by now Nolan was really starting to stamp his mark on the side, and wth the embargo being lifted at the 11th hour, he was able to bring in some useful signings for the run-in, and in particular Jorge Grant and Shola Ameobi would prove invaluable.  Notts beat Cheltenham 2-1, and the never say die attitude Noaln had instilled was emphasised days later when Richard Duffy and Jorge Grant struck in injury time to rescue a dramatic draw at home to Exeter. This set up yet another relegation 6 pointer in East London against Leyton Orient. It proved not to be one for the faint hearted! Normally games like that are tight and nervy, but this was anything but. Both sides seemed to decide that the best form of defence was attack. Jorge Grant gave Notts a 35th minute lead which they would just about hold onto into half time. It looked like Jon Stead had settled the nerves when he doubled the lead early in the second half, but in typical Notts fashion, we allowed Orient straight back into it a minute later, to set up 40 of the most nail biting minutes those of us in attendance would experience all season.  Orient threw everything at us, and the defending at times was desperate. We were beginning to edge towards a massive victory, but then ten minutes from time Notts failed to clear their lines, and Mezague struck an absolute rocket into the roof of the net to lift the roof off of Brisbane Road.  Other scores were against us at the time, and now we were just hoping to hang on for the point. But some great skill from Bola carved open the Orient defence, and he pulled it back for the unmarked Jon Stead on the edge of the box, and the veteren frontman cooly rifled the ball into the bottom corner to spark utter chaos in the away end.  We just about held out for the 6 minutes of injury time, and secured one of our most important wins of the season, and what a game it was too! A slightly less exciting goalless draw with Yeovil followed, before another memorable away win, this time in deepest Devon at promotion chasing Plymouth, on a Tuesday night. Ultimately it was a goalkeeping howler that let Grant in for the decisive goal midway through the first half, though any of the 163 hardy souls in the away end that night would tell you Notts were genuinely the better side on the night, and Plymouth wouldn't have had much ground for complaint if we'd won 3-0.  The young Forest star (as the local chip paper loves to point out) was having quite an impact, and he slammed home one of the goals of the season to seal a 2-1 win over Hartlepool in another six pointer at Meadow Lane. Quite a contrast in the home form since the arrival of Nolan.  A batting 3-1 loss at league leaders Doncaste followed, but so good was the run we had been on that we now had an 8 point cushion over the bottom 2, neither of whom were showing any signs of dragging themselves out of it.  Safety was all but confirmed over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of March. Results went our way on the Saturday, but when Mark Yeates saw red for a rash challenge early on at home to Barnet, it looked like we might be thankful for those results going our way. But under Noaln we're a different animal, and this team doesn't know when it's beaten. We limited Barnet to very few openings, and Matt Tootle's goal early in the second half gave us something to defend. A combination of Notts runing themelves into the ground, and Barnet being a bit toilet meant we held on for a massive 3 points that took us 11 clear of the drop zone.  The pressure of the dogfight was now off to some extent and we were able to enjoy the run in.  Shola Ameobi's goal was enough to earn 3 points in a rather uneventful game at Wycombe, before we put in arguably our best performance under Nolan when comfortably seeing off play-off chasing Colchester at Meadow Lane.  Four straight wins were notched up with Jon Stead and Matt Tootle scoring in the last 5 minutes to seal a dramatic comeback win at Carlisle, before an entertaining, if somewhat frustrating draw at Crewe.  But by now we were already starting to look to next season, and not even the unbeaten home run under Nolan coming to an end against Portsmouth on Easter Monday could wash away the feel good factor.  The final home game of the season saw us sign off with a hard fought and scrappy win over Blackpool, and it just brought home how much things have changed in the last year.  12 months ago we lost 5-0 to Carlisle on the final day, and the club was in complete turmoil. Now we're revitalised, and everybody is looking forwards. The feel good factor is back in the club. Watching Notts has gone back to being fun again.  It was actually nice to go into that final game at Newport and be in a position to just enjoy the day. It was a shame we lost but credit to Newport, what a way to survive. I'm just glad it didn't hold any relevance for us, as it was only a few months ago that we were starting to look at that game as a potential do or die game! It's been another topsy turvy season at Meadow Lane, but we've come through it. I know we've had more false dawns than we care to remember at Notts, so I say it with extreme caution, but there is genuine cause for quiet optimism.  I really do think that Nolan could build something special here if given the right backing. It's obvious him and Hardy have a special bond, and that's crucial. Look what it did for Derek Pavis and Neil Warnock.  We need to be patient though and give him time. And I mean proper time. Don't panic and go and get rid of him at the first sign of things not going according to plan. We've been through a frankly embarrassing number of managers over the last few years and look where it's got us. Now more than ever we need some stability, and I trust Nolan to take us forwards next season.  I really don't think we're that far off challenging at the right end of this league. The gap between the top and the bottom isn't that great. We beat 5 of this season's top 7 this season,  so we know we can compete with the big teams.  We'll see what happens come August. But as with any Notts season, it sure as hell won't be dull!        

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

All's well that ends well

The 2016-17 season has been a funny one for me, personal circumstances meant I missed a portion of the Notts County games which took place over late October to mid-January – despite all the on-goings at Meadow Lane and the dire performances I really missed this period. Yet the break was exactly what I needed at the time, but the lengthy spell did leave me feeling drained and worried about my mother. I had been saying throughout the majority of the 2015-16 season that I would get back on the road, whilst I seem to always remember Barnsley as being my last away day – in fact, it wasn’t. My last game prior to Newport was the opening game against Stevenage last term. As the season quickly unwounded, I find myself thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make an away trip this season. For that reason I really wanted to go to Newport despite being told by many opposition fans that it wasn’t ‘a very friendly place to visit’ I decided I would go. After asking JJ to pick me up the ticket, I was quite excited about the prospect of an away day. Sadly, I read some upsetting news on my Facebook feed late Tuesday night which totally flipped my mood but I still decided to go. It was only upon arriving at Monmouth where I actually felt a buzz, it’s a very peaceful location and I took to taking some pictures of the scenery – I will attach some below. Arriving at Newport I quickly got the match day buzz which I missed! After emptying my bag but luckily managing to sneak through security with a thermal bottle with water in (at the time I had forgotten about it), I took to taking some fan pictures. The match started very poorly, I could tell then that the game wouldn’t be one I’d remember for the right reasons. Between snapping further pictures and watching the other stand filled with travelling Notts fans sing amusing songs – I thankfully didn’t fall asleep but I found the first half very boring. Half time was more eventful than I thought it would be, after being asked to take a photo. A Notts fan slipped and his pint was flung straight onto me. After helping the fan up onto his feet, I was quickly asked by another group if I would take their picture but I found the whole event to be funny even if it was at my own expense. I expected the second half to be more lively but I couldn’t be more wrong, it was very similar to the first half in terms of performance. A Notts goal saw us play well for what 10-15 minutes? About the same time Jimmy had on screen in the last episode of ‘Better Call Saul’. I do have to admit, I felt when the chances came that we might actually be able to go ahead. Yet the banter between both sets of fans was funny, it added some much needed entertainment – as I really didn’t see much fight being shown on the pitch. I should also add that I wanted Hartlepool to survive, I enjoyed my two visits to see us play them despite the final results. Neither Newport nor us deserved to win; yet their final goal was class. The away day was enjoyable, yet mostly for the fact we Notts fans know how to have a good time and will make any occasion into something exciting. I’m already looking forward to the new season, I do believe it will be much better than the last three – yet stability will be the key. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for their amazing friendship and support, since dropping my Notts-Joe username things have been much more positive and I enjoy discussing things with people on both Facebook and Twitter. You Pies!

Chris

Chris

 

Pompey defeat left me looking forward to next season

Approaching Easter Monday, I was quite excited about the game against Portsmouth. In the back of my mind, I did question the attitude of Notts as we approached the match. The thought of added fire to fuel the game certain may help, yet for me I felt it wasn’t required. Of course I’m referring to the comments made about spoiling/delaying their promotion party, it didn’t work did it? I just didn't feel that the message was the right focus, yet I've mentioned this on social media and across the Pride of Nottingham site so I shouldn't really repeat myself. That’s alright, I found the game to be quite flat for the most part. Early on I hoped to encourage the quietness of the stands, so I put a message up on FB and twitter – I don’t know why, it just seemed like Notts was quite ready for the kick off. I thought Portsmouth’s travelling support made a great amount of noise and the banter between the Kop and the Sirrel Stand (them) was amusing. It seemed like we were nervous as a club, but I’m sure this could explain what we watched play out on the pitch. The early penalty was just silly, I actually seemed to see it in slow motion and even now I believe we could have gotten away with the decision had Duffy not lifted his bloody foot. I don’t know, I kind of feel we see the same happen when we play a big team. I felt the exact same way when we last played Sheffield United and Coventry City back when we was a League One club. And it wasn’t that Notts overly played badly, I do believe Portsmouth just played in a way that limited us – they always seemed to manage to get the ball back. It was only after Jorge Grant scored that things in the stands seemed to wake up, ironically I laughed as I joined in ‘You only sing when you’re winning’ to the Pompey fans. The goal seemed to come out of nowhere, yet it sparked a brief spell where it seem like Notts could get another. I can’t fault any of the performances mind, Jon Stead was always isolated and we missed Shola Ameobi. The midfield was setup well enough to cope with Pompey’s style of play, and the defence just made the same minor errors we have seen all season and have repeatedly been punished by – yet really it was a deserved win for them. After the game I had that sinking feeling, like what will I do from here? It wasn’t remotely about Portsmouth fans celebrating. Just a case of the realisation that our own season had pretty much just ended. Bring on the 2017/2018 campaign! #COYP -- As always before the game I took to recording 'Meet the Fans', which I have also attached just in case you haven't seen it yet. Don't forget to subscribe!

Chris

Chris

 

Goodbye 'Notts-Joe'

There was a time when I was encouraged to write personal blogs, yet new faces on the website never seemed to appreciate them – however with the minor change to my username I aim to mix things up. It’s a common recurrence that I get the urge to drop my ‘Notts-Joe’ persona, yet for one reason or another I just never did until now. I thought that it might confuse some members who don’t know me in person, yet it’s an never ending escape unless you apply the change and really, why would I want to continue calling myself by it? The little things seemed to mostly discourage me - I wasn’t keen on saying good bye to my old Twitter account, since some dearly lost friends are on it. Yet I have grown very tired of the username, along with the questions I frequently get about why I call myself it. It’s no mystery, it’s a nickname and it’s one which had been given to me at school (mostly due to a wrestler I liked). With the change having been made elsewhere for a number of months now, I felt it was time. Funnily enough my parents, who are a great support to the site(s) I run and the things I aim to do – have never been bothered by the fact I never used my birth name. So from here on, I am simply Chris.

Chris

Chris

 

Same Old Notts

Well just when we thought we couldn’t possibly play any worse than what we did last Saturday at Bloomfied Road, bottom of the league Newport come to the San Sirrel and teach us a footballing lesson. I wasn’t at the Lane on Saturday thanks to some inadequate public transport down this neck of the woods, but I was at Blackpool last weekend, and it was right up there with the worst performances we witnessed time and again last season. 
In John Sheridan we have a no nonsense, old school manager, and I really had hoped that we had at least seen the last of these spineless surrenders. We can all take losing. In fact as Notts fans we’re almost immune to it, but its the manner in which you lose that matters, and these last two games have been nothing short of a disgrace and an embarrassment to this proud club, that would have had the two legends immortalised on Meadow Lane turning in their graves. Frankly, there should be a tear in the eye of both men as they look on at what their club has become. 
This is why you can never get too excited as a Notts fan. No matter how well things seem to be going, disaster is always lurking just around the corner. Tell me, is it really just a mere coincidence that things have begun going **** up on the field just as speculation about the sale of the club rears its ugly head yet again?
I’ll be honest, I spent quite a few years defending Ray Trew, but to be honest the whole Jamie Fullarton saga was the final straw. The way he’s treating the supporters with utter contempt and refusing to give us any real information at all is sickening. It’s our club, and we have a right to know what’s going on. I really think a fans forum is needed. Ray Trew needs to look the paying punters in the eye and tell us honestly what the position of the club is; i.e. are we still for sale or not. If he tells us he’s had enough and wants out as soon as possible – fine. Quite frankly the feeling will be mutual among the majority of supporters. If he’s staying, then he needs to outline his plan for the future. Right now, we’re on a slippery slope out of the very league we helped establish, and as much as it really doesn’t bear thinking about, it’s a genuine concern. If we went out, I really doubt we’d ever come back. 
I think most fans can agree that a change of ownership and direction is badly needed. Call me boring, but personally I don’t want another overseas consortium of millionaires coming in promising us the world and making totally unrealistic promises. We’ve been there, and we’ve seen countless other clubs go there, and it never ends happily ever after. All’s I want is someone who understands the club, who values the supporters, and who can give us that badly needed new lease of life. We don’t expect the world, we just want a competitive team on the pitch that we can be proud of, that will put bums on seats, and most of all – make supporting Notts fun again. 
Right now we have a fan base which seems to dwindle further by the week, and those that remain grow more and more disillusioned by the week. The attendances at Meadow Lane have dropped even lower than what they were in the Trust years pre Munto when we were struggling just to survive in league 2. We all know how this place can be absolutely bouncing when we have something to get behind. You don’t even have to be winning titles for that. Just think back to the Great escape of 2014. The whole club was galvanised, and the supporters virtually pulled the team over the line themselves. 
Right now, going to Meadow Lane is a depressing experience. The stands are sparsely populated, and there’s a feeling of doom and gloom even before kick off. This isn’t helped by our frankly unacceptable home form, which has seen us win just 15 out of our last 53 home league games. That’s downright pathetic, and totally unacceptable at any level.
Where we go from here, I really don’t know. On the pitch this season, I still think that if we can find some consistency we can do well this season. The players have proved that they are capable of digging in and grinding out results this season, which makes the last two games all the more difficult to stomach, and harder to understand. 
But whatever happens, this club is suffering a very slow and painful death. We’re crying out for a new lease of life, which doesn’t appear to be forthcoming. So I guess we’ll just carry on struggling to compete in this league, merely going through the motions. It’s a sad and difficult time to be a Notts fan, and many lifelong fans have lost patience.
Me? Well I’m stupid, so despite calling the team every name under the sun on Saturday evening, come 3pm next Saturday I’ll still be at Barnet trying to convince myself that today is the day everything finally comes good. 
Few of us have chosen our teams, we have merely been presented with them. And so as they slip from second division to the third, and from third division to fourth; as they sell their best players and replace them with journeymen looking for one last pay cheque before retirement; as they lump the ball for the seven hundredth time towards a 6 foot centre forward who somehow never wins a header; we simply curse, go home, worry for a week, then come back and do it all again. But that’s the life of a football fan isn’t it? You can change jobs, homes, partners, cars, virtually anything. But you’re football team – you’re stuck with them.   

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

where foreign players have not been a success

No, not a career reprise on the Banjoman, but on a look back for Millwall's Red invasion   http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/yuran-admits-hes-top-of-the-flops-6318309.html Always remember Danny Baker complete with Russian Red Army Fur hat, on television full of enthusiasm of a new dawn for Millwall...but such new dawn was relegation

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Peruvian tales

Taxi tales...Lima Peru... exit area of Lima airport can be best described as a cage. Taxi drivers touting for business and I couldnt find the car booked for me by the hotel. So I went back inside and paid a bit extra for an airport car. Conversing with the guy in Spanish, he said dont worry when we go through red lights. If we stop at red lights, likelihood of being robbed at gunpoint. So an interesting 20 minute drive through the dark streets of Lima to a hotel surrounded by barbed wire walls. Had an early flight next day so arranged for same guy to bring me back to airport. I get to airport to check in for flight to Cuzco, to find airline ticket not valid. Dont worry sir, its happened many times before, we give you preprinted letter for you to take back to your travel agent saying we only accept tickets issued by American Airlines only. so had to pay about 100 dollars for the flight. I could have gone to the Aero Continente desk, but that airline had a not so good reputation ( must have been true, as I believe, allegedly american insurance companies subsequently withdrew their insurance so they couldnt fly). So just paid 100 bucks and an american girl turns up on spec...same flight USD 70? I asked why her flight was cheaper? Well sir, you had a reservation already? Yes maybe reservation with an invalid ticket! Such is life in Latin america   Vielen danke  @DangerousSausage

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Players disappointed to see leave Notts

Ian Bolton, left for Watford.. Needham and Masson more famously, Martyn Busby returning to QPR undervalued... Paul Barnes, Rob Matthews, Anders Jacobsen, probably our best centre half this millenium. Craig Short Dean Yates (again seriously undervalued), Draper and Tommy J,  

Piethagoram

Piethagoram

 

Favourite films

Following on from @AmericanPie commenting on favourite actors / actresses, thought I would share my eclectic favourite films...and if you are expecting a list of Hollywood blockbusters, then best not read further Cinema Paradiso Breaking the waves A very long engagement Big Fish The Lives of others The secret in their eyes Hidden City Three Colours Trilogy,  Brassed Off Little Voice Fever Pitch Notting Hill Mute Witness Starter for 10 The Reader Grand Budapest Hotel The Hunger Marathon Man Dr Zhivago The Life of Brian This is England Dead Man Shoes Brass Target Charade North by Northwest Arabesque The girl in the cafe Before Sunrise

Piethagoram

Piethagoram


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