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Young Fans - On Match Days

On match days, I like meeting people who speak to me and who are my friends. I like the MLSB, especially with the table top football that was introduced. Before that, I didn’t really enjoy going in but I have made friends from it.

I think Notts need to get younger fans involved because the ones I have met and gotten to know are passionate but there is not a lot for us to do.

Notts is known for being a family club, which I know my father is proud of because he attended games as a child himself with family but I do think if there was more for fans of my age to do, more families would go matches.

Meeting the players, helping and getting involved is fun but I do not think this is for every one of my age.

It gets a little boring, especially when Notts are not doing well and it’s not about winning but school on the following Monday can be hard for a young fan. We are not an attractive club to follow, which I get but what we are is local and that is special.

None of my friends admits to supporting Notts, well one does but he doesn’t attend many games.

People you meet can make a difference, but what I would like to see is activities during half time, which would engage with fans of my age. I do not think Notts will attract new supporters unless they are not from a family which supports or follows the club.

Which I think is a bigger shame because I do enjoy match days, yet if I am honest I do think much more could be done.

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I am a 9 year old fan and the son of @notts-joe. Views are my own, I would like to know your thoughts.

super_pie

super_pie

 

Heaven and Hell

A more serious look at our club So,so you think you can tell heaven from hell. There is no living proof available to testify whether or not the 2 parameters actually exist, but almost everyone has a pre-conceived notion of both. Welcome to the emotional roller-coaster world of a football fan. As reality dawns on the fans of teams that have suffered the inigmony of relegation, we have an opportunity to analyse how things descended to these depths. Very often when things go wrong the first thing people do is look for a scapegoat. Let's be right someone, somewhere must have screwed up right? Not necessarily but the chairman usually ends up being a human target. Not spending enough money, lacking ambition and all other misguided cynical ramblings. The main point is that every club has its own income and expenditure forecasts etc and a budget is calculated. However it is easy to spend someone else's money. That said Notts' budget was only 18th highest out of 24. Surely the chairman must have anticipated another struggle at the wrong end of the league table. However if reports are true the the chairman has invested £19 million in Notts County then he has to draw the line somewhere. The club has to be self sufficient at some point. It is that point where a club discovers it's true level. let's be honest here Chelsea would not have conquered Europe and the Premier League without Roman Abramovich and his obscene wealth bankrolling them. So that brings us to the manager. Well the manager that started the season at least! Trivia question for Notts County fans, who was the last manager to start and finish the same season in charge of the club? Shaun Derry masterminded the great escape at the back end of the 2013/14 season and optimism was high. Throw into the mix that Notts is Derry's club, a former player and Nottingham man to boot and everything seemed rosy in the garden. The fans related to him and he has a genuine affinity with the club. He even signed an international goalkeeper in Roy Carroll. Despite this though there was a whole host of loan players coming and going which in turn led to a lack of continuity or cohesion.It seemed that the manager did not really know what 11 players made up his best team. Before Shaun Derry was relieved of his duties he had used a total of 43 different players. Whether or not that was bad planning or rank bad luck is immaterial now. My only concern with Derry was that he seemed 1 dimensional. Hard work and commitment will only get you so far. There comes a point where a bit of flair, guile and ability needs to shine through. That,sadly did not happen often enough at Notts. If it wasn't allowed to by a conservative manager then that should be frowned upon. If the players henuinely weren't good enough then we have to accept that fact, hard as that may be. Ricardo Moniz has since been handed the poisoned chalice that is the title of Notts County manager. It is far too early to assess his impact on the club and is absolved of any immediate blame. I am not even sure if he has had enough time to decide which players he wants to keep and who will be shown the door. Certainly he has had a baptism of fire and will have to move quickly. What does the future hold? That brings us back to the chairman. If Ray Trew genuinely wants to re-build Notts County Football club and stand any chance of getting a return from his investment then patience will need to be a virtue. His previous track record in this department though is far from encouraging. Any long term project needs a solid plan and a rock solid foundation to build from. The more you try to cobble something together the greater the risk of it all falling apart at the seams. Whilst it is true to say Rome wasn't built in a day that doesn't mean there should be a lack of ambition, imagination or progress. However the cynic within me believes that the Colloseum as it stands is in better shape than Notts County. Knowing Notts as a fan of 40 years and counting though, we'd skimp on the foundations to save a few quid and end up with the leaning tower of Pisa! The crying shame is that with time patience and steady sustained investment we could have the Sistine chapel. The potential has always been there. We have graced the top flight before and there is no reason why it couldn't happen again. In 2009 Bournemouth finished 2 places above the line to avoid falling out of the League altogether. Next season they will be playing in the Premier League without throwing stupid money at the club. If Ray Trew persists with the I want it all and I want it now mantra then he will be in for years of disappointment. Good things come to those who wait. Any Notts fan who is over 21 years old has never seen his team play top flight football. I have only seen 4 seasons or so in nearly half a century. If it takes another decade to get anywhere near that level again so be it. It has to be better than a decade of climbing one division and looking to avoid the trap door back down the next 2 which has been the case for too long now.

Blathers67

Blathers67

 

Magpies musical melancholy

50 songs have been included in the following summary of Notts Countys' woeful plight. How many can you find? Keep yourself alive could have been the battle hymn of the republic of County supporters as the last day of the season arrived. The fans would have been feeling good after victory over Doncaster left Notts knowing a win would have been enough to keep the Magpies afloat but that didn't happen. Unlike last season and the great escape II, just as us 'pies fans were holding out for a hero, Notts managed to crash and burn in spectacular fashion. Of course us Notts fans have been there before but we still feel the hurt, moreso this season after the early season promise. The slide has been long, slow and painful. At the start of the season we were high on emotion. A play-off berth was briefly occupied due in no small part to their defence being as solid as a rock, but the arrival of the cold November rain saw Notts embark on the long road to ruin. An unbelievable run of rank bad form saw Notts manage to win 2 games out of 20, a win ratio of one in ten. This sent Notts sailing inexurably towards the danger zone causing the board to panic and in turn fire Shaun Derry. Opinion was divided as some felt that he had become a wayward son and others felt he had been mistreated. Like most football fans through good times,bad times I'm a believer but not a dreamer. Reality seemingly bites harder at Notts than any other clubs. It is hard to keep the faith when a succession of managers are here today, gone tomorrow and seemingly ushered in through the out door. Personally I would like the board to show a little more patience. Of course no one knows what happens out of the view of us common people but you need a good solid foundation to build a club. The only way to do that is to have some continuity. Having a Russian roulette policy of management appointments does not help. Having money does but how much goes on settling severance terms with departing personnel? Ricardo Moniz has since been hired but his arrival has not had the immediate desired effect. However early indications are that he is capable of delivering the goods.Time will tell if the current incumbent will follow the blind by being Ray Trews latest master of puppets or if he can provide a wind of change. He has a summer of 69 days or so to prepare for the future. Notts cannot afford to keep free-falling. They are, yet again, 1 desperate season from non league football. I suppose the obvious analogy to throw in is that it is the same old song but if Notts were to slide out of the league it would be the bitterest pill I ever had to swallow but as an eternal optimist I believe that it can't happen here. Just before i finish my relections I am off to seek sanctuary in the purple haze of a tequila sunrise as the holiday season gets into full swing I should congratulate Notts County Ladies FC for making it to Wembley for their cup final. Play with pride and do yourselves proud. The club needs a lift and you have the opportunity to provide it. I will leave it for a couple of weeks and then post a full and chronological list.

Blathers67

Blathers67

 

Adjusting to German football

I'm going to use this blog to share some random thoughts with you all ... in and outside the world of football! In doing so I will add to my array of half-hearted and long-forgotten blog attempts already littering the WWW. As most of you know I'm an exiled 'pie living in Germany, who can only get to two or three games a season. Funnily, I don't often watch football on the telly – I'd much rather stand in a dilapidated stadium watching a lower-league defender scuff a clearance than watch Cristiano Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammates on the box. That probably makes me odd. This particular immigrant, having recently escaped the horrors of watching Gary Silk and Gavin Gordon in League Two, decided to become a groundhopper. Instead of football making me grumpy and stressed, it would be a cultural voyage of discovery. I would discover the glamour of the Bundesliga, the charm of lower league grounds, the fascination of fallen giants in cavernous, crumbling old grounds. And if the weather was awful, I would simply stay at home and watch Sportschau without feeling the need to check the score every five minutes. Football would be entertainment, football would be fun. Except that's not how it works. I find it hard to watch any match without rooting for a team – if I don't care who wins, I usually don't bother watching it. So when I watched SV Waldhof Mannheim (now my most local club) I found exciting football, a city and fans practically begging for success and an atmopshere that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, I got in the habit of watching regular home games again. The prices didn't hurt either. They don't have the same ability to ruin my weekend as Notts do, but they're getting there. I've been to other grounds too – Kaiserslautern, Cologne, VfR Mannheim, Sandhausen, Karlsruhe – but that's my home from home. The derbies are the real highlights. Sadly, Waldhof have a high proportion of troublemakers, meaning that large away followings are often frogmarched by the police the couple of miles from the railway station, accompanied by police horses, riot police and helicopters. Once in the ground, the experience is a more relaxed one. You can buy a beer and take it into the stands with you, and large swathes of the ground are terraced. It's a lot preferable to having a steward tell me to down my drink before taking my too-small seat and trying to keep warm despite not being able to move ... I do miss the UK and Notts though. I miss Meadow Lane and being able to actually eat pies at a match, yes even the funny white snot they use to fill chicken and mushroom pies (a sausage on a bun or a currywurst just isn't the same). I miss the spontaneity of the crowd too – the ultras can create a banging atmopshere and are LOUD, but many weeks they just go through their repertoire regardless of what's going on on the pitch. It changes the way I see Notts matches too, as I'm often so happy just to be there I don't get as frustrated when the performance is a poor one. For some weird reason I don't feel as angry at them for wasting my time (even though my short time in England is precious) as I used to do when I had a season ticket. So, that's a few thoughts to start with. I could write more about living in Germany in general, but that's a very, very big topic and definitely a subject for future blogs! Love Sausage x

DangerousSausage

DangerousSausage

 

Last seasons squad - The right move?

To take a look back to last season, a lot of the players we had have moved on (or been moved on - depending how you look at it). Was it the right move for them, and more importantly, was it the move right for Notts County? Bartosz Bialkowski - Our No.1 joined Ipswich on a free, with rumoured sell on clauses. After first struggling to displace Ipswich keeper Gerken, Bart has gone on to establish himself as No.1 in an Ipswich side doing very well in the Championship, with a string of impressive performances. An excellent shot stopper at his time with Notts, he would not always give you too much confidence with his command of the area and coming for crosses. Right move for him? Yes. For us? Undecided - Carroll is a great keeper, and if we end up getting a fee, it might have been worth it. Alan Sheehan - Captain, and for the dark days of last season, he was one of the only ones that looked like he gave a monkeys. His ability to play well in CB also helped us a lot. However, Sheehan seems to have a big ego, and every season he wants more money. Sheehan decided that after narrowly avoiding relegation, he deserved a massive wage increase. Notts thought otherwise. Sheehan decided to try and engineer a big wage at Sheffield United, but that failed to materialise. A move to Bradford followed, reportedly on only 100£p/w over what Notts' had offered him. He now warms their bench and is a bit-part player. Right move for him? No. For us? Yes - We don't need his ongoing saga of constant wage demands and throwing his toys out when he doesn't get it. Gary Liddle - Spent a lot of last season injured, and we sorely missed him. When he was back in the side we were a much better force. Departed for pastures new, supposedly to be closer to his family, and is a prominent member of Braford's starting line-up. Right move for him? Yes. For us? No - We could do with him in the centre of the park. Manny Smith - A bit of a strange one. Could have absolute stormers of games, where he would dominate opposing players. However, also spent a lot of time 'star-gazing' or 'day-dreaming', and a lack of concentration and/or positional awareness was always his downfall. Now plays for conference side Wrexham. Right move for him? Yes - Wouldn't get a game. For us? Yes - Same reason. Dean Leacock - Another flop. There was nothing to suggest that Leacock couldn't, or wasn't, a good L1 defender. His attitude was that of a minimum wage, overworked, toilet cleaner at McDonalds. Head constantly down, no fight, no passion. Who thought this bloke was good material for a captain?! Joined Crawley, who have one of the worst defences in L1 this season. Right move for him? Yes - Not wanted. For us? Yes - Same reason. Gareth Roberts - Bit/part player drafted in to plug a gap temporarily. Moved to Chester in the conference. Right move for him? Yes. Us? Yes. Jack Grealish - What a fantastic player this boy is. Seems to glide past opponents with ease, keeps the ball well and draws a lot of fouls. Destined for a big future. Rejoined Aston Villa after his loan spell, and comes off the bench in the Premier League. Right move for him/us? Jack, come back. (Titanic?!) Callum McGregor - Another great loanee from last season. His goals in the first half of the season almost certainly kept us in the league. Without them, we would be playing Accrington Stanley in L2 (No disrespect intended). Rejoined Celtic and similarly to Jack, comes off the bench in the SPL or starts lesser games. Right move for him? Yes. For us? Wouldn't it be great to get him back on loan, again, please?! Jamal Campbell-Ryce - A frustrating, yet at times, brilliant player. Could beat a man with ease, however always had an annoying attribute on wanting to repeatedly skin a man when there was no need. This was especially annoying during the first half of last season. However, was instrumental in our turn of form and played some absolute peach games, where he was almost unstoppable. Joined Sheffield United, sometimes plays, sometimes warms the bench. Right move for him? Undecided. For us? Undecided - We could do with his creativity on the wing. Mark Fotheringham - Where to start? An excellent trial period meant that Mark landed a contract (and a lot of fans agreed with this). That is where it ended for Mark. A string of rubbish performances, and well..... yeah... I don't know what else to say. Moved to Fulham in the Championship (Best agent ever?!). Played one game, not seen since. Right move for him? Yes - thank your agent, Mark. For us? Yes - We just needed rid. Andre Boucaud - Inconsistent, is the exact word to describe Andre. At best, a good eye for a pass and an excellent player. Normally? You didn't know he was on the pitch. Moved to Dagenham and Redbridge in L2. Right move for him? Yes. For us? Yes. Enoch Showunmi - Started off last season brightly with a couple of decent goals. However, as the season went on, it was hard to imagine we once considered paying 100k (!!!) for him. Lucky escape. Went to Wealdstone FC - 'You want 'shum?!', who loaned him out to Canvey Island. Who are they you ask? I don't know either. Right move him? I guess. For us? Yes. I've missed out a couple of loan signings as they didn't really play a big part in the season as a whole.

Super_Danny_Allsopp

Super_Danny_Allsopp

 

My 2013-14 season

Well after 69 games, my season finally ended on Saturday. Well, if we're being pedantic it was actually 67 games and 50 minutes - with one game being abandoned after 40 minutes, and me only catching the final 10 minutes of Weymouth's FA Cup tie with Bognor Regis. Although that was enough to see the Terras fight back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw and a replay, which they would go on to win 4-1. It really dosen't seem so long ago the Weymouth pies travelled up to Sheffield back in August for that first league game of the season. At the time, it didn't seem a bad result. We all naturally assumed the Blades would be challenging for promotion, although as it turned out they spent much of the season, like us - fighting relegation, until their remarkable recovery late on. I have listed all the games I attended, and after that I've done my own little awards section. I'll start off now though by saying that the most amazing experience was travelling to Turin for Juventus v Genoa. I did a blog for the Italian Magpies website on that weekend if you wish to read it: http://www.italianmagpies.com/2013/11/my-birthday-surprise-juventus.html That game would probably win all of the awards to be honest, so those awards are for the other games. So, here are the 69 matches I attended over the course of the season: 1. Portland United 0-4 Weymouth - Pre Season Friendly (20.7.13) 2. Portland United 0-5 Dorchester Town - Pre season Friendly (27.7.13) 3. Sheffield United 2-1 Notts County - League One (2.8.13) 4. Dorchester Town 1-1 Weymouth - Pre Season Friendly (3.8.13) 5. Weymouth Reserves 3-3 Poole Borough - Dorset Premier League (10.8.13) 6. Weymouth Reserves 5-1 Swanage Town & Herston - Dorset Premier League (14.8.13) 7. Weymouth Reserves 2-2 Merley Cobham Sports - Dorset Premier League (17.8.13) 8. Weymouth 2-0 Frome Town - Southern Premier League (20.8.13) 9. Weymouth 3-0 Redditch United - Southern Premier League (24.8.13) 10. Poole Town 2-2 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (26.8.13) 11. Weymouth 1-1 Cambridge City - Southern Premier League (31.8.13) 12. Weymouth Reserves 3-1 Holt United - Dorset Premier League (7.9.13) 13. Fareham Town 0-1 Weymouth - FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round (14.8.13) 14. Weymouth 2-1 AFC Totton - Southern Premier League (17.8.13) 15. Weymouth 0-3 Hemel Hempstead Town - Southern Premier League (21.9.13) 16. Weymouth 2-2 Bognor Regis Town - FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round (28.9.13) - I was having an induction day for a job at Sainsbury's, so only got out in time to see the final 10 minutes or. We scored twice in those ten minutes to earn a replay! 17. Bristol Rovers 1-3 Fleetwood Town - League Two (5.10.13) 18. Cirencester Town 1-2 Weymouth - FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round (12.10.13) 19. Swindon Town 2-0 Notts County - League One (18.10.13) 20. Weymouth 1-0 Bridgwater Town - FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round (19.10.13) 21. Bashley 0-5 Weymouth - Red Insure Cup 1st Round 22. Juventus 2-0 Genoa - Serie A (27.10.13) As you do... 23. Weymouth 3-0 Shaftesbury Town - Dorset Senior Cup 2nd Round (29.10.13) 24. Weymouth Reserves 3-1 Sherborne Town Reserves - Dorset Premier League (2.11.13) 25. AFC Totton 0-1 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (5.11.13) 26. Weymouth 1-3 Hungerford Town - Southern Premier League (9.11.13) 27. Weymouth Reserves 5-1 Hamworthy United Reserves - Dorset Premier League (16.11.13) 28. Weymouth 4-0 Poole Town - Red Insure Cup 2nd Round (20.11.13) 29. Weymouth 2-1 Arlesey Town - Southern Premier League (23.11.13) 30. Weymouth 4-1 Chippenham Town - Southern Premier League (26.11.13) 31. Dorchester Town 0-0 Eastbourne Borough - Skrill South (30.11.13) 32. Weymouth 4-0 Bridport Town - Dorset Senior Cup Quarter Final (3.12.13) 33. Weymouth 0-3 St Albans City - Southern Premier League (7.12.13) 34. Banbury United 0-0 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (14.12.13) 35. Weymouth 4-1 Bedford Town - Southern Premier League (21.12.13) 36. Weymouth 0-3 Poole Town - Southern Premier League (26.12.13) 37. Frome Town 1-2 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (28.12.13) 38. Notts County 2-1 Sheffield United - League One (11.1.14) 39. Weymouth 1-2 Tiverton Town - Red Insure Cup 3rd Round (14.1.14) 40. Weymouth Reserves 2-0 Shaftesbury Town - Dorset Premier League (18.1.14) 41. Chippenham Town 2-1 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (25.1.14) 42. Bashley 1-2 Weymouth Abandoned after 40 minutes due to power cut - Southern Premier League (28.1.14) 43. Weymouth 0-5 Stourbridge - Southern Premier League (1.2.14) 44. Weymouth 3-2 Bideford AFC - Southern Premier League (4.2.14) 45. St Albans City 3-0 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (8.2.14) 46. Dorchester Town 3-2 Bromley - Skrill South (15.2.14) 47. Weymouth Reserves 0-1 Hamworthy Recreation - Dorset Premier League (22.2.14) 48. Weymouth 2-4 Hamworthy United - Dorset Senior Cup Semi Final (25.2.14) 49. Weymouth 2-2 Biggleswade Town - Southern Premier League (1.3.14) 50. Weymouth 2-4 Chesham United - Southern Premier League (4.3.14) 51. Hemel Hempstead Town 4-1 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (8.3.14) 52. Weymouth 2-0 Bashley - Southern Premier League (15.3.14) 53. Bashley 0-3 Weymouth - Southern Premier League (18.3.14) 54. Burnham 1-3 Weymouth - Southern Premier League - (22.3.14) 55. Weymouth 2-1 Burnham - Southern Premier League (25.3.14) 56. Weymouth Reserves 1-1 Wareham Rangers - Dorset Premier League (26.3.14) 57. Weymouth 1-1 Hitchin Town - Southern Premier League (29.3.14) 58. Brentford 3-1 Notts County - League One (5.4.14) 59. Weymouth 1-2 St Neots Town - Southern Premier League (12.4.14) 60. Weymouth 0-1 Banbury United - Southern Premier League (15.4.14) 61. Bristol City 2-1 Notts County - League One (18.4.14) 62. Weymouth Reserves 5-0 Blandford United - Southern Premier League (19.4.14) 63. Weymouth 2-5 Truro City - Southern Premier League (21.4.14) 64. Weymouth Reserves 3-2 Bridport Town - Dorset Premier League (28.4.14) 65. Sainsburys 2-2 Morrisons (Morrisons won 4-2 on pens) - Local supermarket charity match (27.4.14) 66. Hamworthy Recreation 0-0 Portland United AET (Hamworthy won 6-5 on pens) - Dorset Premier League Cup Final (30.4.14) 67. Oldham Athletic 1-1 Notts County - League One (3.5.14) 68. Portland United 4-1 Merley Cobham Sports - Dorset Premier League (10.5.14) 69. Portland United Reserves 2-0 Blandford United Reserves - Dorset Senior League (17.5.14) Awards Best 3 games in no particular order: Weymouth 3-2 Bideford It was an awful night for football. Gail force winds and heavy, driving wind battered the south coast, and made playing a passing game impossible. So this game became a real war of attrition, and in the end Weymouth pulled off one of their best results of the season. The game turned out to be possibly the most entertaining the 363 in attendance saw at the Bob Lucas Stadium all season. At the time. Weymouth had suffered 5-0 loss at home to Stourbridge 3 days earlier, while the visitors were having a remarkable season, and went into the game occupying the final play-off spot in 5th place. Weymouth started with the wind in their backs, and took the lead 15 minutes in when George Rigg fired into the bottom corner from 25 yards out. The wind and rain doing nothing to help the Bideford keeper, who moments earlier had ended up saving one of his own goal kicks which had been blown straight back at him! Typically though, Weymouth immediatly pressed the self destruct button. From the restart they gave away a free kick halfway inside their own half. The ball was sent into the penalty area and headed against the crossbar, before falling to Sean Downing who poked it home to pull Biddy level. In the second half, the weather was not quite as bad but still on and off. Weymouth re-took the lead seven minutes into the second half with a deadly counter attack. The ball was cleared and it broke to Niall Thompson on the left wing, who used his incredible pace to run half the length of the pitch, before sending in a cross which ended up being assisted by the wind. It fell to George Rigg, who had time and space to bring the ball down before calmly slotting home. Then just after the hour, it was 3-1. Weymouth breaking up play in the middle of the pitch, and a hopefull punt forwards ended up sending top scorer Stewart Yetton through one on one with the keeper. He slotted it under the on rushing keeper into the net, sending the home crowd mad. The action wasn't over yet. With just a few minutes left on the clock, Jake Green went in hard on a Bideford player. The Bideford team reacted, and before long there was a full on 22 man brawl. When the dust had settled, Jake Green was sent off. And from the resulting free kick, former Terra Ben Gerring scored from close range to give Bideford hope. But within a couple of seconds they shot themselves in the foot. As Bideford's Rab Farkins attempted to retrieve the ball, he stamped on keeper Jason Matthews, and he was given his marching order. Bideford threw the kitchen sink at us for what seemed like 10 minutes of added time, but the Terras dug deep, and held on to secure one of their best 3 point hauls of the season. Match Highlights - Weymouth 2-4 Chesham United It looked like it should be a fairly easy win for Chesham, and the scoreline suggests it was. Weymouth were in poor form, while Chesham were in the middle of what became a 15 match winning run which very nearly won them the title. And in the first half, it looked like it would be straightforward, as three tap ins from one of the league's top marksman Chirstopher Dillon gave the Generals a 3-0 half time lead. Weymouth's defence not really turning up for the first 45 minutes. And but for a couple of good saves from player-manager Jason Matthews, it could have been even more. The second half however, was very different. Just three minutes into the second half, from the Terras first shot on target - George Rigg scored one of the goals of the season. He was given the ball in space, and he let fly from 30 yards, finding the top corner of the net. A fantastic strike, which really lifted the home fans and gave us a small glimour of hope. That hope, turned to real belief just before the hour mark, when Ben Joyce latched onto a hopefull punt forwards in behind the Chesham defence. He played it square to Stewart Yetton, who passed it into the net. The title chasing visitors were rattled. The intensity which had been there in the first half had gone, as they spent much of the second half camped in their own final third of the pitch. Stewart Yetton went close to levelling the scores when the ball was crossed in, but his header was straight at the Chesham keeper. He also put one just wide while Ben Joyce forced the keeper into a diving save. But as the Terras pushed for an equaliser, naturally - they were leaving themselves severely exposed at the back. On 70 minutes, they were made to pay when a long ball forwards sent Drew Roberts through on the left wing. He crossed for Potton who slotted home. In the end Weymouth ended the night with nothing, but in the second half, for long periods they played the promotion chasers off the park, and with the number of chances they had, were perhaps unlucky not to have nicked something in the end. Highlights - Notts County 2-1 Sheffield United I was actually the lucky voter in Notts' goal of the month compeition for October, and the prize was two tickets to a home game of my choice. We chose this game. A bit of a grudge match, and at the time, a massive relegation six pointer. It was the biggest crowd of the season at Meadow Lane, and tensions were running high. Notts players seemed to be just as nervous as we all were, as we started in the worst possible way - falling behind with barely two minutes on the clock. Connor Coady played a quick one two with Chris Porter on the edge of our penalty area which opened up the defence, and allowed Coady to finish cooly into the bottom corner, sending the big United following wild. The pre-match atmosphere had been electric from both sides, but if anything, the Notts fans just got louder, as they tried to get the team going. But Notts just couldn't get going, and Coady nearly doubled the Blades lead when he was fed into space, but he put the ball wide. Jamal Campbell-Ryce then went close - cutting inside two players before curling narrowly wide. It was end-to-end, and United again went close when a corner was only half cleared, and Doyle fired over the bar. Notts though gradually got into their stride, and a Campbell-Ryce cross just evaded the head of big Enoch Showumni. But a few minutes later, the two combined to pull the Magpies level. Mark Fotheringham played an inch perfect pass to Campbell-Ryce on the right wing. He beat his man, and crossed for Showumni, who managed to chest the ball home to haul the Magpies level. United almost re-took the lead when Coady's shot from a corner appeared to be deflected away by Showumni's hand, but the ref waved play on despite big appeals from United. There was another desperate cry for handball from the United players and fans a few minutes later, but nothing was given, and the home fans took to mocking the visitors with cries of "handball!" every time a United player touched the ball. Even when Matt Hill picked the ball up to take a throw in, the Kop sarcastically screamed for handball. One of those moments when you have to have been there to really see the funny side of it. Great laugh. Half time provided a much needed breather. The second half was to be a big 45 minutes. It was a much tighter affair, but Notts simply wanted it more - and their desire to fight for every single loose ball and never let United settle proved to be the difference. Twenty Minutes from time, Notts landed a telling blow. Alan Sheehan delivered a dangerous cross to the back post, where Mark Fotheringham was in space. It looked like he just had to direct the ball goalwards to give the Magpies the lead. He did, but the keeper pulled off an outstanding save, but the danger wasen't cleared. Meadow Lane held it's breath, and at the second attempt, Fotheringham smashed the ball into the roof of the net, to send Meadow Lane into raptures, the Notts team jumping into the crowd to celebrate. Straight down the other end, United appealed desperatly for a penalty, but Tony McMahon was booked for a pretty blatent dive. Fifteen minutes from time the visitors should have equalised, when McGinn tricked his way into the penalty area, but with only Bart Bialkowski to beat, he curled his effort miles wide. Notts held on to secure one of their best results of the season, and a first victory over the Blades for 20odd years. Extra special for me with it being a rare trip to Meadow Lane. A brilliant day, and a proper ding-dong relegation battle. Obviously in the end Sheffield United staged a remarkable recovery in March and April to finish 7th, but back in January, they were right in the thick of it just like us. The celebrations at the end told you all you needed to know. Worst 3 games: Dorchester Town 0-0 Eastbourne Borough Dorchester are Weymouth's main rivals these days, and normally I wouldn't lower myself to going to watch them. But to be honest I'll watch any football, and as it was the only local game on that day, I went along. Obviously, I supported Eastbourne, and in truth I expected them to win. They were sitting just outside the play-offs, while Dorchester had been down the bottom all season, and eventually finished bottom of the table. What I ended up seeing, was a game in which next to nothing happened apart from a couple of dissalowed goals, and my then boss coming on for 5 minutes and managing to get booked right in front of me. A miserable day compounded by Notts losing, and by hearing the laughs from Dorchester fans as news filtered through of Weymouth's 7-0 capitulation up at Stourbridge. A very cold, dull, miserable day! "Highlights" - Hamworthy Recreation 0-0 Portland United Dorset league football is usually a good laugh, and despite the standard, is normally pretty entertaining and end-to-end. The Dorset premier league cup final wasn't. League champions Portland faced 4th placed Hamworthy Recreation, and played out 120 of the dullest minutes the 202 of us in attendance will probably ever witness. The best chance of the game came in just the 5th minute, when a Portland header was brilliantly tipped wide by the Hamworthy keeper. It was he who went on to be the hero in the penalty shoot-out, saving 2 Portland penalties before scoring the winning penalty himself. Weymouth Reserves 0-1 Hamworthy Recreation Maybe it's just something about Hamworthy Rec? At the time, this was 1st v 2nd in the Dorset Premier League, but on a very windy, cold day - it was Hamworthy's more physical prescence which proved the difference. The only goal of the game came near the end of a largly uneventfull first half, when a cross was spilt by the Weymouth keeper Ryan Park, and a Hamworthy player was on hand to pick up the pieces. Ryan Park did make up for his error making a couple of fine saves towards the end of the game, but Weymouth never really looked like getting back into it, nor did the visitors really look like adding to their lead, as the game petered out into a stop start midfield battle. Top 10 goals: 10. Stefan Brown - HUNGERFORD @ Weymouth I'll start with an opposition goal, from a game against Hungerford Town back at the beggining of November, when both sides were just a few points off the play-offs. For the first half hour, Weymouth played some of their best football of the season. Scott Walker's 9th minute goal had them in front, but they could have had 3 or 4 by the time Stefan Brown changed the game on 32 minutes. He latched onto a long hopefull punt forwards, cut inside, and unleashed a thunderbolt from 20 yards which flew into top corner of the net, just clipping the underside of the crossbar on it's way in. The goal took the wind out of Weymouth's sails, and they went to lose the game 3-1. 9. Luke Burbridge - WEYMOUTH @ Poole The August bank holiday visit to Poole Town was already a big game, despite it being only the 4th of the season. Both sides had won their opening 3 games of the season, and both were among the favourites to be challenging for promotion. There was added spice, with winger Luke Burbridge and defender Michael Walker lining up for Weymouth, having both been part of Poole's South & West division title winning team the previous season, the latter captaining the side. 1053 were there on a glorious sunny day, and around 600 were Weymouth fans. They saw Stewart Yetton open the scoring right on the stroke of half time from a corner. But it was in the second half where the game really came to life. First, Poole had Steve Devlin sent off for a high boot just four minutes into the second half. But it seemed to spark Poole into life, and Richard Gillespie fired the hosts level just before the hour mark. Weymouth were stunned, and just four minutes later, the ten men took the lead; and again, it was Richard Gillespie providing a cool finish bringing delight to the home fans. Weymouth looked out of ideas, but then Poole shot themselves in the foot again. Poole's goalkeeper found himself being yellow carded for time wasting on 65 minutes, and when the ref showed him the card, he gave the ref a sarcastic slap on the cheek. There was only going to be one outcome to that, a second yellow card. The expected Weymouth onslaught never really materialised, with Poole keeping everyone back but always looking a threat on the counter. It took a moment of individual brilliance from the former Poole man Luke Burbridge to earn the Terras a point. He found himself with the ball on the right. He went down the line, and cut inside the defender before lashing a 20 yard shot past the substitute keeper with around 10 minutes to go. Despite it being against his former club, he jumped into the crowd to celebrate. Ironically, that was probably Burbridge's best performance in a Weymouth shirt. He became unhappy at the club and completed a switch back to Poole towards the end of the season. 8. George Rigg - WEYMOUTH v Chesham This game and goal has already been mentioned as one of my three favourite games, but I think the goal that sparked what was very nearly a remarkable comeback deserves another look. He's given the ball in space, flicks it up, and smashes it into the top corner from all of 30 yards, to get the Terras back into the game. 7. Steve Davis - BEDFORD @ Weymouth Another opposition goal this time. Bedford travelled to Weymouth just before Christmas having not won a game since September (they wouldn't actually win another game until early April). They were struggling with severe financial problems, and on a horrible wet day at the Bob Lucas Stadium, they looked desperate to see the game called off. Sadly for them the game went ahead, and first half goals from Luke Burbridge and Stewart Yetton had Weymouth in command at the break. But the rain was unrelenting, and at half time it took a mamoth effort from the ground staff, directors, substitutes, and fans to fork the pitch so that the match could be completed. Another goal each for Yetton and Burbridge had Weymouth 4-0 up, but from the restart at 4-0, came the goal of the game. The ball was played to Bedford's number 7 Steve Davis on the right wing. He weaved his way past 4 players in field and into the box before firing hard into the top of the net, earning applause from even the home fans. A stunning solo goal, which is especially rare at this level. 6. Isaac Vassell - WEYMOUTH v Bashley (away) Bashley spent the whole season near the bottom of the table, thanks to serious financial issues which at one point threatened to stop the club even completing the season. Weymouth were therefore expected to beat them comfortably. The two sides had met in the league at the Bob Lucas Stadium just 3 days earlier, and Weymouth won 2-0 against a spirited Bashley side who would have felt hard done by. This 3-0 win however was far more convincing from Weymouth. Stewart Yetton had given them the lead near half time from the penalty spot, and he then nodded home from a corner early in the second half. But it was young Isaac Vassell who stole the show, with his first goal for the club. He had been signed on loan from Plymouth Argyle, and as the nephew of former England international Darius, he has a lot to live up to. He showed what he's capable of here though, showing great persistence to win the ball on the left halfway inside the Bashley half, before cutting inside, and firing an unstoppable shot beyond the keeper from 30 yards. The shot was so powerfull,it actually hit the wall behind the goal and bounced back out, and it happened so quickly it took a few people a few seconds to realise it had gone in. A superb goal to seal all 3 points on the road for the Terras. 5. Stewart Yetton - WEYMOUTH @ Frome Town (second goal) The final game of 2013 took Weymouth to struggling Frome Town. Frome had not won a home game since March, while Weymouth had recently sacked manager Brendon king along with his assistant - veteran striker Matt Groves, who had now joined Frome Town. For the most part, it was a fairly dull game on a poor pitch which meant both sides had to resort to long ball tactics. Typically, Matt Groves gave Frome a deserved lead just shy of the hour mark. Ben Wood had also started the season at Weymouth, so we knew he had a dangerously long throw on him. How ironic then that a Ben Wood long throw caused chaos in the Weymouth defence, and it all ended with Matt Groves smashing the ball home from no more than a couple of yards out. With twenty minutes to go, Weymouth had still created next to nothing, so they threw on big Nathan Walker up front as a target man. It soon paid dividends. Walker's flick on fell to Yetton, who calmly fired beyond the keeper from the edge of the box to level things up. Weymouth now sensed all three points, and it was Yetton's second goal which really lit the game up. Luke Winsper played a perfect through ball into Yetton, who curled a shot over the onrushing keepers, and just under the crossbar - causing absolute carnage among the travelling supporters - as the players and fans celebrated together. An amazing turnaround. Weymouth ended up picking up 3 points from a game where, with 15 minutes left, even a point looked like being a long shot. Sadly there is no footage of this goal, but those of us who were there won't forget this goal, or the celebrations that followed in a hurry. 4. Isaac Vassell - WEYMOUTH v Hitchin Town Despite there being seven games to go, with the way the Southern League had worked out - neither of these sides had really had anything to play for for quite a while by the time they met at the end of March. Both well out of the race for the play-offs, but well clear of any relegation worries. And for the majority of this game it felt like an end of season friendly, with very little action for the crowd to get their teeth into. Hitchin had taken the lead on 64 minutes when Matt Lench latched onto a through ball, and managed to just get it over the on rushing Jason Matthews. Weymouth rarely threatened, and it looked like being another home defeat for the Terras until once again, young Isaac Vassell showed he showed he is more than capable of emulating Darius, with a moment of brilliance on 72 minutes. A long ball forward into the box was only half cleared by the Hitchin defence into space. Isaac Vassell slipped, but managed to regain his balance quickly. He picked the ball up on the edge of the D, took it wide, before curling a wonderfull shot into the top corner from 25 yards, to pull the Terras back on level terms. 3. Stewart Yetton - WEYMOUTH @ Cirencester (second goal) The 3rd qualifying round draw wasen't too kind to Weymouth - taking them to South & west division (one league below) high flyers Cirencester. Cirencester had only lost one game all season going into this one, and were scoring goals for fun - smashing Didcot Town 7-1 four days earlier. We knew it would probably take something special to win this tie, and that's exacly what happened. Around 200-250 Weymouth fans were there to cheer the team on, and they started well - forcing a string of corners and hitting the crossbar in the first 10 minutes. On 20 minutes, the Terras made a deserved breakthrough, when Luke Burbridge raced to the by-line, and pulled it back for Yetton in the centre of the area. He fired home under the keeper to put Weymouth 1-0 up. But this was not the goal I'm awarding my 3rd best of the season too. Cirencester equalised early in the second half when a corner was met by Hollands, whose towering header gave Jason Matthews no chance, and hauled the hosts level. Now we had a real cup tie on our hands, and Weymouth needed to dig deep. And on the hour mark, came a moment of magic. Defender Sam Poole played a 25 yard ball into Stewart Yetton, who found himself on the left channel. The ball was almost spot on, and Yetton was able to chest the ball down, and unleash a first-time volley that flew into the top corner from all of 30 yards, sending the travelling fans mad. It proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Weymouth progressed to the final qualifying round, where they were eventualy beaten at home by Conference club Braintree Town. Sadly, the Cirencester game was not filmed, so only those of us who were there will know just how special a goal it was. It was a goal worthy of winning any football match at any level. Simply stunning. 2. Enoch Showumni - NOTTS @ Sheffield United The season didn't get off to the best of starts for Notts, who had to play the vast majority of the opening game at Brammal Lane with 10 men after the dismissal of Gary Liddle. But for around ten minutes in the second half, we had hope of achieving a result, thanks to Enoch Showumni. Showumni came on 10 minutes into the second half as a big target man, and within a minute, with his first touch of the ball, he made his mark. A long goal kick from Bialkowski was chested down by Enoch. He held off his marker Harry Maguire - managing to out muscle him and create space for a shot. He turned, and smashed it hard and low into the bottom corner out of reach of the dispearing Long, to haul the Magpies level, and kick off wild celebrations in the away end. A fantastic moment, which was worth the long drive up from Dorset on it's own. 1. Alan Sheenan - NOTTS v Oldham To Notts fans, this needs no explanation at all. I don't think I've ever celebrated a goal so much, or found any penalty so hard to watch. 15 minutes to go at Oldham, 1-0 down and at that point heading down to league 2. Jamal Campbell-Ryce picks the ball up in space and drives towards the penalty area. He crosses it, and it deflects off of Johnathan Grounds' hand. Over 3500 Notts fans appeal in unison for handball, and it what seems like slow motion, the ref points to the spot. The fella stood next to me instantly grabs hold of me, and I turn away in disbelief. This is it, Alan Sheehan has the weight of an entire "community" resting on his shoulders. If he's nervous nervous, he certaintly dosen't show it. He blasts it into the top right corner. The keeper goes the right way, but it's too powerfull, and over 3500 County fans are sent wild. That goal takes us out of the bottom 4 on goal difference. Within a couple of minutes we're celebrating again as news of a Bradford equaliser at Tranmere filters through, and then we start to smell survival as Adam Lockwood is sent off for hauling Campbell-Ryce to the ground. Then, news comes through that Bradford are winning at 10 man Tranmere, and we know we've pulled off the greatest of great escapes. Part of me still can't believe we did it. Six weeks before the end of the season - ironically after defeat at Tranmere, even Shaun Derry admitted that the fat lady was starting to hum, but he still refused to give up, as did some fans. And we did it. One of the most amazing days ever. Other Highlights Yetton takes the gloves In Weymouth's first pre-season friendly away to Dorset Premier League club Portland United, Jason Matthews played the first half in goal, while second choice keeper Simon Evans came out for the second half. Unfortunatly, Simon landed awkwardly on his knee after claiming a cross within a minute of the second half kicking off, and he ended up missing the whole season. I was stood right next to the dugout, and while everyone wondered who would go in goal, Stewart Yetton wandered over. He had been signed as a striker, and ended up being our top scorer netting more than 30 goals over the course of the season. He simply said "Throw me the gloves, I'll go in". Everyone just looked at him, and he was asked if he'd been in goal before, to which he replied "yeah I've done it once before". Everyone laughed, and he played the second half in goal. And he kept a clean sheet! In truth he didn't have anything to do apart from catch a couple of crosses and take a few goal kicks, but he still got ironic chants of "Stewart Yetton Weymouth's number one!". You don't know what your doing! There's usually a reason why officials in the Dorset Premier League are officiating at that level, and they're usually pretty good at showing it. But it's not an exageration to say that the officials of Weymouth Reserves v Swanage Town & Herston put on one of the worst performances I've ever seen. For one, one of the linesman seemed to have no understanding whatsoever of the offside rule. He constantly flagged players who were not offside offside, and kept his flag down when everyone stopped assuming that a player actually was offside! Also, when the Swanage manager went to make a substitution - it took him about 3 minutes to actually attract the attention of the officials so he could make that change. But it was towards the end of the game where they really showed their incompetence. A Swanage player slid in hard near the touchline, got none of the ball, but got all of the man. The referee seemed to see nothing wrong with this, and actually gave Swanage a throw in! Naturally, the whole Weymouth team, and the crowd went mad. So thinking he'd got the throw in the wrong way round, the ref changed his mind and gave it the other way. Still the home side kept shouting at him, and he ended up having to speak to his other linesman to find out what the problem was. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that trying to break someones leg is only a yellow card offence! Poole's keeper has a nightmare The Red Insure Cup is basically the Johnstone's Paint Trophy of the Southern League, only the final isn't played at Wembley - meaning even less people are interested in it. Poole fielded what was pretty much a reserve side, while Weymouth had quite a strong side out. The Terras won 4-0 - Mark Ford scoring all four, but it was the performance of Poole's second choice keeper which was the main talking point. Almost all of his goal kicks were wayward - ending up in one stand or another, and his communications with his defence left a lot to be desired, and ended up contributing to one of the goals. Also, he managed to let a fairly weak effort between his legs at one point, but managed to recover in time to get the ball away. The banter he was getting from us fans behind the goal probably didn't help his confidence, but we couldn't help but laugh ourselves. The longer the game went on, the worse it got for him, until his own manager ended up humiliating him a bit more by bringing him off to be replaced by a lad who looked like he was still in school 10 minutes from time. Old man, what's the score? When Weymouth scored two late goals to claim an admittedly undeserved victory at Frome Town back in December, it was all too much for one chap. As the Weymouth fans celebrated an unlikely win, one oldish looking chap came over and, probably a bit drunk - began pushing a few people about. He declared himself "Frome Town's biggest fan" (not that big a deal when you only have 4 fans), and went on into a massive rant about how scummy our club was, how scummy our fans were, and how we had cheated our way to winning that game. Ofcourse the Weymouth fans didn't really pay too much attention to what the fella had to say. Instead, all he got in reply were chants of "old man old man what's the score?", "one nil up and you f****d it up", etc. Another moment where you really had to be there to see just how funny it was. Fantastic. Monsoon conditions Gail force winds, heavy rain, and hail storms turned the game between Chippenham Town and Weymouth into a farce back in January. It got to the point where the players could barely keep their eyes open, while the fans behind the goal hid under a big flag to keep dry. Incredibly, the ref didn't take the players off. Jason Matthews struggled to get the ball to stay still so he could take his goal kicks, and he ended up having to catch one of his own kicks which flew straight back at him in the wind. The referee actually blew for an indirect free-kick at this point, but after some persuasion, decided to just let Matthews re-take the goal kick. Weymouth were kicking into the wind during the first half, and try as they might, they found it impossible to get out of their own half. Despite going in at the break 1-0 down, most of us were confident we could turn it around in the second half as we would have the wind behind us. But, as is our luck - we came out for the second half in bright sunshine with no wind at all! See for yourself just how bad conditions got during that first half: Dorchester's result of the season A severe overnight strom had damaged parts of Weymouth's ground and forced the postponment of their home game against Banbury. But Dorchester's game was on, so for the second time this season I went "over the hill". I ended up stood with a couple of Banbury fans who were staying in Weymouth for the weekend, and had had the same idea as me. Ofcourse, I cheered on Bromley, and I have to admit I expected them to win the game fairly comfortably. At the time, Dorchester were still rock bottom, but not a million miles off of safety, while Bromley had a fairly healthy cushion over second placed Eastleigh at the top of the table. But what I saw, was one of the biggest shocks of the season. Bromley struggled to get used to an awful pitch, while Dorchester are used to playing on that surface, so actually held their own throughout the first half. They took the lead right on the stroke of half time when Nathan Craig fired a free kick into the bottom right hand corner. We expected to see an onslaight from Bromley at the start of the second half but it never happened. The league leaders simply could not get going. Credit must go to Dorchester, who chased every ball and didn't let Bromley settle at all. They got stuck in. On 51 minutes, we all began to sense that a real shock on the cards when Ashley Yeoman finished from close range to double the hosts lead. Dorchester were beggining to look comfortable, but eight minutes from time, having created next to nothing, Bromley got back into it. A free kick was sent deep into the Dorchester penalty area. It bounced around a bit, before Jay May eventually fired home to give the league leaders hope. Suddenly, it was all Bromley, and they began to throw more and more players forwards, while Dorchester sat deeper and deeper. Sure enough, five minutes later, Louis Dennis curled an effort into the top corner after a driving run into the box, sparking jubilant scenes among the travelling support and on the Bromley bench. It looked as though they'd pulled it out of the fire. But the game still wasn't over, and Bromley now began to sense what had appeared to be an unlikely 3 points. They continued to throw players forward, and had a penalty appeal turned down. But from that penalty claim, in the 90th minute of the game, Dorchester counter attacked. The ball was sent forwards and it was eventually given to Jamie Gleeson, who was unmarked in the box, to fire home and seal a fantastic 3 points for the bottom club. As much as I hate to say it, full credit to Dorchester that day. They deserved the win, and it was an unbeleavable finale to a game that appeared to be petering out a bit. Just glad it didn't spark a great escape! Highlights - The supermarket derby I ended up watching a game at Dorchester yet again in April. This time it was a charity game between the staff of two Weymouth supermarkets - Morrisons and Sainsburys. A couple of my mates were playing so I went along. Ofcourse, it was a family affair. All the players families were there, but I was pleasently surprised to see a really entertaining, end-to-end game. The Morrisons supporters even had a few songs. I think it's fair to say that the Morrisons players had a higher BMI than the Sainsbury's boys, but for big lads they were pretty quick, and were the better side. They took the lead early on from a corner, but Sainsbury's equalised in spectacular fashion - when one of their lads decided to have a go from just inside his own half. Sure enough, the wind took the ball beyond the keeper and into the net, sparking scenes of wild celebration on the Sainsbury's bench. But within a couple of minutes, Morrisons re-took the lead, and that was the way it stayed at half time. As the second half progressed, both sets of players became tired, so the game became more and more stretched. Sainsbury's keeper pulled off 3 or 4 fantastic saves, and in the end Sainsbury's equalised on the counter attack midway through the half. It went to penalties. Morrisons scored all 4 of theirs, while one Sainsbury's lad put his effort into the Tesco carpark, and the other was saved by the Morrisons keeper - making up for his first half error of judgement. It was a really entertaining afternoon, a good laugh, and it raised over £600 to be split between two local charities. There have been many other good times this season. Every Notts match is a great laugh whatever the result, our fans are pretty good at finding something to laugh at even when things are going badly. Just look at the video of our fans at Rotherham for proof of that. I can't lie, I expected a bit more from Weymouth this season, but after years of fighting relegation, another midtable finish is far from a disaster. A word for the reserves too - who had a superb season, finishing 2nd in the Dorset Premier League with the divisions best home record. They're always really good to watch, and it's always a good laugh. I've enjoyed every game really, even in defeat we've had many great laughs. There's nothing else I'd rather do on a Saturday, All's I can say is bring on pre-season!

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

The Final Furlong - relegation dogfight

Well for most of the league there are only 3 games left, 4 for a couple. At the top, the two automatic promotion places are confirmed, and Wolves look set to win the title. Three of the four play-off spots are sorted, but 6th is still up for grabs. But it's down at the bottom where it's really interesting. Today's loss at Bristol City was a bitter pill to swallow for Notts. There's no two ways about it, we deserved all 3 points, let alone 1. But yet again, we shot ourselves in the foot. We've done that too often this season, and I'm concerned it will all come back to haunt us. How many times have we taken nothing from a game we deserved at least a draw from? It's happened all season. Wolves at home, Peterborough away, Gillingham away, Tranmere away, Carlisle away. They all spring to mind. All games in which we played well and deserved a draw at the very minimum, but games in which we ultimately came away empty handed. Even if we could have managed 3 more draws we'd be sitting pretty in 17th place. But as it happens, we find ourselves 22nd, 3 points off safety with 3 games to go. This is the bottom six as it stands going into Easter Monday: Something that really stands out is the fact we've won the most games out of all apart from Coventry, who of course started the season in title winning form. To me, it just nails home how much good a few more draws would have done. What I'm going to do here is look at everyone's remaining fixtures. But let's not waste much time with Stevenage. They're a poor side, and when they come up against anyone who can play football, their tactics are to kick them all over the park, after which they lose anyway. To stand any real chance of staying up they need to win all of their remaning 3 games at home to Bristol City and Walsall, and away to Brentford, whilst hoping everybody above them slips up. I'll take it on the chin if a miracle occures and they manage to do it, but realistically I can't see Stevenage taking more than 2 points at the very most from these 3 games, and that's if they're lucky. Two points would give them 41 points, which even now would have them finishing bottom. Now let's look at 16th placed Oldham. They've been hovering above safety winning the big 6 pointers all season. They already have the magic 50 points but a lot can happen in 3 games. In their case, 4. They play Coventry, Sheffield United and ourselves on the final day at home, and go to Carlisle for a big game. I think they'll beat Coventry, draw with us and Carlisle, and lose to the Blades. 5 points would give them 55 points, which is easily safety. 17th placed Coventry have been sliding further down the table since the turn of the year. They were scoring goals for fun in the first half of th season, but the loss of their two main strikers left a huge hole in the side, and they haven't really recovered. Now they find themselves just 5 points above the drop zone, and face a nervy climax to the season. Aside from their trip to Oldham which I'm claiming they'll lose, they also host champions elect Wolves, before ending their season at Brammal Lane. I've thought about this for a while, and I honestly don't see them getting anything from those games. They haven't proved themselves to be a side capable of grinding out a scrappy victory, and the goals really have dried up lately. They're playing against at least two sides in brilliant form, and another in Oldham who are well used to this situation, and have shown all season that they are capable of winning these relegation six pointers. So 0 points would see Coventry finish on 49 points. Below them at the moment, in 18th place we find Colchester United. Like Oldham, United have struggled hovering just above the dotted line for much of the season, and recent defeats to three of their relegation rivals in ourselves, Tranmere, and today - Oldham, have pulled them right into the mire. This monday they travel to Crewe Alexandra for a huge six pointer. Colchester did win at Stevenage last weekend, but their away form has been poor all season. Mind you, so has Crewe's home form. Crewe have a young side of players who have probably never been in a situation like this before, whereas Colchester have a few more seasoned players among their ranks. However they've chosen the worst possible time to go on such a poor run, and I see them falling short yet again at Gresty Road. They also host title chasing Brentford before ending their season at Walsall. They'd do well to get much against Brentford but Walsall's season is peatering out somewhat, so they might just be able to nick a point on the final day. If they do they'll have 47, which dosen't sound like a surviving total. Crewe themselves are 20th, and are always a good bet for a goal. Their problem has been keeping them out at the other end. They possess the league's worst defensive record. I think they'll beat Colchester on Monday, and after that they go to Bristol City before hosting Preston on the final day. Bristol City were less than impressive despite beating us today but have been in great form. They're a big physical side and I think Crewe's young guns will struggle to take anything from Ashton Gate. The Preston game on the final day is a tricky one. Preston now know they will compete in the play-offs so they may rest key players ahead of them. Crewe also won at Deepdale convincingly earlier in the season. I think they could take a point from that game. 4 points would leave them on the magic 50 point mark. Between Crewe and Colchester, in 19th place, we find Tranmere Rovers. They recently sacked manager Ronnie Moore for breaching FA betting rules but the caretaker manager has steadied the ship in recent weeks with crucial victories against Colchester and Shrewsbury Town. They host Sheffield United on Monday, go to Leyton Orient on Saturday, and end their season at home to Bradford City. Sheffield United's faint play-off hopes have been extinguished and they are out of the FA Cup, as is the case with Bradford City. Two teams with nothing to play for, and an Orient side going into the play-offs in pretty indifferent form. I think Rovers are capable of beating City on the final day, and somehow I reckon they might nick a draw at Orient. Orient are in poor form of late, and Tranmere always do seem to do quite well down there. Orient know they're in the play-offs, Tranmere are desperate for points. So 4 points, again, gives them 50 points. Then in 21st place currently are Carlisle United. They're another side in poor form, losing 6-1 at Preston last weekend having conceeded 4 to us a few weeks earlier. Perhaps crucially, they have a game in hand away to Crawley in just over a weeks time. Crawley, a midtable side in poor form with nothing to play for. Carlisle are fighting for their lives and have bolstered their side with a couple of loan signings, I think they could go there and earn a point. They are not a side who pick up many points on the road, also there is a lot of unrest and discontent between the fans and club at the minute, so you wonder if they have the spirit and togetherness to pull through. They also face Peterborough away, Oldham at home and Wolves away. I think they'll draw with Oldham, and well, they'll do well to get anything at Posh or Wolves. So 2 points would leave them on 46 points. In 22nd, ofcourse we find the mighty Notts County! Or not so mighty as it's turned out this season. A few weeks ago we were dead and buried. But now, of all the sides down the bottom we probably have the biggest head of steam, the most momentum, and possibly the most belief of anyone. We're always good for a goal or two - the FL's 9th top scorers in 2014, but the defence has been an issue all season. We've been very strong at home, and I think we should beat Crawley. As I said, midtable side, nothing to play for. Yeah they beat us at their place but it was only 1-0, and we didn't show up that day. I also think we're capable of beating Swindon Town. For some reason Town just can't get it together away from The County Ground, and that's held them out of the play-offs this season. They still have a small chance, but I think our players will ultimatly want it more on the day, and with it being our final home game, there should be a buoyant home crowd behind the lads. As for Oldham on the last day; our away form is quite poor, but then their home form is also poor this season. I expect they'll be safe by the final day, and I reckon we'll scrape a draw there. 7 points, would give us the magic 50 points. But our goal difference is so superior to the other strugglers it's like having another point. And this leaves Shrewsbury Town. Shrewsbury don't conceede many goals. But they score even less - possessing league one's bluntest attack with just 39 goals all season. They also have the least wins in the league - 9. Typically, 2 of which came against us! Defeats in the last week to both Tranmere and Crewe have all-but sealed their fate. They travel to Preston on Monday before hosting Peterborough, and ending their season at Gillingham. I could actualy see them picking up a point from one of the first two games. Preston will now be looking at the play-offs, and truth be told they haven't really been prolific at home this season. Posh meanwhile have been in poor form since Chrismas, and it's a bit of a miracle they still occupy a play-off spot. Gillingham will finish midtable, and will have nothing to play for on the final day, so I could see Shrewsbury going and winning there. 4 points would give them 45. So, going by my prejections, this would be the final table: 16th. Oldham Athletic - 55 points 17th. Notts County - 50 points 18th. Tranmere Rovers - 50 points 19th. Crewe Alexandra - 50 points 20th. Coventry City - 49 points --------------------------------------------- 21st. Colchester United - 47 points 22nd. Carlisle United - 46 points 23rd. Shrewsbury Town - 45 points 24th. Stevenage - 41 points Obviously some will look at that and think I'm mad to think of us finishing 17th, but it would be on goal difference, and ours is much better than all the other sides apart from Coventry. Some sense has gone into this, I have actually thought about it. I accept that if we go down, I'll look rather stupid. But it's been a while since I've written anything on here so I had to do something! If we play like we have been lately we should be capable of getting enough points on the board to stay up. To a man they were brilliant at Bristol City, and I just hope they don't let the way in which we shot ourselves in the foot bring them down too much. We can't afford to do that anymore this season. Let's start on Monday. We simply must beat Crawley. We have momentum, we're in good form, we have belief. We can do this. COME ON YOU PIES!

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

A Day At Notts & Top Of The Kop

Last saturday I went to see notts play with my dad, I woke up before him and mum got me my breakfast. I like having cereals before I go out, but my sister Ava wanted to come. She kept passing me her shoes all excited, I thought it was funny but I told her I didnt think she was coming. We walked down to the bottom of the road, dad was messing about and he kept telling me we was going to win. He asked me how I thought we would do, I dont like guessing so I tell him we will either win, lose or draw. One of our friends was celebrating her birthday, dad said we needed to get a balloon but we couldn't find one. On the way walking to the ground, this man with a funny accent started talking to dad. It turned out he was a walsall fan, he walked with us until dad directed him and his partner to a pub. Dad sent them in the wrong direction by mistake, I hope he found somewhere to drink before the game. Dad wrote on a card, it was now I realised I had lost the card I had made. I was a little upset but dad said I could write on the card and that it's the thought which counts, I just like making cards for people I like. Once near the ground dad went in to speak with some people, I went quite shy. We then went into the bar but dad did not get a drink. He started talking to our friends, I was happy to see them standing near the doors. Drew (a friend) came in and dad was already speaking to someone else he had met. Drew spoke to me, he's funny and very friendly. The person my dad was speaking to had a pretty nice camera and we went out but it started raining. We took shelter and they spoke a bit more before deciding it was best to get into the ground. We ran and then walked, it was funny for me because I was not bothered about it raining. Notts started the game quite badly and it wasnt long before the other team scored, dad did not seem very happy but he kept singing and trying to encourage me. I was more excited about being sat towards the back of the stand. At half time dad asked me if I wanted to play the drum, my sister Ellie as always wanted to play it herself and I was excited about trying but nervous. I did not think I would be allowed but dad insisted, he spoke to one of our fans who was sitting near the drum and I had a go but I was not very good. Someone else dad knew came and shown me, I played it a little better but it was good fun to try. After the other team scored three goals, I asked dad who controlled the scoreboard. He laughed and asked why, I then told him I wanted to go and have try of that. He asked me why laughing still. I told him I wanted to change the score to favour us. The fans where we sat was pretty vocal in support, although one fan kept swearing and I think hes naughty! He kept saying Notts was useless, I think it was just a bad day and I think fans some fans are quite unhappy people. At the end of the game it was 5!! goals to the other team and the player dad likes (Callum McGregor) was the only player to score for us. He scored a very nice free kick, I think we will do better next time, it was just a bad game. When we got back home, dad was getting ready to go to a party. He asked me to check on my blog, I was surprised to see all the comments but I was hungry and ended up forgetting to thank everyone. Im really happy that people read my blog, plus dad tweeted a few people and shared it on Facebook. There was comments elsewhere which was very kind, im hoping to write about an away day next time and hopefully one of my friends will answer some questions. I like when people reply to my blogs, its even better when they write really nice comments and like it on facebook. Its nice that Alan Judge and Bart saw it and that Aileen Trew reposted it to her friends. I like how Romeo read it too as he is my friend, i wish i got to see him more. Thank you for your kind comments and reading.

super_pie

super_pie

 

Football Manager 2014 - Notts View

The new FM14 is released! (I know I'm a few months late) For those who are avid fans of the Football Manager series, we knew roughly what to expect. I never played FM13, I skipped it totally, in-fact, up until a couple of months ago, I was still playing FM12. If you are going to download/buy FM14, shop around. I looked on Steam and it was listed at £35 at the time. After browsing various sites, I managed to find a deal which was 22 Euros, which I guess is pretty much £20. This gave me a code, to download via steam. Perfect, and £15 cheaper! Cracking on with the game itself, I started as Notts, an obvious choice for me. In previous FM games, I would pretty much ship out 90% of the existing squad and bring in who I wanted. I had been warned, however, that this would unsettle my team and I would struggle, at least initially. Also, on previous FM versions I managed to bounce Notts from League 1 on consecutive promotions all the way to the Premier League, practically re-vamping the squad every season. I was told by friends who have played this game before me, that with FM14, I might struggle achieving these standards. So I did... Season 1 Signings To begin with, I decided that the attacking part of my team wasn't really up to scratch. I was pretty happy with the defense. To compromise on my usual tactic of getting rid of everybody, I decided to replace the attacking half, and keep the defending half, give or take a player or so. As you will see in the screenshot below, this didn't quite materialise. As you can see, I off-loaded a lot of the youngsters on loan. Jamal C-R could have been useful, but I wanted to free up his wages and given his age, 100k was enough to see him away from ML. I brought in A.Keita, only slightly better than Bart, but with a lot of potential and on really small wages. Lopez, Bronzi, Zapata and Mambo were youngsters that could maybe be sold for a profit. The initial big signings were Gomis, Giandonato and Jay Bothroyd. All were Championship standard, with maybe the exception of Giandonato, who had excellent potential. I thought Gomis could be paired with Liddle in midfield, Gia to operate at DM instead of Fotheringham, and Bothroyd to be my main striker. Then the big blow. Offers made for Leacock and Liddle. Fairly big offers for this level, and they both wanted to leave, Leacock I thought I could replace, but Liddle was quite important and this was reflected by me trying to sign him back (unsuccessfully) the following season. Sheehan had offers, but due to the lack of any type of quality left backs available, I wasn't going to let him leave. Further signings included Fitz Hall, an ageing but quality CB to replace Leacock, Dudas, an adequate replacement for JCR, Bauben, to replace Liddle, Manuel Ruz, for challenge/cover for both full-back positions, and Craig Gordon, once recovered from injury, as a backup keeper and part-time GK coach to help Pilks. Gace and Bouazza were bigger signings to confirm the 'complete squad', especially as Grealish wouldn't extend his loan until the end of the season. Results As you can see, the first half of the season didn't go well. Mostly bad form was punctuated with brief periods of good form, followed by another run of losses. I did sort of think that this would be the case with pretty much a complete overhaul of the squad, although I didn't expect it to be this bad. There wasn't really much I could do to halt the bad form, changing tactics, players, nothing seemed to work. This form put me only just above the relegated zone! Moving us on to the second half of the season. Polar opposite. Great form punctuated by the odd loss or draw here and there. Loan signings helped me along the way, but the main key players were the ones that started in the first half of the season. Gace, Bothroyd, Gomis and Bouazza were particular stand outs. The form led me into the play-offs, 5th, and secured good wins over both Tranmere and Sheff. Utd in the play-offs. A great second half of the season, just goes to show what effect changing your whole squad has, it takes half a season for them to adjust. It worked out OK in the end I guess! Season 2 to follow...

Super_Danny_Allsopp

Super_Danny_Allsopp

 

A Young Pie's View On Notts

I like when notts give tickets a way at my school, though theres not many who support notts at my school. Louie (a friend) says his dad supports notts but he doesn't he supports a totally different team. I really like going to watch see notts with my dad, we have quite a few friends and I look forward to seeing them, I think this is one of the things which is special. The thing I find sad is that all my friends support teams which are not from nottingham or one's my dad does not like. My uncle used to take me to games when I was very little, I dont really remember them but I can remember going around the ground and meeting the players. That makes a difference and dad once told me notts visited him at school, along with the cricket team and them. I really think notts should send some of their players to do p.e or something, it would be nice. Our players are pretty friendly, I have pictures taken with quite a few and them taking time to do this also helps. On the 18th of this month, dad took me to go see stevenage. We go by mini bus and with a group of fans. I wished paul (friend) would be going but he didnt. I like the group who go, though I go pretty shy around them but its nice to travel. I sat on the last row, eating smarties one of the people dad knows gave me. I think our fans are really friendly! They are another thing which I like about supporting notts. I first became a notts fan when i started going to notts games in 2008 when i was 2 years old. I like to go to notts home games with my dad too because we get to have fun day out and i like the pie i can have at half time. Home and away days are different but we always see our friends at the games and its nice to see them all. I wish my birthday was in the football season because i would get to see my friends then. I like asking questions, so dad said i could message a member of the community. I asked JurgenPie 1: What was the first football match you attended, could you tell me about it? - first game was on 19 October 74, we beat Oxford 4-1, came back from 1-0 down and got goals from Ian Scanlon 2, Les Bradd and Steve Carter, still got the programme as well. 2: How long have you supported Notts and why did you choose them? Will be 40 years in October, had never been to a football game so just went down on a Saturday I was 18 at the time to see which Nottingham team was at home and got bitten by the bug. 3: Do you prefer Home or Away games and why? Home games in the Kop just for the atmosphere 4: Do you think young fans are important for Notts? My school sometimes gets free tickets but not many at my school support us, how could Notts encourage them? Young fans are important and are the fans of the future, sending players to schools might help to encourage them to watch Notts and things like Junior Magpie. 5: What are your match days like? - Match days I drive or ride my motorbike depending on the weather and park up before going to the Trent Navigation for my dinners and then to the MLSB via the club shop, normally go into the ground for about 2.20 to watch the players warm up. Thanks to my mum and Jurgen and to those who read my blog.

super_pie

super_pie

 

The "thing" About Football

Football's tribal, it's a game of pride and passion. The skill came into the game as it developed, my father's written interesting articles regarding the growth from mob football to what we know today. In the early days it was about 'families' and true gentleman of the sport, it was respected and professional but contributed by people of lower classes. It was certainly the working's man game which made it what it is today, certainly not anything to do with Sky. The backbone behind the popular sport is the fact that anyone can enjoy it, that's if you give it a chance. The sport brings together a mix of people, from all walks of life and although much as changed from the days when the ball was first struck – The principles still apply. We can all see the difference from various teams, sports and types of fans. For me this is football, this is what makes the game different and unique. Our side might not be in the league which gains the most attention, the better players, the fans or board members with financial clout. However, it's what we can make of it and in our current situation we have to rally around the team we support. It's funny, one season you can be on the verge of glory and bound for the league many of our fans dream of being able to watch Notts play in. The next falling into the basement league of professional football, set-up with capable players who could achieve so much more. The thing about football is that we can make a difference, the club can strive for better things and if we can combine the two – perhaps the light will grow brighter at the end of the tunnel. I don't know about you, I can take comfort in seeing positives and hold onto the belief that one day we can get back into the Championship but this said I am more than content to watch us in any league, regardless. It really disappoints me to see our fan base splitting up. There's portions which will be around no matter what, but without sticking together the meaning behind the passion equals very little. This doesn't mean we can't survive but it limits our own dreams and there's very little point in hitting the self-destruct button when something isn't quite working. The appointment of Shaun Derry's been acceptable, the response from many fans far better than I had expected and the fact his record is quite fragile already. It's the fact he installs the pride we require, as a fan he's more likely to want to fix things and we do seem to be playing better. Yesterday I witnessed a fan becoming abusive towards fan who were being silly, I can't say I don't expect to hear a fan calling certain players, but I can ignore it. Although it's concerning when a fans whole attitude says 'I know more than you', as it would be boring if we can't discuss and if you think someone shouting 'x player your a bunch of ****' leaves room for discussion then something else is going on. So I don't understand the need to reply to each and every whimper, I thought at periods this certain fan was going to say it to someone who wouldn't back down. It's extremely dangerous and careless, especially for other fans. Opinions vary – in real life you wouldn't expect a compete stranger to share your views and the same should be said in football. You will meet some fantastic people if you're open to it, I know I've done this and I am grateful but it's saddening to see fans having ago at each other. There's very little point in starting on each other, whatever happened to agree to disagree? It happens away from the ground, you see it all over the place and it isn't just related to our fans. You see this on general football forums, where opposition fans don't allow you to express yourself and try to prevent your opinion. Even the person who inspired me to ramble on about this has that right but he should choose to do it in the right way. Just in front of him, my son sat trying to ignore his comments and for a 7 year old. It's not what you want him to witness, you don't expect a fan to respond to every little negative comment or even just general opinions – in the way that leads to arguments and an attempt to big your own knowledge up. Stewards should be more watchful of this type of behaviour, as I think it's best ignoring. Hopefully some will agree with me, I am sure I am not the only one who becomes annoyed when hearing players being bashed or negative comments but it annoys me more when people rise to this negative behaviour. Football is so much better being the sport which tries to strive for better things.

Chris

Chris

 

Personal Blog - My Views...

The New Manager.... Back when CK was sacked, I didn't really much thoughts on who would replace him. I only had a shortlist of who I would hate to see in the hot seat here at Meadow Lane. Openly, I would hate to see Paolo Di Canio and he was my only real fear. I know of friends who would hate 'Steve Evans' but at least he commits to doing his home work and as a manager he really hasn't done all that bad, it's just a shame about the type of person he is. Now we've seen the likes of Shaun Derry, Brian Kerr and Dean Saunders. Are these really the types of managers we can hope to expect managing the team so many fans truly care about? It's a shame really, it's a succession of bad managers and limited ambition (on whoevers part) for the reason of why we have such a lack of uninspiring candidates. I've actually grown tired of the blame game, I don't care and the type of person I am - I want to see us all move on and accept this, the only real way in doing so in my opinion is to make sure the right person comes in. It could very well be one of the 3 names mentioned above..... Notts County..... Big club, small club or even family club. We have an image, it's not being desperate or the fact we tend to find ourselves far to often in these situations but it's the fact that WE ARE BATTLERS. Perhaps the existing squad don't realize this, along with the tradition and history which comes for playing for the magpies but they have to care. I don't suggest that they enjoy losing, certainly I have the belief that they're good enough. If we go down, I will be there and along with many others. The people who suffer really for supporting Notts, as a club which reflections on the missing fans - The current fan base which I have come to know seem to greatly care and there's a good sense of family/good spirit among them. This suggests as a fan base we are perhaps braver than the actual players, who by the way will most likely leave us after relegating us to the basement division. It will be interesting to see what loyalty these players have! Coventry..... We matched them - I can't refer to Walsall because they looked sharp in the first half and I can't say Carlisle because we were considerably better than them. Coventry looked destined to play out a mediocre game, one which Notts should have taken it to the next level - especially if they had a little of self belief and pride. Can we really be upset about losing to them? No, though it's the fashion we did. It wasn't acceptable and apologizing is not the right thing to do, pretty weak and naive. My Personal Part.... Yesterday I actually enjoyed, I don't see results as being the only important thing. I can take winning, losing and drawing but for me it's about how we do it. The game was horrible, very depressing and I'd rather not try to remember any more about that. Jake was very excited, he likes the group we go with and there's several members (like me) that can make your day just by seeing. One of which did something very nice for Jake and he hasn't stopped talking about it, I really don't mind because I love to see him being confident. It was weird visiting a team playing away from home, although I wasn't impressed by Coventry fans. They seemed very deluded and in their position I wouldn't be making a joke. At half time they gave away free pizza! It was very funny, my honest thoughts was it was a poor joke. It seemed very Americanized, whip the crowd into a frenzy and finish off by throwing football away. Pretty pathetic but I've seen other odd things, so you shouldn't really be surprised. My final thoughts, I'd hate to see people as numbers or making up for a lack. I have to say I feel a little disappointed, especially since I have to make some big decisions but I have to add that the whole day wasn't a disappointment, just watching Notts and going back home.

Chris

Chris

 

My Trip To Bristol - 5.10.13

Having only witnessed the final 10 minutes of Weymouth's FA Cup 2nd Qualifying round tie with Bognor Regis last weekend (we won the replay 4-1), I was desperate to see a good game this weekend. Weymouth were away to Biggleswade and I didn't fancy the idea of sitting on a coach for 5 hours. A quick look through the fixture list and I saw that Bristol Rovers were at home to Fleetwood Town. I did some research on the football ground guide website to see how to get there, and when I found that a return ticket on the train was only £17 it seemed like too good an oppurtunity to miss, so off I went. I got to Bristol Temple Meads just before 2pm and decided to just jump in a taxi outside the station rather than trying to find the right bus. The driver was quite chatty - turned out he was a Bristol City fan, and he reminisced about the 70s, and when Don Revie's Leeds United played at Asthon Gate in front of 45,000 people. It was an FA Cup tie, and Bristol City went on to win the replay at Elland Road 1-0. He dropped me off right outside the Memorial Gates, and at ten quid for the four mile drive I couldn't complain. My mate who moved to Bristol recently for work met me at the ground and we decided on standing in the Blackthorn end behind the goal, where the Bristol Rovers singers stand. I went to buy my ticket, but it was only when arriving at the ticket office that I realised I had left my student card at home. I asked about a student ticket but was asked if I had my card, so I had to pay full adult price. At £18 it wasn't cheap, but compared to other ticket prices certainly not overly expensive. When I got into the ground I took a few photos (see below) and went off to get some food. A sausage roll and can of coke for £1.90 was not to be snifed at, although half the pastry from the sausage roll ended up on the floor! http://prideofnottingham.co.uk/community/gallery/album/35-/ One thing I really liked was while the players were warming up, Rovers managed John Ward came over to the Blackthorn end to greet the fans. He shook hands with fans, took the time to stop and speak to a lot of young children, and signed programmes. I thought that was a really nice gesture, it would be nice to see more managers do that sort of thing. Finally, kick off approached. I was looking forward to this game as it had all the makings of a very interesting game. Fleetwood are in the promotion mix and have been strong on the road; whilst Rovers have struggled with injuries and made a stuttering start. However they appeared to be finding a bit of form and were still unbeaten at home. The first half was actually quite dissapointing, not much happened at all. Bristol Rovers tried to play football but offered next to nothing in the final third. Fleetwood were very well organised and pressed the ball well. However their own tactics in the first half seemed to be to just hoof it forward to the big lad up front. 0-0 at half time was deffinitely fair, with neither side creating any real chances. The second half however, was much better. Rovers came out more fired up, and they should have taken the lead when Andy Bond raced onto a through ball but at one v one with Fleetwood keeper Scott Davies, he put his effort wide. Then the visitors went close when Antoni Sarevic's effort was tipped over the crossbar by Steve Mildenhall when it looked destined for the top corner. On 64 minutes a goal finally arrived, and it came for Fleetwood. A run into the penalty area was not stopped by the Rovers defence, and Jamille Matt turned the ball home from no more than a yard out. But this seemed to spark Rovers into life. Just two minutes after falling behind, Andy Bond put a cross into the box and John-Joe O'Toole headed into the top corner from a couple of yards out, sparking jubilant scenes in the Blackthorn end with many fans running down to the front to rub it in Scott Davies' face, after he had shushed the home fans when Fleetwood took the lead. Suddenly Rovers were on top, and the home fans were right behind their team. In the very next attack Rovers had another header cleared off the line, and from the resulting corner Chris Brunt saw his header smash against the crossbar. Fleetwood managed to weather the storm and going into the final few minutes, it was anyone's game. But it was the visitors who snatched the points with two late goals. With just 3 minutes remaining, Sarevic opened up the Rovers defence and found Jamille Matt, who slotted home from the edge of the area to send the Fleetwood fans mad. Bristol Rovers tried to rally and push for another equaliser, but they didn't really threaten the Fleetwood goal and deep into added time, a Fleetwood counter attack was finished off by substitute Jon Parkin who volleyed home superbly from a tight angle. The full time whistle was greeted by some boos from the home fans, but I didn't think they had played too badly. On another day they might have won had they taken advantage of their spell of pressure just after the equaliser, but that's football isn't it? Full of what if's. The atmosphere wasn't quite as good as I thought it would be, with the Rovers fans only really coming to life after they scored. Mind you, when the entire Blackthorn end sang the club anthem "Goodnight Irene" it sounded brilliant! I didn't record it, but here's another video I found of that song: We left the ground and caught a bus back to the town centre. My train back was due to depart at 17:49 so by the time I got off the bus, I had around 20 minutes to make what was apparently a 20 to 25 minute walk back to the station. So just to be safe, I did something I hadn't done for years - run! I made it back with a bit of time to spare but was knackered for it. I'm deffinitely unfit! On the whole it was a very good day out. Not too expensive and another ground ticked off. I liked the Memorial Stadium - it was odd in that 6 stands make it up and none of them match, but I always prefer the older grounds as they have a bit of character and tradition about them. Next up for me is Cirencester Town away with Weymouth in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying round, then Swindon Town away with Notts Up The Terras! Come On You Pies!

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

Football Family Day Out! - Notts..

Anyone who knows me, will know how much my family mean to me. I am a very proud father! So when Notts announced that they would be doing an offer for the Crewe game, I set many hopes on making this our first game together as a complete family. Myself and Jake have season tickets – I thought it would be a good way to bond with him further and on occasions we manage to encourage Ellie into joining us. Yet Kate isn't really all that into football, she's not big on noises and it's a little demanding taking 3 little one's to a football game when you don't drive but it's fun. Jake and Ellie, I feel was more excited then me. They love Notts, I can't say I was so passionate at their age but I think they see how much it means to me, so equally it means a lot to them. I wanted to get down early today, I think we left not long after 12pm. We had arranged to meet up with Uncle William, this was his actual first game of the current season and I am keen to see more from him! We caught the bus into town and made our way to Meadow Lane. Once at Notts, I was actually surprised by how slow it was. I'm not sure of the time but it was well after 1pm, I have seen it busier and I did feel a little nervous about the attendance. This said, not long after arriving. Les Bradd past me, walking along side several suited men and talking about expecting a good crowd. I heard him say - “We will get over 6k today, I expect a very good attendance” I felt a little reassured by that. We got the tickets we required, then went into the Meadow Lane Sports Bar. Jake noticed someone who means a lot to him, a very kind fan who we both respect. He was pretty nervous, I had to encourage him to say hello. He was a little disappointed that he didn't see anyone else he knew, though it's a change because this time last year I would not have stepped into the Meadow Lane Sports Bar, yet alone actively see if anyone was in there. I'd be surprised if I managed to get a drink with Kate to be honest, we are both too shy for our own good. After a drink, a little bit of fan and of course myself taking pictures. We headed for a brief walk around the ground, then went to take our seats. A little bemused by a Steward who let my Wife through the gates with the children (without seeing our tickets). I actually asked if he wanted to see them, as I was concerned by this but he insisted that I just went through the other gates. I have to be honest here, I think he should have looked! Now onto Notts! Young Speiss came out, he's looking more like a keeper. I don't doubt his ability but he looks very young and slim, which he starting to look more round and built up. It's good to see, as I hope he becomes number one for us some day. I liked how Notts trained in front of the KOP, not at the side of the Pavis Stand. I felt this was a good way to get the fans in spirit, I have to say I wished the Pavis would sing more. We looked very calm, collected and exactly how a team should appear. When the game started, I felt Crewe broke off nicely and came at us. It looked a little nerving at the start, although when we found our passing you could tell the training ground's been a key area. Bright football, although early on I noticed the ball creep back to Bart a little more than I would like but after all they're the pro's.. After our first goal, I felt a great sense of pride and that hope which comes from wanting to see us do well re-lit. I have to be honest, despite the Tranmere and the accepted Carlisle performance. I have been a little down and I am unsure about CK now, although if we can put a few more performances like this in. I will openly admit I should have backed him, though I don't think anyone can be faulted really – Sitting bottom of the league, looking unimpressive as we did. It's enough for fans to become concerned and I don't think it means “negative” in the destructive sense. I believe in character building and any manager would ultimately want to change the opinion of the fans and so I feel CK wouldn't see it as personal, after all it's not about disliking him but wanting the best for the club we support. After the second goal, I felt we was in a great position. At half time, I felt we needed to continue and just break up play. Crewe came back out looking sharper, they tried to cause us problems and I did think they might perhaps get back into the game. This was until we scored the third, then it became a bit of an exhibition. They came at us, though without much ambition and they reminded me of us after drawing to Walsall and dare I say it, the result which followed after that game. Grealish, although not quite a Tranmere performance. He did very well, I think we'll see him shine or McGregor, I think it's unlikely to see both have such an amazing game but I certainly hope I am wrong. Fotheringham deserves credit, he broke play and directed it. Boucaud, he's not been away from the team? At least his performances give the confidence that he's been a first team starter for sometime. Haber – Despite me thinking he's got the ability of a stranded defender. He tries, I like that and he's the hampering striker we require at times. I didn't see his header, although his goal at Tranmere is where I get the vision of a defender from. Leacock seems a little different, I have to say I think Liddle is playing more like a leader. At least when it comes to winning play, some of Deano's passing could have seen us punished on another day but it didn't today, so it's not really a problem. Yet I sincerely hope the players realizes how much support they have, it's not always in the bigger forms. I am someone who seems something in a little, rather than a lot. Obviously it's great seeing the fans as they was today but on the cold dark days, when the football isn't as inspiring. There's a portion of great fans, who care deeply about Notts County. I think they should take faith from that a little more, especially those who travel to away games. It's honestly like a family

Chris

Chris

 

History Is Our Greatest Weapon Part 2

Like I said yesterday this blog will be very controversial and may upset or offend some fellow fans. Whilst history is our greatest weapon do us fans rely on our history to much ? yes we are the oldest club in the football league and yes we have ties with the biggest Italian clubs in seria A. but what else do we have to fall back on ?? investors keep us at arms length do to recent problems, we have managerial problems every year where we see at least 2 every season promising the world but bring nothing to the table. We have owners that openly refuses on the club and national web site to invest in the club anymore unless they see more fans coming through the gates !! we've had problems paying our taxes the blacklisting goes on ! We've won one game drew one game and lost 7 if the manager was a doctor and made this many mistakes he would of been struck off by now ! the fans have always said he is not good enough and most of those fans have refused to go back to meadow lane until he is replaced, which in turn is a bit of a catch 22 situation from and earlier statement made in this blog, yes you can have your cheep promotions and discount days but it really doesn't make a difference as a fan you are probably just spending less for the same result !! at this rate if things don't start getting better and stay the same for the rest of the season notts will end on 20 points (go figure). Some of the statements from fellow fans are that the manager doesn't play the game and its down to the players on the pitch but that's like having a business with no manager to drive his or her department to achieve better thing which brings the loop back to the manager not doing his job !! Mr Trew if you want bums on seat and you want to maintain those bums on seats find a manager that has strong connections in the footballing world that knows how to develop a squad to have a positive mental attitude within the dressing room on the training field but also on the football field. next I come to the team most are paid 10 times the amount of a normal hardworking fan, they are classed as a team built to entertain the fans they are their to build the club in to something bigger better that it already is, which is something they have lacked in doing, these are all professional footballers that have trained all of their lives to do so why is it the team we have cannot string a movement together, cannot move around the pitch and make space for their fellow footballer ? think whilst on the ball think whilst of the ball our defence this season is a sham it's like they don't know how to block a cross or stop a shot or even get anywhere near the opposition these again are back to basic movements on the training field. now here is the biggest part of the controversy Grand Colin is it not time he gave it up ?? the guy makes that's many mistakes on the radio its unreal ! is it not time to let dean yates take the bull by the horns and rule the airwaves ?? I haven't heard so much negativity in all my life yes I agree that he has committed to the club and given his dedication to the work he has done but for me its time for out with the old and in with the new. offer him a lifetime membership card in the comfy seats and maybe a memorial match with new and old players that he has commentated on in years but for me its time he hung up his microphone and passed the baton on to the next person. I know this blog may sound like a rant but most if not all of what I have spoken about you are all thinking deep down. For me the club needs to concentrate on the future use our history and links to our advantage but not dwell on it. bring in someone capable of doing a proper job from the off and give him or her the financial backing they need to do that job. moving forward should be our aim not living in the past. hope you enjoy my blog scott

scottpie

scottpie

 

History Is Our Greatest Weapon

After reflecting over the past week or so, I feel so proud to be a notts county fan. Being part of the black and white family fills me with passion to sit in the stands every other Saturday and take whatever result comes my way !! But there is nothing like that drive from Derby to Nottingham with my youngest son sat next to me in the car listening to Colin slater on the radio doing pre match talks, then pulling up to the cattle market car park then walking round the back end of the kop past all the away supporters coming of the train. Then you have then anticipation when going through the turnstile in to the ground walking up the steps in the Kop and seeing the green grass that has been lovingly maintained by Trev, That's when it happens a smile comes across my face and I think to myself I'm home again. for me its not just about the winning, don't get me wrong I do love to win but its the atmosphere its the wheelbarrow song being sung by 2000 people behind me, its knowing that every single person in those stands feel the same as me for 90 minutes. Over the last 30 years I have seen many a good footballer come and go from the likes of Geoff pike, tommy Johnson, Craig short, don O'Riordan, Charlie palmer, dean yates, Phil turner, Mick Leonard and Steve cherry. I've also seen some bad players to (won't mention those !!) all these players all had one thing in common success playing at the lane !! how many players do we have now that are true to the club that will play 120% week in week out to pull the result out of the bag ? 2-3 years ago I personally thought we had one of the best teams in a very long time with the likes of mike Edwards in the heart of defence, bishop, Davies and judge in the middle and the man himself golden boot Lee Hughes up front and what I think is the best manager we've had since the Warnock days Steve Cotterill, but once again financial differences got in the way and Notts now see themselves a year or two down the line 3 managers later and a brand new squad having to build new foundations. whilst I believe in stability of the club not only on the pitch but also off the pitch I also believe in speculate to accumulate. 3 years ago when we had all that fiasco with Munto Finance they speculated and it paid off in the end (we got promoted) and there was double the amount of supporters down the lane watching. I'm not saying Mr Trew has to put his hand in his pocket but I firmly believe if we are to reach the championship the fans would come out of the woodwork every other Saturday down the lane to watch the likes of Forest, derby, Leicester, Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday just to name a few !! League one is a very difficult division to get out of at times but it is possible. I feel with the right manager with the right financial backing Notts county as a club as a team could quite easily make it to the championship. I know I've rambled on about past but that's who we are ! that's one of Notts county's main strengths our history ! there is no other team that can match us for our history. I think with the strides we have made over the years and the links with Juventus we should build on that further and make the Notts County brand even more wide spread than it is at the moment. I would like to see more community projects in the paper on the website in the programme, I would like to see the club getting more involved in local charities I would even like to see all the Notts players getting involved at Nottinghamshire schools. It was a refreshing read today regarding bart and his community work. I feel that the club over the past couple of years have been more about the sell, sell, sell than the give, give, give. Notts county to me has always been a family orientated club and I think the club should remember that. well that's it from me onwards and upwards UPIES

scottpie

scottpie

 

What Does It Mean To Be A Notts County Supporter

Good Morning Notts fans, Over the years I have thought to myself if other notts supporters feel the same as me ?? a brief insight to what I mean !! do you get excited when you go on holiday abroad and see a fellow notts fan wearing the stripes ? I do !! do you get frustrated when non football fans call us Nottingham county and the other team notts forest? I do !! being a fan for 36 years there have been a few ups and downs from the lows of school and being surrounded by florist supporters to the highs of reaching Wembley more times than any other local team. for me being a notts county supporter is about tradition that has run through our family for over a hundred years. from looking up to the scoreboard and watching the man change the score manually to where we are today. My question to you is :- what does it mean to you to be a Notts County fan ??

scottpie

scottpie

 

Bring On Liverpool - Coyp!

At the beginning I often felt a little down, this is just me in general but I understand the process but it's not just that. I have big hopes for the site, this isn't to take away credit from anything or even the official site. I'm just a very proud and loyal fan. I feel I am helping in a small way and believe that my positive attitude however deluded it seems actually helps. It's a strange one because in life I am not openly positive, rather for myself I think very negatively but when it comes to others I have strong faith. Notts County will have no doubt seen some harder times, much harder than this, and if we're to rise up the league, which I still think we will, the fans will have to give the club a little bit of a break as it's early days and we tend to go from low expectations to world beaters. Somewhere along the way we have to be realistic! Notts will take on Liverpool tomorrow, I am very optimistic. Saturday I was disappointed like the majority of fans, I try to draw from the positives and admittedly even they were few and far between. Thing's might change by tomorrow, football is one of those things with many up's and down's but we've shared more than a few of our own. Unlike some of the minority of our fanbase, I am more than happy to state when I am wrong and not throw it into anyone's faces when I'm right. I don't get the need for this, as in itself it's very negative. My hopes for the season in terms of prediction(s) might be a little off from us but the season must start somewhere. I don't believe any fan of ours wants us to underachieve or not do well, so with this said it would be nice to see a little more of a re-group after we've had our moan. Tomorrow is a positive thing within it's own right, the clubs got a chance to return to centre stage and hopefully show the world we're not as bad as things seem. A good account of ourselves tomorrow might bring the fight within the players, we need them to be hungry and wanting to achieve. I don't mean to sound patronizing, these are just my thoughts. I'm lucky that no matter what the outcome tomorrow, I can take strength from seeing my lad enjoy his day and I hope many others also do. It's amazing how these types of things can bring us together, I very much hope the fanbase does regroup because this is no time to start panicking. I'd leave this until at least after Christmas If you read this and are one of the travelling fans, no matter what.,show your PRIDE, we're a family club and there's no difference between us. Sing loud and proud – Make your presence known. Come On You Pies!

Chris

Chris

 

Getting Used To Pon 101 #community

The hub and heart of the site is no doubt our community, I've tried to keep things engaging but simple. It's my first port of call when I visit, obviously due to me already knowing the content on the home page. It's the place also most commonly people visit, so I try to make sure it's not over cluttered. 1) If you click where it says "Welcome *your username*" you will see a menu display. This is where all sorts of useful likes are found and of course the place to edit your settings. It's pretty straight forward once you notice it, although you can do quite a bit from this location. My Profile, My Content, Manage Friends, Manage Blogs, My Gallery, My Settings, Content | Follow, Manage Ignore Prefs and Personal Messenger. You can also update your status here which shows in your profile and in the sidebar area of the community, a useful way to express yourself to the community. A useful tip to both Newpies and of course existing members is found in the breadcrumb bar. To the right you will see "Rules" please don't be put off by these but sure to familiarize yourself with our policies. "View New Content" the easy way to keep track on what's going off and has happened in the community, very good way of finding discusses to take part in also. To end you will see a little toggle box, if you scroll over it you will notice it says "Open Quick Navigation" this is a great way to quickly finding a location anywhere on our site. Easily noticeable is Community Message and of course the Community Notice, you don't have to take to much notice of these but eventually they will change. To the right, you will see the "sidebar" here we feature all the little pieces we feel you might be interested in. Next Match Block, Member of the Month, Mini League Table, Recent Status Updates, and Recent Topics. The Recent Topics is another useful way of keeping up-to-date with on goings within the community. If you follow this straight down, you will see a large block which lists Newest Users, Top Posters, Top Forums and Recent Posts. It's always nice to welcome a new member and you will find that one of our friendly members usually start a thread to welcome them, the two others "Top Posters" and "Top Forums" are just interesting information but of course again, the Recent Posts is another quick way to keep tabs on what's going on. Just a little lower than that, you will find some more useful information. A row of "Statistics" and then the "Who's Online", along with a little key legend to let you know what colour means what. This pretty much wraps the community index page up, in my next 101 blog series. I will cover #Posting. I hope these will be useful to everyone and if you're a new member please express yourself, seriously we're a very friendly community and it's the interactions which make any site. Right at the very bottom, we have our "Footer" with useful links inside. In the middle there's a button to send you back up to the top of the site, to the left - Change Theme (useful if you're on a mobile and the sites no detected your device) - Mark Community Read - Help - Rules and Privacy Polcy. To the right our copyright details and beneath you will see our chat system. The far right button (which I think looks like a pill) is the toggle on and off switch. Next to that the "blue and white" people icon, is our chat room and to the side very much like Facebook is the individual chat area (as you can I'm talking to Super Ram). To the left you find our social pages. Here's my previous Blog | Getting used to PoN 101 #Basics Thanks for reading!

Chris

Chris

 

Getting Used To Pon 101 #basics

Over the next couple of weeks I plan to blog about our features and how to make the most of the website, I'm not trying to belittle anyone and most perhaps are fine but I thought that doing this might help people who are new to Pride of Nottingham and the system in which we use. Visitors There isn't actually much that I need to explain to visitors, since the majority of features come when you register. A visitor can read all our content, view each section and have the basics in which we offer. We're a free site, without ads and we will avoid the use them completely. Of course you will be able to read our articles, either by clicking the title or 'read more'. We have 8 different categories, which will feature their related content. Here you will see the userpanel You will be able to search different locations by pressing the magnifying glass. You can join us by using Facebook or Twitter connect, very useful if you want quick and easy access but alternatively you can simply click 'Create Account' and the process is very straight forward but please make sure to fill the details in correctly. Members If you're a member and you see the above image, you will need to click 'Sign In' and follow the simple logging system. Once you have you will be greeted with the members userpanel. Firstly you will see your display picture, it may be the default image and you can change this simply by clicking it and if you're on your desktop/laptop you will see the display picture in the left hand corner with 'change' or you can click here. Simply click 'Choose My Photo and make sure your image fulfills the requirements. If you struggle, please contact me, I will happily sort it for you if you provide me with your username and the image you'd like to use. Email webmaster @ prideofnottingham .co.uk (please remove the spaces and rejoin it together) If you click on the 'Welcome, your username', you will see various information. It is here you will be able to choose your status, view various information and check account details. Now for the icons. The white envelope is our PM (personal message) system, you can contact any member by using this and if you allow yourself to be contacted members will be able to message you. The gold bell, this is for notifications that you subscribe too. You can customize what notifications you receive by clicking here and toggling which one's you would like. By doing this it can cut down the amount of time you spend searching, it can also allow you to get updates to various areas making it easier for you to notice if you someone has responded to you. The smiley allows you to choose your mood, just click it and you will get some funny little icons to express yourself with. Let the community know how you're feeling! The magnifying glass is again the search tool, you can search all the areas of the site with this. The final icon is to logout, fairly straight forward. Posting This is very simple, we have quite a few categories and forum sections. This makes it easier to separate the type of content and although you may be used to something else, once you become familiar with it, you will find it very easy to understand. Click on a post or forum section, from there you will either see a list of the sections content or the view of the discussions responses. Once you have made your way onto a discussion, you can respond by quoting a members reply or even scroll to the very bottom where you will be greeted by a text field - Labelled 'Reply to this topic' just click anywhere in the white field and you will then be able to type out your response. The text editor allows you to use various features to dress up your response or even include, images, videos (youtube) and smileys. When you have typed your message, just click 'Post' and wait a few seconds. The page will reload and your post would then have been added! Our system automatically saves content, so if you require using a draft you will see an icon in the bottom left of the text field. Once clicked on, you will be able to choose the time of your most recent draft You can even click 'More reply options' and this will give you extra features like being able to upload an image. Well this is the basic entry, which I hope will be helpful. We do have help files which you can read but these might not help. I will cover more features and ways to get around the next entry. Let me know below if you would like me to cover something! Thanks.

Chris

Chris

 

Football Manager 2013 Handheld

Some of those who are friends on my facebook account, will have noticed my new addiction to the Football Manager 2013 Handheld series. It would probably come to know surprise to say, I'm a big football gamer and I've played the original PC series for years. I actually manage Brighton on my laptop. Yet it's the handheld version which I find most compelling. The reason is, I'm not bogged down with some of the features they've bloated the actual game with and I am able to play much quicker. It's nice, when you're on limited time. I started off as Notts County and it's who I still manage. Yay!! I haven't been sacked. It's fairly easy, yet this doesn't stop the joy because you can still get beaten by a team like Portsmouth (Yes I really did). First thing I was greeted with was Alan Judge requesting to move on, none the less I offered him a contact and a few days later he rejected. I decided to play a couple of games and in came an offer, so I though what the hell, he's leaving and 2million is more than enough to win this league win. So I sold him Now, I don't often regret selling a player on a game. I do, take it seriously, as I feel I am playing with my time - why shouldn't I? After all if I just played and it meant nothing, I would be wasting time! I played upto 9 games, I had won 6, drawn 2 and lost 1. Sitting on joint top of the league with 20 points, Preston being the side I shared this with but Coventry had a game in hand, who had 19 points. At this point I didn't feel like I had lost a goal scorer, or a player who would have changed games, so lucky me! I received Manager of the Month, so things were defiantly becoming addictive. At 17 games in, I sat top still and shared the position this time with Doncaster Rovers, however Notts had a game in hand. I also won yet again the Manager of the Month award. Things looking quite promising huh? Well with that said things started to unwind and I realized that my squad had an issue with midfielders and I needed a new striker (when doesn't Notts need a striker???). 26 games into the first season, Notts had won 15, drawn 7 and lost 4. Coventry City, whom were top had a 4 point advantage and we had hit a spell draws, with the odd loss. Fulham then strangely approached me, as if it's not enough the game refuses to allow Alan Judge to remain with us. It knew that Jeff Hughes also wanted to part, so I sold him for a nice figure 650k. By this point I had strengthened the squad, so it wasn't really all that much of a loss. I had signed Leon Clarke, Matt Thornhill and another two players which my memory fails to recall. Our league performances was still leaving questions, I can honestly say it's this point I felt in real life that some fans would have been calling for my head! with this in mind, I came up with a cunning plan and that was to do the unthinkable. Yes, I planned to attempt to win the F.A Cup or at least throw these discontent fans off my tracks for a little bit. In the dugout, against Wolves (which the game tells me is a big team). I sit and watch the Notts players have fun, we score and if it wasn't for Matt Thornhill, all the talk would have been for hat-trick hero Danny Webber. Bishop, Zoko, Showunmi and Clarke also got on the score sheet. Can you see what happened here? Yes, 6 of the 8 goals was scored by a striker! More importantly, we had won in the 4th round of the F.A Cup (I told you take these things seriously, didn't I?). The Quarter Final - Notts were drawn against no other than Manchester United. I had hoped for a less appealing fixture, as I could tell my plan was unraveling, which by half time United was 2-0 up. Yet, a lovely strike from Alan Sheehan meant we had every chance to get back into the game. We controlled spells of play, yet the better chances fell to United obviously and in the 80th minuted Shrek scored against us. Pleasingly, in the 90th minute a certain Neal Bishop decided to popup and give us hope. It finished 2-3. Not bad! By this point, I was making a tactical push to get back up and for a short period I actually felt I could pinch back the first position. We remained 2nd for a fair amount of time, which I would have been happy with but we went on a losing streak and ended up finishing inside the play-off spots. 4th isn't that bad really, when you consider how I tried to do a Keith Curle (obviously that was joke). We storm through the play offs, we drawn Yeovil and any one from Nottingham would probably say luck would be on their side. Yet it wasn't, we beat them easily by 2 goals and in the second leg. We beat them by 5 goals, a Webber and Clarke finale. This meant we had to face a side we beat both times in the season, you can already guess how this going to turn out. A early goal, seen Notts decide to park the bus (despite me shouting from the touchline and dipping my head). They snatched two goals fairly late on and that sealed their promotion to the Championship. With the season over, I decided to sort out the areas where I felt we was weak and could do with improving. I won't go into too much detail, I hope to install you all with another addition but let me tell you it was no easy task. Firstly no left sided midfielder wanted to talk contracts and I had the annoying issue of getting players to resign deals. Yet, I did manage to make myself happy and so... Thank you for reading my blog about a mobile game, which I am rather addicted too. I hope this is of some interest, you never know! I also hope it made you laugh at times. well okay, spoil sport. Over and out, Joe

Chris

Chris

 

The Story Of Bert Trautmann

The other day I posted this picture on this site and on Facebook: Although I found the image amusing as it's certainly true to a point, it got me thinking - how on earth could anybody play with a broken neck? Did he know how serious it was? What kind of a man was he to think "my neck's broken but I'm fine"? As a result I did some research on Bert Trautmann's career and life and wow! Bert Trautmann's is certainly a remarkable story. I have done my best to re-write his story here for PON, so I hope you enjoy Bernhard Carl Trautmann, or as he became more affectionatly known as - Bert Trautmann, was born in Bremen on 22nd October 1923. He lived with his Father who was a factory worker at the docks, and his Mother. The Treeaty of Versailles which was signed at the end of the First World War had left Germany in a pretty sorry state - they had been relying in loans from the USA to keep up with their war reperation payments, but the Wall Street Crash meant that they no longer got those loans. The bleak economic climate in the 1930s left the Trautmann family with no choice other than to sell their home and move into an apartment. The young Bert Trautmann had a keen interest in playing football and handball from an early age. He joined Football Club Blau Und Weiss, and took to playing with much enthusiasm. Bert joined a group called the Jungvolk which was a precurser to the Hitler Youth. The following year he won several Junior athletics events which led to him being awarded a certificate for athletic excellence signed by the German President Paul Von Hindenburg. When the Second World War began, Trautmann was working as a mechanic but he joined the Luftwaffe as a radio operator in 1941. However he didn't show much apitude for radio work during his training so he went off to become a Paratrooper instead. He served in Poland although his regiment were stationed far behind the front line, which resulted in boredom. Therefore they resorted to playing a lot of sports and practical jokes. One of those practical joked backfired on Bert as it resulted in a Staff Sergaent burning his arms. Trautmann was court-martialled and given a three month prison sentence. However he came down with Acute Appendicitis so spent most if his sentence in a military hospital. Following his release he joined up with German forces in Ukraine, where the German advance had been halted due to the adverse weather conditions. Hit and run attacks on the Soviet Forces became the focus for Trautmann's unit, and he was soon promoted to Corporal. In 1942 small advances were made but Trautmann's unit were hit hard by a Soviet counter-attack. By the time his unit were withdrawn from the Eastern Front, less than 300 of the original 1,000 men in the unit were still alive. Trautmann himself won five medals for his actions on the Eastern Front - including the Iron Cross. Following his withdrawel from the Eastern front, Trautmann was promoted to Sergaent, and he became part of a unit which was made up of the remnents of other units which had been almost completely destroyed on the Eastern front. His new unit were stationed in France in anticipation of an allied invasion. In 1944, he survived the bombing of Kleve, and he decided to head back to Breman as he had no unit left. By now, German soldiers caught attempting to flee were being excecuted as deserters, so Trautmann had to try and avoid soldiers from both sides. Unfortunatly, just a few days into his journey home he was captured by a couple of U.S soldiers in a barn. They soon came to the conclusion that Trautmann had no useful information to give them so they marched him out of the barn. Trautmann, thinking he was about to be excecuted, made a bid for freedom. He fled his captors and jumped over a fence. Unfortunatly he had the miss-fortune of landing right at the feet of a British soldier who is said to have greeted him with "hello fritz, fancy a cuppa tea?". That was Trautmann's third attempt at freedom during the war. Earlier in the war he had been caputured on the Eastern front by the Russians and he was captured again by members of the French Resistance, but he escaped both times. This time though he wasn't so lucky. At first he was held in Belguim before being transfered to Essex where he was interrogated. Trautmann was a volunteer soldier who had been essentially brainwashed by the Nazis from a young age. He was therefore classed as a catergory "C" prisoner, meaning he was regarded as a Nazi. He was then transferred to a Prisoner of war camp near Northwich in Cheshire. Soon he was downgraded to a catergory "B" prisoner, meaning he was no longer regarded as a Nazi. Follwing this he was transferred to another POW camp in Ashton-In-Markerfield, Lancashire. Football matches were regularly held in the camp as the prisoners tried to keep themselves entertained. In these matches, Trautmann usualy played outfield. However, in an organised match against a local amateur side, Trautmann picked up an injury while playing at centre half and he asked to swap positions with the goalkeeper. From that day forth, he played as a goalkeeper. It was also during his time at the POW camp that he started getting called "Bert" as the English guards had trouble pronouncing his name. The POW camp at which Trautmann was held closed in 1948 - three years after the formal surrender of German forces and the end of the War. Trautmann decided to stay in Britian - working on a farm, and on bomb disposal in th Merseyside town of Huyton. He also began playing football for amateur club St Helens Town in the Liverpool County Combination League. Over the course of the 1948-49 season, Trautmann's stock as a goalkeeper grew, and big crowds began turning up to see him play, including a record 9,000 in the final of the local Mahon Cup final. As the 1949-50 season progressed, league clubs began to take notice of Trautmann. First Division club Manchester City offered Bert a contract in October 1949, which he signed - joining the club initially as an amateur but soon turning professional. The signing of a former member of the Luftwaffe did not go down well among many Manchester City supporters. Many season ticket holders threatened a boycott, and the club was bombarded with protest letters not just from the people of Manchester, but from people all over the country. The antagonism of fans was not the only thing Trautmann was up against. He was signed as a replacement to Frank Swift, who was regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the club's history. City's captain Eric Westwood was a D-Day veteran, and although he privatly expressed many doubts about the signing of Trautmann, he publically welcomed Trautmann to the club saying "there's no war in this dressing room". Bert made his first team debut for Manchester City in 19th November in a game against Bolton Wanderers. He put in a competent display in his first game which silenced some of the doubters, and fans began to realise his talent. He did however recieve a lot of abuse from opposition fans at away matches which had an affect on his concentration in his first few games. In December of 1949 he shipped seven goals at Derby County. Manchester City travelled to Fulham in January 1950. This was to be Trautmann's first visit to London, and the game recieved a lot of coverage with most of the country's media at the time being based in London. Due to the heavy damage London suffered as a result of Lufwaffe bombing raids during the War, Trautmann was a target of deep hatred for the crowd who yelled "kraut" and "Nazi", among other things at him. City were not having a great season and they were expected to lose heavily, but a string of fine saves from Trautmann meant City only lost the match 1-0. At full time, Trautmann recieved a standing ovation from the crowd and he was applauded off the field by both teams. City continued to struggle in the league and suffered relegation from Division 1 - finishing second bottom on 29 points, 3 points from safety (2 points for a win back then). The following season, Man City were promoted back to Division 1 finishing second in the second division. Over the new few years, Trautmann really began to establish himself as a top goalkeeper, and he played in all-but 5 of City's next 250 league games. Come 1952, his reputation had spread back to Germany, and Schalke made a £1,000 offer for his services. City refused the offer, and were quoted in the press as saying they believed Trautmann to be worth twenty times what Schalke had offered. In 1955, Manchester City reached the FA Cup final where they would face Newcastle United. Trautmann became the first ever German to play in an FA Cup final. It's said that the City team were gripped by nerves before the game, and they fell behind after less than a minute. Things got worse on 18 minutes when Jimmy Meadows was injured, leaving City with only 10 men (no subs back then). Now City had made the final largly thanks to Trautmann's ability start attacks by throwing the ball out to the wingers as oppose to simply kicking the ball as far down the field as possible. But the loss of a player limited this ability. Although City did equalise during the first half, they struggled during the second half and were eventually beaten 3-1. They reached the final again though the following year, this time to face Birmingham City. Shortly before the final, Trautmann hadd become the first goalkeeper ever to win the Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year award, and two days later he stepped out onto the hallowed turf at Wembley for the Cup final, and a match that would cemment his legacy as one of football's greats. This time, Manchester City were more settled and they took the lead after just three minutes. Birmingham soon equalised after a quarter of an hour. It stayed 1-1 but then midway through the second half, Manchester City bagged two goals in two minutes to take control of the game. From then on Birmingham threw everything forwards. With 15 minutes remaining, Trautmann dived at the ball but collided heavily with Birmingham's Peter Murphy. Trautmann's neck smashed against Murphy's knee knocking him briefly unconcious. Remember, no subs were permitted in those days so although dazed and unsteady on his feet - Trautmann played on. For 15 more minutes he defended his goal, bravely denying Murphy once more to help Manchester City hold on for a 3-1 victory. Trautmann was the hero for his spectacular saves towards the end of the game. These are the television highlights of that final: Trautmann's neck was still causing him pain as he went up to collect his winners medal, Prince Phillip commented on his crooked neck. Nevertheless, Trautmann attended the post-match banquet that evening despite not being able to move his head. He went to bed that night expecting the pain to go away after some rest. It didn't, so he went to St George's Hospital the following day where he was told he simply had a crick in his neck which would soon go away. Three days later, he got an opinion from a second doctor back in Manchester, and X-Rays showed that Trautmann had dislocated five Vertebrae in his neck, one of which was cracked in half. The third Vertebrae had wedged against the second, which had prevented further, pottentially fatal damage. Trautmann took several months to recover, which resulted in him missing the first part of the 1956-57 season. In early December, he played in a couple of reserve team games but he clearly lacked confidence. Nevertheless, he was restored to the first team on December 15th, but he conceeded three goals against Wolves. He continued to struggle, and some began to call for him to retire. Some even criticised Manchester City for forcing Trautmann to play when he had not fully recovered. The following season, City became the first, and thus far only English league club to score 100 goals, and concede 100 goals in the same season. They finished 5th in the First Division, and Trautmann played on 34 of City's 42 league games that season. He only kept two clean sheets that season, and he shipped 8 at Leicester in an 8-4 defeat. City fans certainly got their moneys worth as far as the entertainment on offer was concerned that season! Overall, between 1949 and 1964, Bert Trautmann played in 545 matches for Manchester City. His City career finished with a testimonial game between a joint Manchester City & Manchester United XI which included the likes of Bobby Charlton and Dennis Law, against an England team that included Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield. The official crowd for his testimonial was 47,000 although it was thought to be more along the lines of 60,000. Although he had planned to retire after his testimonial, Trautmann briefly joined Wellington Town. He had lost some of his agility but he proved he could still pull in the punters on his debut for the club at Hereford. However in just his second game for the club, Trautmann was sent off for violant conduct, and he never played again. After a few months pondering his options, Bert recieved a telephone call from the Stockport County chairman Victor Bernard, who offered him the chance to become the club's general manager. Stockport were struggling both financially and in terms of league position, and the appointment of Trautmann was an attempt to improve the club's image. Many of the club's fans, and indeed many local people also supported one of the two Manchester clubs, so between them - Trautmann and Bernard decided to move all of Stockport's home games to Friday night's in an attempt to boost revenue from extra support. Whilst that worked, the performances of the team didnt improve much, and in 1966 Trautmann resigned after a falling out with Bernard. In 1967 and 1968 Trautmann managed German club Prussia Munster, and he guided them to a 13th place finish in the German second tier. He also had a short spell at Opel Russelsheim. Following that, the German FA employed Trautmann as a development worker and sent him to countries without a football structure. At first he worked in Burma where he enjoyed two years as national team coach in which they qualified for the 1972 Munich Olympics, and they won the President's Cup - which was a competition contested between South-East Asian countries. He also worked in Tanzania, Pakistan, Liberia and Yemen until 1988 when he retired and settled in Spain. Now you might have thought that Trautmann would have enjoyed a succesfull International career too given his sucess at Manchester City. He was a renowned shot stopper who saved 60% of the penalties he faced. But actually, despite being recognised as one of the world's top goalkeepers at the time, Trautmann never played for his country. He had met with the German national coach Sepp Herberger in 1953 and was told that the travel expenses, coupled with the pottential political implications of selecting a player who did not play in Germany were the reasons why he could not be selected. Trautmann's only international experience came when the Football League decided to include foreign players in Football League representative matches. Trautmann captained the Football League against the Irish League and he also played against the Italian League. As a result of this Trautmann missed out on the 1954 World Cup which West Germany won, and thats a real shame. Many people these days claim that a player cannot really be classed as a true great unless they have achieved success at International level as well as club level. You can see their point, but to discount Trautmann as a legend I think is wrong. Not only was he a fantastic shot stopper, but he also changed the goalkeepers role to an extent with his ability to start attacks from throwing the ball out wide, at a time when it was perfectly acceptable for keepers to simply kick the ball as far down the pitch as they could. And he won the public over too, which must have taken some doing. Gordon Banks cited Trautmann as a big influence on his playing style. The media have recognised Trautmann's reputation numerous times. The Daily Mail ranked Trautmann as the unofficial 19th best goalkeeper of all time, while the TV channel ESPN ranked his diving save at Peter Murphy's knee which resulted in him breaking his neck as the best ever FA Cup save. There is also a statue of Trautmann inside the main reception at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium: His reputation was again recognised in 2004 when he was awarded an OBE for his work in Anglo-German relations, and the following year he was inducted into the National Football Museum's Hall of Fame. I don't think anybody could possibly deny Trautmann his place in history. Yes, his only honour as a player on the pitch was that 1956 FA Cup success and no he never played for his country. But you have to look at the bigger picture. Look at where he came from, what he went through, his road to success. The obstacles he had to overcome to reach the heights he reached. His immense bravery in that Cup final should, and probably will be remembered forever. I've spent quite a few hours reading all sorts of stories and researching Trautmann's career in order to put this blog together, and it's taken me two days to put the whole thing together. I really wanted to write something that would do the great man justice and I hope I've done that, because Bert Trautmann is an inspiration, a legend, and a true great. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and hopefully found it interesting

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

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