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Weymouth Fc's Recent Highs & Lows

I remember saying a while back that I might tell the story of Weymouth's recent turbulant history on here one day and a few people seemed interested. So finally, here it is! I'll forewarn you that this does go on quite a bit but I have done my best to whittle it down For those of you who don't know me so well, I was born in Nottingham and became a Notts County fan when we got given free tickets at school and my Dad took me down, even though he was a Forest fan. My Dad sadly passed away in 2005 and with most of my family having moved down to Weymouth, me and my Mum followed in 2007. I didnt last long with no football though, and me and my Granddad first went to watch Weymouth in March of that year. I was instantly hooked. My Granddad can't come anymore but I've made a lot of good friends at Weymouth FC and now, unless I can get to a Notts match, I follow Weymouth home and away. If I don't go away I'll go watch the Reserves! One way of describing Weymouth FC's recent history would be to say it's never dull! The club went from the Southern League to the brink of the Football League under the ownership of first Ian Ridley, then Martin Harrison. They enjoyed success in both the league and FA Cup - winning the Conference South title in 2005-06 and earning an FA Cup first round replay with Nottingham Forest that same season after a 1-1 draw at the City Ground. Weymouth also took Bury to a replay the following season with a 2-2 draw down here on the BBC. But of course, the dream didn't last and midway through our first season back in the Conference, the enitre squad was placed up for sale after Martin Harrison ran out of money. Still, we managed to finish 11th in the 2006-07 Conference. The following season was more of a struggle with the Terras not securing their Blue Square Premier status until the penultimate game of the season in a hard faught 0-0 draw at Champions Aldershot Town. The 2008-09 season started well enough. In fact after a 2-0 win at Torquay United on 10th February we were 10th in the table, but then everything really began to unravel. The then chairman Malcolm Curtis had and still does want the land that our ground sits on. He walked out on the club that season, many would say in the hope that the club would die and he could then get hold of the land. His departure left the club in a bit of a mess. Players had not been paid since before Christmas and were not even covered if they got injured. As a result of this, the entire first team walked out ahead of our now infamous home game with Rushden & Diamonds. That day, we were forced to field the under 18s side and we were beaten 9-0. Nobody boo'd. Nodody left early. Everyone stayed till the bitter end supporting the lads, and those heroic boys got a standing ovation at the end of the game. This video from YouTube shows some of the Weymouth highlights from that game, and the scenes at full time: We had no choice but to continue to field the youngsters for the rest of the season. In our final 16 games after that win at Torquay we gained just 1 more point, scoring 4 goals and conceeding 48. We dropped from 10th place to 23rd - second bottom, with relegation being confirmed in the final home game of the season with a fighting 2-1 defeat to York City. The club's future was still in dubt going into the 2009-10 season but somehow former player Matty Hale managed to assemble a squad made up mostly of local lads and Bath University students. We began the season with an encouraging 1-1 draw at Lewes but then came two heavy home defeats; 5-0 to Eastleigh and 6-2 to Bishops Stortford. The season was a bit of a shambles really. Matty Hale resigned in October following a 5-0 drubbing at home to Maidenhead United and he was replaced by another former player in Ian Hutchinson. In November 2009 Weymouth were drawn at home to local rivals Dorchester Town in the FA Trophy. There was a genuine possibility that this could be Weymouth's last ever game. The atmosphere was cranked up just before kick-off when the Dorchester fans unveiled a banner which read "Weymouth - a town with no history, a club with no future." This seemed to inspire the Terras as they ran out 3-0 winners leaving their bitter rivals from 'over the hill' shellshocked. The club did manage to soldier on to the end of the season but the league form never really improved despite a second win over Dorchester on New Year's Day, this time in the league. We finished bottom of the Conference South, although at the end of the season our short-term future was at least secured thanks to controversial character George Rolls buying the club. He placed the club into a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) which meant that for every pound owed to creditors, they would get 10%. It would however mean we would begin the 2010-11 season in the Southern League on -10 poins. We began that season with 3 draws before defeat at Salisbury City. A 3-1 win at Evesham United followed but our early season form was quite poor, and included a 9-0 defeat at Hednesford and a 7-2 loss at Stourbridge in the same week. We moved off the bottom of the table for the first time in January but at the time we were still 6 points adrift of safety and had played more games than anyone else. Things looked bleak but in early February we had a stroke of luck. Windsor & Eton were wound up and therefore all the teams in the league lost whatever points they had gained against them. Plus instead of 4, only 3 teams would now go down. Sure, staying up due to another club's demise isn't ideal but we took whatever came our way at that time. On a Wednesday evening in March, an injury time goal from ace marksman Warren Byerly gave us a 1-0 win at Swindon Supermarine and lifted us out of the drop zone for the first time in the season. But that didn't last long, we were back in that bottom 3 followng a 4-1 loss at Bedford in what was out 5th of 6 straight away games. Here's how the bottom of the table looked after the Bedford game (bottom 3 go down): In our next game an emphatic 4-0 win at Tiverton moved us back up to 18th and all-but condemned Tiverton to the drop, leaving the final relegation spot to be decided between ourselves and Didcot Town who, crucially, still had a game in hand. That game in hand ended in a draw, so with 2 games to go we were both on 31 points but they had a marginally superior goal difference. In our final home game of the season we beat play-off chasing Chesham United 3-0 while Didcot only drew. This meant that going into the final day we had a 2 point cushion on Didcot. We were beaten 3-2 at champions Truro City on the final day but Didcot's 3-0 defeat to Oxford City meant we were safe. We had completed the great escape! The 2011-12 season looked like being another season of struggle. Local man Brendon King became the new manager. We had a very young, relatively inexperienced squad with a rookie manager and were tipped by most for the drop. However for the majority of the season we were OK in mid table. We even made it to the second round proper of the FA Trophy although we got hammered 6-0 at home by Alfreton Town. The biggest event of the season took place in February. Director and life-long fan Nigel Biddlecome, along with a group of local businessman brought the club from George Rolls and by setting up a community trust, finally safeguarded the future for Weymouth FC, as no one person would ever be able to own the club again. Celebrations however were a bit mild as the team were going through an alarming dip in form which now saw us looking over our shoulders yet again. Our third last game ended in a 3-0 defeat at Cambridge City, and left us 2 points above the drop zone with two games to go. The final home game of the season against Hitchin Town would be a nervy affair. The first half was relatively quiet but just 3 minutes into the second half disaster struck as the Canneries took a 1-0 lead from a corner. The next 20 minutes were very scrappy with Weymouth struggling to really create anything but then on 69 minutes, a massive slice of luck came our way. Mark Ford raced through and was brought down in the area. The defender actually got the ball but we didnt complain. That penalty was so hard to watch, some turned away. Craig Duff stepped up, not our usual penalty taker; but he rolled the ball home to make it 1-1. Then 3 minutes later, that man Mark Ford again managed to beat the offside trap, and in what seemed like slow motion - he rounded the keeper before calmly slotting home to send the home fans wild. The terras held out through a nervy final quarter of an hour to seal 3 points and our win, coupled with Swindon Supermarine losing at home to Barwell meant we were safe for another year. Under new owners and a new board expectations rose slightly for the 2012-2013 season. Over the summer, Brendon King set about adding some much needed experience to the squad and brought in the likes of Ben Joyce, Kyle Critchell, Scott Walker and Barry McConnell. Unfortunaly over the summer we lost our star striker Warren Byerley to Kettering Town, which was pretty controversial. Weymouth had paid for Warren to undergo private surgery on a knee injury which would have saw him miss the beggining of the season had he gone down the NHS route. Kettering had been demoted from the Conference to the Southern League and were skint. George Rolls had got involved up there and was offering players ridicuous sums of money to join the club. Sums of money which anyone with any sense knew would not be paid. Still, Byerley moved north along with young defender Ben Gerring. I suppose it was inevitable really that the fixture computer would chuck out Weymouth v Kettering Town on the opening day! That certainly gave me personally a dilemna as I had to decide whether to travel up to crewe for Notts' opening game, or stay home and watch Weymouth v Kettering. In the end I chose Crewe, and that proved the right decision with the much built up Weymouth v Kettering game ending in a boring 0-0 draw. Still, we were not done with Kettering this season yet. The second game of Weymouth's season saw another draw as we fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Chippenham Town. A 4-2 loss at newly promoted and big spending St Neots Town followed before we got our first win of the season against another newly promoted side in Bideford. As I said, expectations had risen for this season, so when we found ourselves 18th in October, some fans - myself included, began to question the manager Brendon King. The hunger and desire of the team came under severe scrutiny when we crashed out of the FA Trophy in just the second qualifying round after a humiliating 2-1 loss at home to lower league club Shortwood United. This was followed by a 5-1 defeat at home to Stourbridge in the league in a match we ended with 9 men. This though would prove to be a bit of a turning point. We won 3-2 at St Albans City next time out and despite a 1-0 defeat at home to Cambridge in a match we dominated, the signs were there that we could start to improve. After the Cambridge match on 17th November we won every game between then and New Year. Six straight wins which saw us climb from 15th to 5th. The run came to an end on New Year's Day when a goalkeeping error gave Bideford a 2-1 victory. A frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Chippenham followed before eventual champions Leamington came to the Bob Lucas Stadium on an icy Tuesday evening. In the first half we managed to hold our own but in the second half, Leamington showed their class - blowing us away with 4 goals in the final half hour. One of those nights where we just had to admit we were beaten by a better side. Another 0-0 draw at Gosport Borough followed before another heavy defeat, this time 5-2 at AFC Totton. We had lead 2-1 at half time and were playing very well, but somehow we just collapsed in the final half hour again. Their first goal was offside; the second was a free-kick that somehow just rolled along the floor into the bottom corner; and the third was a cross that sailed over the keeper's head into the net! We recovered with back-to-back 2-1 wins on home soil before our annual defeat at Cambridge City. Then it was the re-match with Kettering. Now Kettering's season had turned into a nightmare. All of the players that had lined up against us on the opening day, including Warren Byerley had left the club by now having not been paid, as had George Rolls following a betting scandel. Kettering had been locked out of their Nene Park ground and at one point had to start a game with just 10 men, including the substitute goalkeeper in midfield against Bashley! They were now groundsharing with Corby Town. On a bitterly cold Wednesday evening Kettering took an early lead but Weymouth eventually ran out 6-1 winners. Our next game saw us beat St Albans City 2-0 at home. Kyle Critchell scored and it would turn out to be his last act of the season for us as he suffered a very nasty leg fracture the following Wednesday night in a Dorset Senior Cup semi-final. Three more wins on the trot saw us move up to 4th, and by now a lot of fans really were beggining to dream. That didn't last too long though. We were brought crashing back down to earth with a 5-0 defeat at Stourbridge and a 3-0 defeat at home to Chesham. Another home defeat to struggling Redditch saw us drop out of the play-offs. On Easter Monday we made the short hop over to the New Forest village of Bashley, who themselves were chasing points to confirm their safety. Chance after chance after chance was spurned by Weymouth in an unbeleavably frustrating afternoon before inevitably, Bashley scored the decisive goal ten minutes from time. That game gave me the impression it just wasn't meant to be for us. I gave up on our play-off hopes that day. The next game brought another heavy home defeat, this time 4-0 to Bedford Town. But the result was overshadowed by a horrific injury to midfielder Jamie Skinner, barely a minute after he came on as a sub. The challenge left him with several ruptured ligaments and muscles in his knee and leg, as well as damage to nerves, vasculature and joint structure. His career is very much in doubt at the munute. After 5 straight defeats without scoring Leamington were heardly the ideal opponents for our third-last game of the season. But the Terras battled hard and earned a creditable 1-1 draw, delaying Leamington's title party in the process. The final home game of the season saw a 2-1 win over Barwell, which did leave many of us wondering what might have been, with Barwell at the time occupying the final play-off spot. We lost 3-0 at Arlesey Town on the final day. We finished the 2012-13 season in 9th place, our first top half finish since 2007. Magnifficent progess has been made on and off the field this season. Some great football has been played - fair play to Brendon King, he's won me and a lot of fans over. Also attendances are slowly creeping up again. Here's the final table: The hope is that we can make a more sustained play-off challenge next season and work to achieve this has already begun with numerous players signing contract extensions and three new faces already joining the club. But we know we must do this in a sustainable way. We know from the past that having a rich benefactor dosn't always have a happy ending. The importat thing is the club is moving in the right direction. There's a fantastic group of volunteers who help out with all sorts like cleaning the kit, cleaning the stadium, working the bar, selling programmes, raffle tickets, working the turnstiles etc. I'm proud to say I am one of them. That's a brief summary of the past few seasons at Weymouth Football Club. I don't know a great deal about the politics or the finances which is why I didn't go into that too much. You could probably write a fairly long book on all of that. In fact former chairman Ian Ridley did just that. His book Floodlit Dreams tells the story of his takeover back in 2003, how he went about rebuilding his hometown club and the events that lead to his resignation. It's a fascinating story and if you like a good book I cannot reccommend it enough. I think there are plenty of copies for sale on EBay and on Amazon. If you have read this blog I thank you very much. I know this has been incredibly long but I hope I've managed to keep your interest till the end lol. If you are interested you can see highlights of all Weymouth's home games on our YouTube channel here - http://www.youtube.com/user/terrascouk Think I appear celebrating behind the goal in a few of these Once again, thanks for reading

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The Future Of The Game At Low League Level

The football world is often refered to as 'the football family' but what does that mean? Ofcourse, there are signs of togetherness from all football fans all the time - the way fans of different clubs all get on under one roof like on this website, the support Stylian Petrov has recieved from supporters of all clubs in his fight against Leukemia, and the way we can all come together in respect (well, most of us) when disasters such as Hillsboroough, Bradford and Ibrox occured. I could go on. But there are reasons to suggest that this 'football family' isn't much of a 'family'. To me, the term 'football family' would suggest that we at Notts County, and down here at Weymouth share the same values and dreams as clubs in the premier league and there is equality, with those at the top of the financial tree helping those at the bottom in their hour of need. But is this really the case? When Weymouth fell on hard times where was the 'football family'? It certainly was not there offering to help us! Are we not as important as Southampton, Liverpool or Chelsea? Ofcourse we are, but where was the equality? Surely the strengh of the English game is based largely on its structure from the Premiership down to Sunday league level? Most people at the top of the game, especially football pundits (or as I like to call them - self appointed experts) and the TV companies never mention our leagues. If they do, it's because a club at that level has had a big FA Cup draw, but even then they seem to do it with a smile and a joke about them. I find it a very dismissive attitude of that level of the game. I would happily bet that the vast majority of Premier league players have little to no knowledge of football below League 2, let alone below the Conference National. But to be fair the clubs dont help. How many of the big clubs offer to play smaller clubs in friendlies to help bring them in some cash? Most of them would rather jet off for a pre-season trip to America, Asia or somewhere hot. Hampshire based club AFC Totton have fallen on hard time lately, but what are the chances of Southampton (not half an hour up the road) offering to play them in a pre-season friendly to try and help them out a bit? Pretty much nil. It's not only AFC Totton in financial difficulties. Aldershot Town & Dunfermiline Athletic recently entered administration, and hundreds of football clubs up and down the UK are in trouble but does this so called 'football family' help? No. I know it's a bit of a cliche but ONE WEEK'S wages from any of Manchester City's stars would be more than enough to sort out most clubs, especially at non-league level's problems and give a fanbase a club to support for another season. But ofcourse that will never happen because any such payment would be deemed inappropriate. It's a bit of a euphemism for greed I think and until reality strikes, the future of the game below the elite level will remain in serious danger. But what can be done? The obvious answer would appear to be a wage cap at all levels but personally I can't see that ever being implemented simply because clubs will never agree to one voluntarily. And trying to impose a wage cap could invite legal action from football clubs, and in the end lawyers would be the only winners. And another problem is that all too often these days, small clubs come across a wealthy benefactor who then bankrolls them on a rapid rise through several divisions to a league they never previously dreamed of, or ever came close to. But crucially, they wont have the support needed to sustain that level once the promotions inevitably stop coming. When that happens, clubs have to hope that the benefactor continues to pump in his money but only to stand still. In these difficult times, it simply does not happen. I go back to AFC Totton. They were in the Wessex League (step 10 of the English football pyramid) or lower for donkeys years, but suddenly they shot up and found themselves in the Southern Premier League (step 7). However they were ill equipped in terms of support and as a result of that, when the promotions stopped coming, the benefactor upped sticks. The support was not anywhere near good enough to sustain the level they've found themselves at and as a result, they face the possibility of being kicked out of the league at next months league AGM with players having not been paid since February. Another recent example is Cornwall based club Truro City. They came further than AFC Totton - rising from the South Western League (step 11) all the way up to the Conference South (step 6) within five seasons. But inevitably, the promotions stopped coming, and with the lowest gates in the league, and with people on mad wages it was destined to end in tears. Now they're in administration, have been relegated from the Conference South and still have no idea what league they'll ply their trade in next season. They don't even have a ground to play at currently. And it's the true fans of clubs like Truro and Totton who suffer. Fans who were quite happy when their clubs were stable in the Wessex League/South Western League. It's easy to say these clubs got themelves into their own mess but the problem is it's being allowed to happen far too often and far too easily. Something has to be done but until the powers that be wake up, and realise that football does exist below the glamour of the Premiership, more and more clubs will die or fall into trouble, and the future of the game at grassroots level will look very bleak indeed. If you have managed to read all the way through this I hope you have found it interesting at least. It might come across as a bit of a rant, but I wanted to get this off my chest because as someone who has been bitten by the non-league bug, I really do fear for the future of the game. The story in the Football League isn't much happier. I've almost see Notts County die twice, and I've seen Weymouth stare death in the face in the past few years. Both my clubs were lucky in that they were saved but many other clubs won't be so lucky. No fan should see their club die. Something MUST be done, but will anything be done, or will the powers that be and the media continue to ignore the existance of football below the promised land and let the game fall into more turmoil?

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David Moyes Then...

Well it's been an interesting couple of days at Manchester United to say the least. Sir Alex Fergusson's retirement has been cropping up for the past few years now. He always said he would only retire on health grounds and with with a hip operation coming up, his retirement should not really come as a great surprise, but it did. Let's be clear, I dislike Manchester United. Nothing to do with being jelous of their history as their fans seem to think it is, if anything you can't help but respect that clubs history; it is those fans themselves that irritate me. Every club has it's glory hunters but United fans are the worst. Over the years I've been far from Alex Fergusson's biggest fan. I don't like the way he blames a refereeing decision almost every time they lose, and I think he can be a bit of a bully sometimes. He is quite intimidating, and he makes sure commentators, the press and the games governing bodies are scared of doing or saying anything that might upset him. But despite this, no sane person can deny the man's achievements in the game. I very much doubt we will ever see another manager hang around at one club for as long as he has and achieve as much as he has ever again. He's transformed Manchester United into the most marketable football club in the world. Time and time again people have doubted him and his teams but time and again he's proved everyone wrong. He challenged Liverpool and won; he saw off Newcastle United, Arsenal, Chelsea and now Manchester City on the way to what seems like league title after league title. He raised the bar in the English game - bringing some of the world's top players to our shores and making some of the world's top players himself. Love him or hate him, you cannot help but admire him and what he has achieved both domestically and on the European stage.You can't really praise him enough. Sir Alex has certainly earned his retirement! Is he the greatest manager of all time? Well its up for debate and everyone has their opinions. He's certainly the best manager theres been in my lifetime. And what of his successor David Moyes? I have to say I'm not too convinced by this appointment. Here is a man who has spent the last 11 years at Everton and some (including a few Everton fans I know) would say that he has got too comfortable with simply finishing in the top half, and he is unable to step up to the next level. In those 11 years he has failed to win a single trophy; in fact his only managerial honour is the second division title with Preston North End back at the end of the 90s. He's never managed a team to victory at Old Trafford, Arsenal or Anfield and furthermore, he's never had to manage some of the world's top players. Alright, he worked with Wayne Rooney for a few months until he was sold but thats hardly preperation for the job he is about to undertake. I question the motives behind his appointment. I think a large part of the reasoning behind his appointment is stability. Alex Fergusson has been manager of United for 26 years, while David Moyes has been at Everton for 11 years. However the game has changed since Fergie first pulled up in the Old Trafford car park, even since David Moyes first arrived at Goodison Park. As us Notts County fans well know, we live in an "I want success now and I can't wait" sociaty. The bulk of Man United 'fans' wont care in the slightest about having a manager in place for the next decade. All they will be interested in is winning a couple of trophies every season. Will Moyes be able to cope with the level of expectation? Will he be able to handle the pressure and increased media attention? Will he be able to spend more money than he's ever had available to him wisely? Will he be able to do all of this under the watchfull gaze of Sir Alex? With Sir Alex taking up roles as a director and club ambassador I fear there could be a fair bit of interference from him, and I doubt any manager likes that. As a neutral I have my doubts but don't get me wrong I don't have anything against David Moyes and to some extent I hope he does well. But the thing is David Moyes, and indeed anybody who manages Manchester United in the future will always be compared to Fergie on everything and that's unfair. Moyes is his own man. And you just know that the moment Moyes' side hits a bad patch of form in his first season, the media will be straight on his back claiming he can't handle the pressure etc. Still this is all just food for thought really. As a neutral I think its going to be interesting to see how United do next season. Will this weeks events be a bit of a shockwave that takes a while for the players there to come to terms with? Ofcourse they're professionals but when you think there are players and people at that football club who have only ever worked under Sir Alex, you do wonder. It's also going to be interesting to see how the Everton side respond to everything thats gone on this week, and who will they get to replace Moyes? I can't see it being a particularly big name. One last thing though, I wish the media would stop talking like Sir Alex has died. I know he's a legend but come on, he's just retiring. There's no need for black and white montages with depressing music in the background!

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Crawley Town V Notts County (And A Little Weymouth Update)

Well yesterday was fun! We were meant to get to Crawley for 12:58, but the train we were meant to get from Southampton to Crawley was initially delayed by over half an hour, before being cancelled completely due to a broken down freight train further down the line. We therefore had to get a train to Clapham Junction to get a train to Crawley. Got to Crawley at about quarter past two, asked a police officer outside the station for directions to the ground, he gave us the directions and told us it was about a ten minute walk. Ten minutes my arse! We got to the ground about ten minutes before kick off! Was an adventure, and I have to say I didn't think we were going to make it at one point but we got there in the end and thankfully we can laugh at it now. It's trips like that you end up remembering more. The things we do for our football clubs eh! I was somewhat surprised by the starting xi - having Blyth up top by himself with 4 strikers on the bench after Kiwomya had emphasised how important it was to win games if we want to stay in the play-off picture. We knew Dean Leacock was suspended after picking up a tenth caution on Wednesday night so Manny Smith's recall wasen't a surprise; and I wasen't all that surprised by Judgey's absence given his rough treatment by Orient on Wednesday Night. Was pleased for Bencherif to be given a start, I really don't think some of the abuse he gets from a section of our supporters is fair. He may not be the best player in the squad but one thing he will always do is give 100% to the cause, something which certain players fail to convince me they do. I can forgive a lack of talant if they give their all. Hayden Hollis and Manny Smith put in a really good shift at the heart of defence, so Leacock may have to go some to win his place back, which can only be a good thing. Deespite the strange team selection, we didn't play badly. Blyth certainly put himself about, and played some good passes at times, but I did think he lacked the instinct of a top striker. The midfield did present him with a couple of chances but the finishing touch wasen't there. He is however, still young and will surely improve over time. Bencherif I felt looked unfit. He gave his all but he was always a couple of yards off the pace. As much as I want him to do well, I'm not sure he has what it takes to hold down a place in the first team at this level. It'd be interesting to see what he could do if his fitness improved, he does show glimpses of promise from time to time. I don't know whats happened to Jamal Campbell-Ryce in recent games. He was excellent when I watched us on Sky against Bury the other week, but since the Tranmere match he seems to have hit a bad patch of form. Jeff Hughes on the other hand seems to be finding some form now and was possibly our best player yesterday, so unless Campbell-Ryce finds his form again, he could lose his place in the side. John Cofie came off the bench and brought some much needed flare to our side. On numerous occasions he took on and beat a number of Crawley players on his own but as has been the case so often, we lost out in the final third. Enoch Showumni also came off the bench and was superb. Within seconds of entering the field of play, he'd won the ball from a Crawley throw in - beaten two Crawley players and had two shots saved by their keeper. Fair play to the lad, he played well, and caused their defence a few problems. The match was probably destined to end in a draw given both sides recent form and positions in the table, we both had our chances to win the game but a draw was the right result. Bart, as usual made a couple of good stops and Gary Liddle made yet another goal line clearence. Also, Hayden Hollis managed to slice a clearance onto his own crossbar, which wasen't the calmest of moments for me! Crawley seem to lack in the final third just as badly as we do. I wonder where we would both be if we had a prolific scorer each. Can we make a late push for the play-offs? Well with two home games to come this week against Preston North End and Scunthorpe United, there is a brilliant chance for us to get those crucial back to back victories. If we can do that then who knows, but we can't really afford to drop many more points particularly on home soil, if indeed any at all. One team really flying at the minute is my local lot Weymouth. Seven wins in our last eight league games including a 3-1 victory at second placed Hemel Hemostead Town on Tuesday night, and a hard faught 1-0 win over Banbury United yesterday thanks to a 92nd minute goal has lifted us up to 4th in the Southern Premier League on 58 points. We have played one game more than sides around us, so we need to keep winning, but after years of turmoil and 5 consecutive relegation scraps, just to be in a position to challenge is fantastic. We travel to second placed Stourbridge next weekend, so it should be a very interesting game. Next Notts game for me will be in a fortnight at Swindon Town. Hopefully it'll be a more straightforward journey this time! Thanks for reading, COYP

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Another One Bites The Dust

Ian 'Charlie' McParland retains the honour of being the last Notts County manager to complete a full season in the hotseat after Keith Curle was sacked following Saturday's 2-1 defeat at bottom club Hartlepool united. It proved the final straw for the Notts top brass, after The Magpies had won just two of their last eleven games, and they were against two teams badly out of sorts in Portsmouth and Oldham Athletic. To say Keith Curle wasen't wanted by the fans when he was first appointed would be a massive understatment. He was replacing Martin Allen - a man who had galvinised the club at the end of the 2010-11 season and had forged a strong relationship with the fans. Yet Curle's track record was hardly anything to get the blood pumping - sacked by Torquay United, Chester City and Mansfield Town with allegations of bullying. He was going to have to go some to win the fans over but he quickly set about doing just that. On just his second day at the club Notts welcomed play-off chasing Stevenage to Meadow Lane, and Jeff Hughes' last minute winner gave Notts 3 points and left us 5 points off the top six, but having played at least 1 game more than most sides up there. But 4 wins and a draw in our next 5 games, culminating in an unbeleavable 4-2 victory away to runaway league leaders Charlton Athletic put Notts right into the mix. But we soon came back down to earth with back to back home defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, and a goalless draw at Scunthorpe in a game we dominated. Still, by the time we hosted Bury in the penoltimate home game, we'd overhauled Brentford, Carlisle United and Stevenage to take 6th place. But we crashed 4-2 at home to Bury in an early kick-off, and Stevenage's win over Brentford meant we dropped out of the play-offs. The final away game of the season at Adams Park proved arguably the most memorable game of Curle's reign. Trailing 3-2 going into injury time, goals from Dela Adebola and a rocket from Alan Judge gave Notts the most dramatic 4-3 victory to lift us briefly back up to sixth. However Stevenage drew 2-2 at Brammal Lane in the evening game which meant we needed them to slip up on the final day to get into the top 6. And despite a 4-1 win over Colchester on the final day, Notts missed the play-offs on goal difference after Stevenage beat Bury. Now weather you supported Keith Curle or not, it's hard to argue with what a great job he did in those final few months of last season. He made us the divisions form side and turned what looked like a lost season into a dramatic play-off push that nearly ended happily. But then you could look at it and say it was our own fault we missed out, with the defeat to Bury and the failiure to convert just one of those chances at Scunthorpe. Because of the end to last season, expectation was high coming into this season and Curle himself wanted promotion. New players were signed and we started the season in fine form, and at one point we topped the table in September. But since then we've had some rather stuttering form, and just five home wins all season has left many supporters calling for the managers head despite a record breaking unbeaten away run of 22 games which was only ended last weekend at Leyton Orient. But attendences have fallen drastically, which has meant the club has less money to spend on players. And that was made even worse by an early FA Cup exit in a second round replay at home to league 2 Rotherham. I suppose you could say that was the beggining of the end. But then, you could look back to the decision to strip Lee Hughes of the number 9 shirt in the summer as the beggining of the end. I must admit, I thought absolutely nothing of it at first, but rumours soon began circulating of Hughsey speaking to fans at pre-season games about Keith trying to force him out, and when a last minute loan move to Port Vale fell through it was clear that Lee wanted out. He eventually got his move last month, and the failiure to bring in a replacement striker only increased the amount of people wanting Curle out. That's not to say we didnt try and bring players in, but we were simply unable to compete with the wages offered to players by other clubs. To be fair to Curle, he did try to sort out our striker problem but this leads to what I think has been the main problem. Curle has been very badly let down by players. On paper, I think we have one of the best squads in the divison but for one reason or another certain players have simply not been doing the business. Francois Zoko was signed in the summer but he's gone missing in too many games, and Yoann Arquin rarely looks interested. They're certainly not the only two players, and Keith also brought in some players that have been outstanding. Bartoz Bialkowski was dismissed as "****" on one youtube clip by most fans when he signed, but he's proved a revelation and his consistant performances have earned him the title "Polands number 1" from the Notts fans at least. Also Gary Liddle has been played out of position for most of the season but has been absolutely outstanding, and Dean Leacock has also been superb. Furthermore, Curle has managed to get the best out of Alan Judge by giving him the chance to pretty much do as he pleases on the pitch, and Andre Boucaud - signed on loan from Luton Town, proved his doubters wrong with some very consistant performances in the middle of the park which lead to him signing on a permanent basis in January. Sadly the number of players underperforming has outnumbered the players playing well. It does seem strange considering that they were always so quick to jump to Curle and the two coaches defence in the media and on Twitter. Black 'N White fanzine editor Stuart Brothers said in his blog that the players owe it to Keith to play to their pottential for the rest of the season, and I have to agree. I really wish we as a club could be more patient with managers. We are now looking for our seventh full time manager in three years, which is just embrassing quite frankly. But the problem is Ray Trew has now got himself a reputation for being very trigger happy, so when another manager comes in and hits a bad run of form, fans will be waiting for Ray to pull the trigger again. I dont want to sound like a broken record but I really do feel that the fact we're not loaded like we thought we were in the munto days hasn't sunk in among some fans. Too many expect miracles from the club but we're not a club that has money to throw about. I would think there have been enough examples of club's throwing too much money around in recent years for people to be thankful to have a stable club with owners who dont want to waste money, but it appears not to be the case with some people. It also really dissapoints me when I see fans refusing to go until a manager is gone. I'm sorry, but I lose a bit of respect for those who refuse to go just because of a manager. A football club is for life, you support it through thick and thin no matter who the manager is and however the team is doing. If you can't take the rough with the smooth it really is time to go and do something else. But maybe that's just me. I grew up knowing Notts to be simply fighting for Football League survival every single season. I got used to seeing us lose at home to the likes of Macclesfield Town, Chester City and Barnet. I also remember us losing 6-1 at Dagenham & Redbridge one awful day. That still goes down as the worst day at the office I can remember, even worse than yesterday's defeat! It's a very sad day in my opinion. Keith was fighting against the tide from the moment he stepped through the door but he won a lot of people over during his time here - myself included. Sadly those of us supporting the manager were always going to be outnumbered by those wanting him out sooner or later so I suppose this day was inevitable, but that dosen't make it the right decision I don't think. The questions I've asked for weeks have been if we sack Keith Curle, who could we realistically afford to bring in? Who in their right mind would want the job? If I was a manager out of work I wouldnt touch Notts County with the proverbial barge-pole. You have less job security than a Turkey in November and little hope of ever being able to keep some fans happy. It's the same every time - we bring in a manager, enjoy the honeymoon period while it lasts, sack them once we hit a bad run of form, bring someone else in and start the cycle again. We need stability, and we won't get anywhere anytime soon if we keep going through managers at our current rate. Stability is key, and a manager needs time to build his own squad. We'll have to wait and see if we bring anybody in on a permanent basis this season, but Ray Trew made it clear on Notts Mad that his next appointment would be another gamble, so expect another little-known name or someone without a proven track record. In the meantime, development team manager Chris Kiwomya has taken the job as caretaker and will be in charge for Tuesday night's game at Stevenage, Chris is a very brave man choosing to take the job on after suffering such a recent personal tradegy. I for one am fully behind the guy, and I'd also like to wish Keith Curle and the two Colins the very best of luck wherever they go next. Curle is a very good young manager, and given time and patience I truly believe he would have gone on to achieve success with us. But sadly we live in an "I want success now and can't wait" society. Another manager has gone but our season is far from over. Tuesday night's game is certainly winnable for us with Stevenage suffering from poor home form this season, much like ourselves. A win could take us to within 2 points of the play-offs. Last season, Martin Allen was sacked after defeat at Hartlepool; Keith curle came in and won his first game in charge against Stevenage. Almost a year on, Keith Curle has been sacked after defeat at Hartlepool, and Chris Kiwomya has came in for the Stevenage game. Let's hope Chris can have a similar start to his tenure and get the win. Who knows, maybe this will trigger another fantastic run of form into the end of the season like last season. One thing is for certain, it's never dull at Meadow Lane! COME ON YOU PIES

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

Making Pride Of Nottingham A Success

Tonight's one of those days that make me wish I hadn't held back launching Pride of Nottingham, although to be honest the earlier site was stuck together using pva glue and built around paper mache. The earlier domain was actually 'notts-county.co.uk' which I still have active and if you type it in, you will be redirected back to here as it's now used as a forwarding domain. Certainly I owe many thanks to the earlier days to many kind people as I used to be part of a tight knit community which always made me feel very much at home but things weren't to be as the integration between the community and site were very much lacking. I had many good times working on the old site, so despite it's progress now I wouldn't say I fully regretted not taking it more seriously but I do wish I hadn't hidden away like I have over the years. My earlier times doing things like this were mainly around my poetry or the odd drawing. There was a point in time where I actually wanted to learn to code but that's not an easy task and those who can do it really have the power of the world wide web at their finger tips. It wasn't until my poetry and art site was fairly successful before I started contemplating trying my hands at doing a different type of site. The first idea being around helping people which didn't really work out to plan and almost knocked me back as the site was hacked by people who wanted money to return it to way it used to be. Due to earlier work commitments I worked every game and I never really got chance to go to Meadow Lane. Working in the hospitality trade can be very busy especially when you would work every hour possible. Feb-2008 Is when I purchased the old domain and I set about slowly trying to build a site around Notts as a way to get involved. It was pretty naive as I didn't have the time and for many years it became a side project which was one I tended to neglect but to be fair I was also pretty young at the time. To the modern day there's not an hour that goes by I don't do something to promote the site which at times I question 'Is it good enough?' certainly with everything in life there is room for improvement but I know that being a perfectionist the site has a good start. Within time it will improve and things will slowly come together, so anyone reading this who has a suggestion please do let me know. Tonight was very good in terms of the community coming together and I'm rather proud right now. The image above shows our stats and you can see that we are pulling in an audience. I will be focusing some time to completing areas which I have been saying for awhile I am working on but it's fairly awkward to build the way I'd like. This is the most we have had active at one time and 10 guests isn't that bad either This is another achievement I am really proud of and it's many thanks to those who helped today. I had decided to try to encourage activity as this will help the site no end with the promotion push of our own but I didn't want to seem ungrateful. I doubt we will hit a target like this again for some time which will be why I'd like to focus on making sure there's a reason for members to want to spend some of their free time with us. At least I would like to think this place can offer something to the Notts community, I will stride to improve on the things which lack and I am sure people understand as to why certain things aren't in-place now. We've come along way! Special Thanks to EVERYONE!

Chris

Chris

 

Transfer Window - Is It Just Me?

Maybe I'm a miserable sod, but I've never really liked the transfer windows - particularly deadline day. Not only are there a ridiculus amount of rumours linking seemingly every player with ten dozen clubs, but unless you've got money to burn like Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers, the window dosen't really help you. The windows have severely damaged the smaller clubs. Before the transfer window was introduced in England back in 2002, you could do deals all year round. That meant that there was nothing like the cashflow concerns for smaller clubs now. If a club was struggling to pay its monthly wages the chairman could pick up the phone, sell a player for x number of pounds and that was everyone paid for another month. OK, it might have been unsettling for fans and players alike but at the time we didnt know any different, and it worked. Now, club's have to rush deals through, and it's even more difficult to complete deals these days what with all the add on fees and bonuses and other negotiations that agents have brought to the party. But it's the way SKY build it up that really annoys me. They build up deadline day in January as the day that makes or breaks a club's season depending on weather or not they do the business that they need to do. We all know that the season isn't over by a long shot on February 1st, but the worrying thing is people actually buy what SKY tells them! They really do believe that if their club dosen't sign anybody, thats their season finished! Preposterous. I suppose I could be viewed as thinking this because I'm a Notts County fan, as we very rarely do any deadline day business. Yet our fans demand we sign someone and seem to assume we're doomed to failiure if we dont. Yes, we do need a striker and it'd be nice to get one but whats more important? Signing a 30 goal a season striker or having a football club to go and watch every Saturday? Because in our case it is pretty much a case of one or the other. We're not loaded, we dont have money to throw about but fans still complain when we dont sign Jonathan Forte or Lloyd Sam or David McGoldrick. I know I'm repeating myself but I really dont think that the fact we're not loaded has sunk in with some of our fans. They expect far too much. It is frustrating when we don't get players especially when they've been training with us, but to be honest if a player wants to go to another club because they're offering him more money, let him. I'd rather not have a player playing for our club who only joined because we offered him the most money. I highly doubt we'll bring in anyone before tonights 11PM deadline, I think there's more chance of us bringing in someone on loan like we did last season. But is it really such a bad thing if we dont sign anyone on deadline day? It's hardly the end of our season. Transfer window only helps clubs who are loaded and can throw money at whatever problems they have - QPR and Newcastle for example. But you very rarely see any clubs bringing in a big name star in January. Nobody wants to sell their strikers if they're scoring plenty of goals so I dont see why people get so angry when we don't bring anyone in. In fact even when they do, it dosen't always work out, I dont even need to name names. I'll be glad when the window ends, SKY goes back to talking about football rather than rumours, and everyone stops panicking about their players being linked with half the football league, Then again, maybe it's just me being a miserable sod

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

We Got There In The End

Portsmouth 0-2 Notts County Notts bounced back from Saturday's dissapointing result at Leyton Orient with an extremely hard-faught victory at Fratton Park last night. It was built up really as being a must win game for Notts, anything less would have been a bad result. Going into the game I felt fairly confident with the starting XI boasting an arsenal of attacking options in Zoko, Arquinn, Judge and Boucaud. However it was never likely to be a classic with the wind swirling around Fratton Park and the rain flying into the players faces no matter what direction they ran in. Portsmouth, as they seem to most games - started very brightly and had the games first chance when Connolly beat Alan Sheehan, crossed the ball into the area which drifted goalwards in the wind but was well saved by Speiss. Just minutes later the young goalkeeper making his first full start had to be on his toes again when another ball came into the area, which was this time punched clear. The game then settled down a bit but Portsmouth continued to press with their ever bouyant home crowd behind them. Their best chance of the whole game came when Wallace's close-range shot was well saved by Speiss at the expense of a corner. Notts did get forwards quite a bit but we kept trying to play one pass too many, almost trying to walk it in which wasen't going to work. Also there was some very sloppy play from virtually all Notts' players, as they seemed to struggle to adapt to the tricky conditions on the south coast. We did however, have the ball in the back of the net from a corner midway through the first half when one of Pompey's defenders headed into his own goal. We celebrated, but only realised there was no goal when the Pompey fans began a rendition of "sit down shut up!" - turned out the goal has been dissalowed for a push. Half time: 0-0, and it must be said we didnt really look like a side chasing the play-offs. We were very sloppy and things had to improve in the second half. We began the second half much brighter with Pompey struggling to clear a number of balls into the area, but we just couldnt find that final touch. That was the story of the next 35 minutes really - we kept getting into decent positions but we'd try and play a bit too much and Pompey would break up field. But I honestly can't remember Speiss having a save to make in the second half. They kept getting forwards but they never really had any chances. Alan Judge, Neal bishop and Francois Zoko all went close for Notts but finally, a breakthrough goal came ten minutes from time. Yohann Arquinn, who it must be said put in a very lazy shift, crossed for Jeff Hughes to volley home from close range to send the 135 Notts fans wild with delight, or was that just relief? Probably a mixture of both. It had been said in the buld up to the game that Portsmouth had a habbit of starting games very well until they conceeded, at which point they'd fall to pieces, and this was too true. Suddenly Notts had more energy about them, and seemed to play more positively and with more freedom. Within 5 minutes of that opener, Francois Zoko made it 2-0 scored from inside the six yard box from a Bishop ball. That killed the game. All the travelling fans seemed very relieved to have the points in the bag. What seemed like a pottential bannana skin before the game looked like becoming one until the last ten minutes. But credit to the lads, they proved once again that they can dig in and adapt their style of play when neccesary, and get the job done. It wasen't pretty, and it wasen't the walkover that some fans were demanding but our goal difference is pretty strong as it is. I dont think there's much point in going all out to score bags of goals and risk injuries. Just get the 3 points in the bag and move onto the next game. The only big dissapointment on the night was the red card shown to Neal Bishop in injury time. Now quite what this was for I personally cant be sure. What I saw was Bishop play a pass forwards, and while we were watching Boucaud attempt to take on a defender a few fans began shouting. I saw something out of the corner of my eye and I looked to see Bish and a Pompey player squaring up to eachother. One fan stood next to me said the Portsmouth man had had Bish by the throat and a small scuffle broke out. I suppose retaliation is a difficult one, but it does beg the question if the whole away end (well, seemingly apart from me!) saw a Pompey man start on Bish, why did none of the two assistent referee's or the ref himself? So it wasen't a pretty performance or a classic by any stretch of the imagination but job done, a wins a win, and we move up to 9th in the table - 5 points off the play-offs with a game in hand. I also want to mention Portsmouth's loyal and ever-vocal supporters. Not only did the players give it a real go until the first goal but their fans just didn't stop singing all night. To keep going back, and supporting their team as loudly, loyally and proudly as they do when they're getting beat week in week out takes a hell of a lot. I really hope they survive, it would be such a shame to see such a wonderful club with a rich history like that of Pompey die. Next up for us, we go to the opposite end of the country completely with a trip to bottom club Hartlepool United on Saturday. It's another must win game for us, anything less would be a big dissapointment. COME ON YOU PIES

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

Weekend's Football

Well that was an interesting weekend of football! So much to talk about so please do bear with me, I'll break this down into sections. My Own Saturday Thankfully this Saturday I was spared that gut-wrenching feeling of waking up to the news that the game was off, because Weymouth's trip to second placed Hemel Hempstead Town had been postponed on Friday morning with the pitch a good few feet under snow! For once the Southern League saw sense in allowing the game to be called off early. For some reason they dont usually allow clubs to call matches off until the day of the game, which causes everyone disruption when its clear for all to see that the match wont be on. So for me and my mate it was down to the ground still to watch the ever improving Weymouth Reserves play Wareham Rangers in the Dorset Premier League. The team line-up was interesting, with an outside goalkeeper coming in as an emergency replacment as the other two keepers who were both suspended, and three first team players lining up with defenders Ben Doidge and Ashley Wells (for me, our standout player this season), while seasoned striker Matt Groves reverted to a midfield role. Old Groover seemed more interested in shouting at the poor youngsters though than having an impact on proceedings himself. Wareham took the lead roughly ten minutes before the break via a freak goal. A corner came in and there was a scramble which resulted in the keeper having his hands on the ball. Play seemed to stop for a minute, and the keeper let go of the ball. So a Wareham striker tapped the ball into the net and everyone got set for the restart. Took us spectators a few moments to work out weather the goal had been given or not, quite what was happening with our keeper I dont understand. Second half our lads came out and played with a lot more intensity which had been missing through the first half, although that might be understandable given that this was their first game in over a month! Highly rated among us fans, Sean Zima took on and beat a couple of defenders before prodding the ball home to make it 1-1 around the hour mark. Then within 5 minutes the turnaround was complete when Ashley Wells (what he was doing so far forwards god only knows!) stole the ball from the Wareham left back, ran at the keeper and at the second attempt - slotted home to give the Weymouth Reserves the lead. The rest of the game was a scrappy affair with the refferee and his two officials taking centre stage. One linesman had absolutely no understanding whatsoever of the offiside rule. How can our man be offside if he's had to beat the defender who had a head start of a few yards to reach the ball?? Then the ref suddenly discovered a mysterious yellow card in his pocket! He loved it so much he decided to show it to 5 players in as many minutes. Still, I suppose there's a reason these lot are refereeing at this level.. Full Time: Weymouth Reserves 2-1 Wareham Rangers. 3 points lift the Ressies up to 9th in the DPL, although for us the table isn't important. What's important is helping these players develop and feed them into the first-team. And it must be said there's some great young talant in the reserves side which bodes well for the future of our club. All good news after years of turmoil, but maybe I'll tell you that long story another day. Notts County With the Reserves game having been a 2pm kick off, on my way home I checked our score which was 0-0. Was very sad to hear of Bialkowski's injury though. I think I speak for all Notts County fans when I say that he's proved a lot of people wrong so far this season. When his signing was announced in the summer, a large section of supporters dismissed Bart as "****" on one youtube clip from his now infamous appearance for Southampton against Blackpool last season in which he had an absolute stinker. But everyone has bad days and I was all for giving the guy a chance. He's since proved himself to be argubly one of the best keepers we've had at Meadow Lane in many years, producing a string of fine performances that have earned us plenty of points so far this season. His heroic stand against Swindon Town at Meadow Lane in November was probably the easist Man of The Match award to be given at Meadow Lane for years! Fabien Speiss came on to replace Bart and quickly set about showing us just why he's been watched by some of the top premiership clubs. A string of fine saves, and some very good kicking lead to him being unanimously named as Notts' MOTM for the afternoon. He's got a bright future ahead of him, what a great young prospect he is. It proves that Bart certainly has some competition - can 'Polands number one' keep his place? With regards to the result, it was bitterly dissapointing to lose, but the incredible away run off 22 games without defeat under Keith Curle had to end sooner or later. We'll just have to start a new one now! What dissapointed me more than the result though was the reaction of some of our fans. If your reading this, you may have read my rant on one of the forum threads on Saturday evening, so I wont go into it all again, but the point I'd like to make is that yes - it's always dissapointing to lose a game, but I really do think some of our fans expect too much. It's as if the fact we're not loaded like we thought we were hasn't sunk in with some and they expect us to carry on sacking managers whenever we hit a bad patch of form and sign 30 goal-a-season strikers. We cant do that. How people can be calling for Curle's head is beyond me. I'll be the first to admit I was completely mystified at his appointment but he's certainly proved me wrong and I for one am fully supportive of the guy. At the end of the day, we dont have a divine right to win anything. What do we do if we sack Curle? Who could be realistically afford to bring in? Who in their right mind would want the hottest seat in football? And if we found someone who we could afford and was mad enough to take the job on what would happen? We'd enjoy the honeymoon period, then sack him once we hit some bad form and start the cycle all over again. We're not a rich club. We need stability. Jimmy Sirrel didnt achieve success constantly during his time at Meadow Lane, but we stuck by him and look what he did for our club. Brian Clough took over at Derby, and actually took them to a finish of one place lower in his first full season, but they stood by their man and the rest is history. It's a shame there's no patience in football anymore, with everyone demanding instant success. FA Cup A rather sore subject still after our exit to Rotherham, but I still want to mention this weekends Cup action. Anyone who feels that the FA Cup has lost its magic need look no further than this weekend's action. Millwall, Leeds United and Oldham Athletic all beat Premiership opposition as did Luton Town. The Hatters have had a well documented tirbulant few years, and they deserve more coverage for their win at Norwich than they got. It was the first time EVER that a Premiership club had been knocked out by a non-league side. The last top division side to fall to non-league opposition was Coventry City at Sutton in 1989. Their reward - a home tie with Millall. That could be carnage! Also, Brentford managed to hold the European Champions Chelsea to a 2-2 draw at Grifiin Park, and they get another crack at Stamford Bridge. The winner of that tie goes to middlesbrough in round 5. Next Game Well the Magpies next game should be away to Portsmouth tommorow night, but I'd be surprised if its on with the forecast being for torrential rain in Portsmouth all day tommorow. I pray they have an inspection and call it off nice an early (it seems likely to be the case). If I have to get there to find its been called off again someone somewhere at the Football League or FA or whoever it is that sorts match officials out will be recieving a strongly worded letter! IF, however the game goes ahead, its simply a must win game for Notts. The next two away games are Portsmouth then Hartlepool, so anything less than 6 points would be pretty bad. I kind of feel sorry for the players in that they're basically in a no win situation this week. They're expected to win both games, but if we dont, "the usual suspects will be out to complain" in the words of Captain Neal Bishop. He's not wrong, always the same people. As ever I'm confident we can get the win and get our play-off push back on track. Fingers crossed tommorow night's game at Fratton Park is on, but I'm not feeling too optomistic about that. If you've somehow managed to keep yourself awake to read through this whole blog i salute you! COYP

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

Oldham Match Thoughts

Notts picked up their first win of the New Year last night with a 1-0 victory at home to free-falling oldham Athletic, to move up to 12th in the table. When the line-up was announced around an hour before kick-off, it's fair to say there were some mixed opinions regarding Enoch Showumni being given a chance to impress up front, although it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise with Zoko being suspended. I was somewhat dissapointed to read so many negative comments about the guy prior to the match, with few people giving him any hope of making an impact. I said on Twitter that I hoped he'd score to silence some of the doubters - he does after all, wear the famous black and white shirt, so we should be behind him! So what happened? He went and got his first goal for the club on 35 minutes. In my opinion, this was one of the best worked goals from Notts we've seen this season. Boucaud and Campbell-Ryce combined to set up Enoch for a tap-in. A goal is a goal, it gets a money off his back, and I really wouldnt be surprised to see him go and grab a few more now. We certainly need him to! The first half, Colin Slater described as some of the best football Notts had played this season, and for once I felt rather calm listening to the game, although the longer we went without scoring the more I began to wonder about it coming back to bite us on the backside, so it was a relief as much as anything when we got that first goal. Second half sounded somewhat scrappy. Oldham appeared to play with a bit of tempo (I reitterate the phrase "a bit") which had been absent from their first half performance. The latics came close to an equaliser middway through the second half when Matt Smith saw his shot cleared off the line by Gary Liddle. At this point, my commentary actually cut out briefly, and when it came back on the first words I heard were "equaliser for the visitors", by heart sank. Thankfully, Dean Yates went on to say what a brilliant clearence off the line it was by Liddle. To me, it felt like a second goal - phew! The longer the second half went on the more nervous I became listening on Magpie Player, and you could sense the tension around Meadow Lane aswel but oldham failed to ever really test Bart Bialkowski and on the whole the Magpies deserves the 3 points. I must mention the 80 Oldham fans who made the trip aswel. They were not exacly vocal, and it's easy to dismiss their support as "crap", but credit to those who did make that journey, at this time of the year, in this weather with their team in their current poor form - dedication of the highest order. Something else that will have gave many home fans something to smile about was the presence of Lee Hughes at Meadow Lane. I suppose it shouldnt really be much of a surprise given that he played for Oldham prior to his time at Notts. Still, it was great to see him there with that big smile. I think we'll see plenty of more of Lee at the Lane in the years to come. It seems that the club found a place in his heart just as he did in the fans'. Hopefully his presence will put to bed rumours of a bust up with Keith Curle which led to his departure or any ill feeling towards the club. If that was the case he wouldn't have been allowed pitchside. So on the whole then a succesfull night for the Magpies. An important 3 points, a first win since November and perhaps more importantly a win on home soil. After the weekend's game with Sheffield United I said we needed to use that result as a springboard to get back to winning ways and get some confidence back into the side, and I suppose, get a feel-good factor back into the fans again. We've started doing that. We're 6 points off the play-offs, with 2 games in hand and plenty of winnable games coming up. I think we can soon get back up into the mix if we can string some results together. We havent yet won 3 games in a row this season, now would be a good time to change that statistic. But lets not get carried away and take things a game at a time. Russel Slade's Leyton Orient are next on the agenda. A game against a Russel Slade side is never easy, but Orient - like ourselves have been pretty inconsistant this season. It took them weeks to get their first win of the season, then they went and won 8 in a row; It really is a funny old game... Still, as ever, I'm confident the lads can go there and get 3 points. COME ON YOU PIES

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

Thoughts On Yesterday

I woke up today very excited but nervous none the less, the reason? I had decided to break my social rules which prevents me from encountering negativity. It doesn't really work but I can pretend I cope. The day went very slow at first which is strange. I did much more than I normally would in the hours before I left for Meadow Lane and I wished I could spend time more like it normally. I had spent the majority of the time with my children who was off due to our alarm not going off. I bumped into a dear family friend, who i haven't seen for awhile and I wished my parents spent more time socializing with her family but I felt I allowed my nerves to get the better of me. (felt rude the way I ended the conversation) Not being defeated with how I feel about things, I didn't want to lose the chance of meeting up with some of the friendly people I have come across during starting the site. I sat in the MLSB looking around and feeling out sorts, as I don't really like bars. Jake and Ellie was taking turns using my phone to play games, until this elderly lady asked if she could sit down. Very nice that someone would ask, it's rare these days and of course I didn't mind. To be honest by this point I was glad of the company. I had a wonderful conversation with her and she helped entertain Jake, as by now Ellie had given up and had become bored (bless her) falling sleep in the chair she sat on. Jake really becomes brighter in these situation, I often fear about him becoming shy like I have been and it makes a huge difference to see him all bright eyed that he had someone interested in him who he wasn't related too. We left the MLSB about 10 minutes before kick off, I decided since Jake had been so good he could choose where we would sit. He decided to sit at the far back of the Pavis Stand and annoyingly (as kids do) decided he wanted the toilet after a few minutes of sitting down and not long after I had asked him. The game was very lively, I was impressed pretty much on the off and felt that we was easily in control. If I may, I would say I felt disappointed only by how we finished our moves. It lacked any real direction and could of secured an easier win if we did. They played incredibly well! I was waving like a madman trying to attract Mr Westwell attention, wearing my new pride and joy. (being a PoN T-Shirt). I decided to take him up on something he mentioned to me in a tweet, I approached him and openly spoke. This isn't something I normally would do but I am glad I did. He's someone I'm glad to have on my facebook friends list, despite not really knowing him. I admire his talent and the way he relates to us fans. Simply a truly great guy! He kindly took a few pictures, which will make Ellie's day as she was disappointed a few years back that Jake had been snapped. (without her) on our championship winning celebration game. I really like the T-Shirts, I was a bit nervous about putting it on and this is another thing I am glad I did. I can honestly say I wouldn't normally unless I had some dutch courage or in a very good mood. Second half we played a little different, I feel we allowed them to play the way they did but they did change their game plan which caused us concern but anyone who says that Oldham was a threat couldn't be more wrong. They was woeful on goal, in fact I don't really recall any clear cut chances apart from the one 'Every Liddle Helps' cleared of the line. I have to say, I wasn't sure it was him at the time. I was so far up and back, that I thought it could of been but was quite unsure. We gave a few flyers out in the stand and took to doing the same towards the end of the match. We easily gave away more than normal as Jake and I focused on doing so. Ellie helps but she is very quiet, a lot like her mum. A few people made a fuss of them both, which of course gave Jake his bright eyes. After Jake had handed a flyer to this guy, I didn't quite hear the comment made by him and sort of turned away. Only to notice the same guy return to speak with me and Jake in which he gave Jake his ticket and official team sheet. I very proud of Jake (Ellie too) but this feeling will be hard to forget. Reminds me a kind binman who gave me his Notts shirt, as I walking back from school at dinner time with Super Ram (my dad). I wonder if he remembers this? I couldn't forget it, it's a sign we have some very good fans.

Chris

Chris

 

Saturday Wasen't So Bad...

Are there many worse feelings than waking up to the news that your match is off? Whilst Weymouth's grudge match with Frome Town in the Southern League being postponed due to a frozen pitch was hardly a big surprise, it was still dissapointing after spending half the week looking forward to it. Whilst that wasen't surprising, the news that the Magpies home clash with Sheffield United WOULD go ahead was certainly a surprise. Massive credit has to go to the groundstaff of both Notts County and Nottingham Rugby, along with the countless volunteers for their hard work, particularly on Friday and Saturday morning. They did the club proud, and certainly proved a lot of people wrong! I wonder if they were wondering why they bothered after seeing Notts fall behind just two minutes into the game against an out-of-form Sheffield United side. Listening to Colin Slater and Dean Yates commentary on Magpie Player certainly wasen't a pleasent experience for the first ten minutes of the game, with Notts seemingly struggling to get the ball out of their own half. And just when the home side were beggining to find their feet and come into the game a bit, we recieved a second sucker punch when Francois Zoko got himself sent off. Initially he was given a yellow card for a foul, but he took his protests too far and was then sent off. Some Notts supporters defended Francois claiming it was never a foul in the first place. Having seen it a couple of times now I think it's one of those things whereby we've seen them given, and we've seen them not given. Either way, Zoko should know better than to continue his protests in the manner he did. I for one have never seen an official change his mind on a players word. Manager keith Curle certainly didnt seem pleased with his front man during his post-match interview, and told Radio Nottingham that he would be taking disciplinary action. It must be said that Notts' disciplinary record this season is a cause for concern - SIX red cards so far this season is unacceptable weather they were all the right decision from the official or not. Having conceeded such an early goal, and being reduced to ten men it would have been easy for the Notts lads to buckle and think it was going to be another one of those days, but to their credit they kept fighting and once we got to half time at 1-0, I still felt we had a chance of nicking something from the game. The second half certainly sounded like a tense affair, the next goal was crucial. When the second goal of the game did come ten minutes from time, it fell for ten man Notts. Alan Judge heading home from Sheehan's free kick, sending the Meadow Lane faithful wild; and me in my front room slightly more mad! I should probably apologise to the neighbours for the noise when we got that equaliser. A point in the circumstances was an excellent result although we had our chances to win the game! Its been no secret that our home form has held us back dramatically this season, but hopefully that battling point against a promotion contender could be the springboard for us to turn the home form around. If Tuesday night's match at home to Oldham Athletic goes ahead, it's certainly a must win game. Their FA Cup 3rd Round victory over the river has papered over the cracks at Boundary Park, with the team falling down the league table. Their latest set-back was yesterday's 2-1 defeat at Coventry City. Despite equalising on 89 minutes, they went and lost it on 95 minutes! I like to remain as positive as possible, and I'm confident that if the match goes ahead we can get the 3 points. Yesterday's result will no doubt give the lads a lot of self-belief which seems to have been missing in recent weeks. We know from earlier in the season what this team is capable of, lets get back on form and start moving up the table. COME ON YOU PIES

weymouthPIE

weymouthPIE

 

Saturday 05/01/2013 (No Football!)

It's 1:02am as I sit here in a pitch black room with only the television and laptop for company, I almost dreamed we had a game tomorrow! I can't believe we have to wait until the 12th, it seems surreal at a point where the games come fast and thick to wait so long for a game. (though I'm not complaining) The site has been pretty active the past week, I can't say how pleased I am, I wished I could but it is very nice to see. I've been focusing on alternative pages, which is stalling as I have trouble with making the appearance look decent. I hope to make the League table and the Team pages quite attractive but friendly at the same time. Tomorrow I have to visit Meadow Lane, I have to pop into the club shop to pick up themag which I would hate to miss out on. I've collected these with Jake for sometime and I try not to miss special additions. This reminds me of Jake, who seems adamant that he will joining us here at PoN. Part of me is very proud, as his reading and writing as become very impressive for his age but as a concerned father I don't want him to rush things. (All three of my children are very clever) I keep drafting poem ideas, as I haven't written much for awhile and I used to regularly. I'm quite proud of the 'Our Club, Our Passion', as most people who know will understand how fussy I am when it comes to my writing but it gives me much joy.

Chris

Chris

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

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