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Well the dust has just about settled on another season of highs and lows, joys and sorrows for the world's oldest league club. It's been a rather strange season. It sounds very cliche but it really has been a season of two halves - one spent watching our promotion hopes go down the drain, and the other half spent fighting the unthinkable in relegation out of the very league we helped establish. But we've come out the other side, and now seems like a good time to look back on a real rollercoaster of a ride. So this is my season review. Nothing special, no real plan. Just me waffling in the hope that somebody somewhere has enough time on their hands to read said waffles, and hopefully - raise a smile!
Despite an awful end to the 2015/16 season, the appointment of the experienced John Sheridan seemed a real statement of intent from Notts, and with players such as Jonathan Forte, Michael O'Connor, Richard Duffy, Matt Tootle, Adam Colin etc all signing from higher league clubs, there was reason for quiet optimism going into the new season.
Not that that hope lasted very long. All of 16 minutes in fact before Adam Collin introduced himself to us with a howler to gift Yeovil the lead at Huish Park. A second followed soon after, and in the end the 2-0 scoreline probably flattered Notts, who were second best all over the park in the West Country sunshine. Still, at least we got a nice sun tan! And from a purely selfish point of view, I was home and tucking into my takeaway whilst the Notts fans were still trying to find their way back to the M5!
Failiure to win either of our first two home games of the season did little to raise enthusiasm, and it wasn't until the second half of our fourth game of the season at Hartlepool that Notts' season finally kicked into life. Trailing 1-0 until the 65th minute, loanee Louis Laing would change the game - netting the equaliser himself before setting up veteren striker Jon Stead for the winner ten minutes later, to the delight of the hardy souls who made the long trip to Scotland, and to me and some other Notts fans enjoying Twenty20 Finals Day at Edgbaston!
Back-to-back away wins were recorded thanks to another terrific second half display that saw us win 3-1 at Crawley, and set us up nicely for what promised to be a tasty home game with Grimsby Town. The Marriners brought a large and boysterous following, and when Omar Bogle (Omaaar, Omaaaarrr) latched onto a pathetic back pass from Aborah to double their lead early in the second half, they appeared to be cruising. But Johnny Forte halved the defecit with eleven minutes to go, and barely a minute later the travelling army of "Fish" were stunned when Notts won a penalty. Maybe it was the adrenelin, or maybe it was just a c*ap effort, but O'Connor smashed it wide to the disbelief of the Notts crowd.
But to their credit, the players didn't let the setback get to them, and after launching the kitchen sink at Grimsby for the final ten minutes, Aaron Collins lifted the roof off of the Kop end when he equalised a minute from time. Vadane Oliver almost stole all 3 points moments leter when his looping header was tipped onto the crossbar by the keeper. If that had gone in I think there would have been a few broken bones in the Kop!
We couldn't repeat the trick a week later as we slumped to a dreadful 2-0 reverse at home to Accrington Stanley, but our away form came to our aid again, with back-to-back away day successes again, this time at Cheltenham Town and Exeter City, either side of a first home win of the season over Leyton Orient.
Those 3 straight wins had us briefly up to the dizzying heights of 5th, but we came crashing back down to earth with a bang, with a gut wrenching defeat to Mansfield Town at Field Mill, conceeding two stoppage time goals.
Another home defeat followed, this time to Morecambe, before, once again - our away form kept us in the mix, and saw us achieve arguably our best result of the season - winning 2-1 at eventual champions Portsmouth, thanks to two Adam Campbell goals. An incredible result, and a brilliant day for the travelling fans. Little did we know, it would end up being 14 long, excruciating weeks before we had that winning feeling in the league again.
A frustrating goalless draw at home to Luton followed, before we just about avoided FA Cup embarrassment to non-league opposition again, coming from 2 down to rescue a draw at Boreham Wood. There's a first time for everything, and that was the first time I've found myself watching a game from the toilet block door to stay out of the rain!
An utterly calamitous 4-0 trouncing at Bloomfield Road put a slight dampener on what was an otherwise cracking weekend in Blackpool, before bottom side Newport came to the Lane and tore us a new one. Shaun Derry was then on hand to rub salt into the wounds 4 days later, before another masterclass in defensive ineptitude handed Barnet 3 points at The Hive, in a game where Notts should have been 3 to the good by the time Barnet got on the scoresheet.
Some degree of pride was briefly restored in the FA Cup second round, as we fought back from 2 down to earn a deserved replay with league one Peterborough, but the losing run in the league was stretched to 6 games as we threw away the lead at Colchester.
By this stage, the atmosphere was starting to turn toxic, not only against the manager and the players, but the owner. The clear chants from the crowd for Trew to leave at Colchester proved to be much closer to the mark than any of us imagined, as the following Monday Trew announced that he had agreed a deal with Alan Hardy to sell the club.
This meant that the army of Notts fans who travelled to Peterborough the next evening for the FA Cup replay were in good spirits, and with the prize at stake being a trip to Chelsea, there was a cracking atmosphere in the away end. It wasn't to be as we were comfortably beaten on the night, but it was a fantastic evening in that away end.
The optimism was short lived as two more home defeats over the Christmas and New Year period left us just one place above the relegation zone, and 4-0 humbling at Cambridge in the first game of 2017 signalled the end of the road for yet another manager. John Sheridan was relieved of his duties, but we were still yet to hit rock bottom.
That would come with an embarrassing surrender to ten man Morecambe, making it an unwanted club record of 10 consecutive league defeats, during which we shipped just the 27 goals!
But thankfully, things were about to change for the better. Alan Hardy officially completed his takeover of the club, and wasted no time in appointing Kevin Nolan as manager. Some wondered if we were in a position to be able to afford to gamble on another rookie manager, but it was obvious that he and Hardy had already struck up a strong relationship, and quite frankly, many of us thought "sod it he can't do any worse".
A bumper crowd of over 11,300 descened onto the Lane for the pairs first game at the club, and Notts finally stopped the rot with a hard fought goalless draw against local rivals Mansfield Town, who's fans seemed more interested in setting off flares than watching the game. We never did find out if any lifeboats actually responded...
The next home game finally brought us our first win in what felt like an eternity, and in typical Notts fashion, it came in the most dramatic way possible.
For the most part we had been all over Crawley, but try as we might we just couldn't find that all important goal, and when Curtis Thomspon saw red midway through the second half, after all of the chances we'd missed, you couldn't help but feel that a sucker punch was inevitable.
But if anything, the red seemed to galvanise Notts further, and the home fans roared them forwards. Sure enough, with just 15 minutes remaining Thierry Audel headed Notts into the lead. Just ffteen minutes to hold on for that long awaited victory. Crawley had created nothing all game, surely this was it?
Well this being Notts there had to be a sting in the tail, and when James Collins let fy from some 30 yards and his effort flew in off the underside of the bar, everyone's heart sank. Just typical, we had been the better side and had been hit with the sucker punch. "Watch them nick it now" I remember thinking to myself.
But once again, the setback only seemed to strengthen our resolve, and when Crawley's keeper spilled a shot, Forte was on hand to smash the rebound home, sparking scenes of utter delerium around Meadow Lane.
Those five minutes of injury time were five of the longest minutes of my life, but the sheer release of emotion at that final whistle will live long in the memory. There were grown men in tears. Unless you suffered through those 14 weeks of hell since the last win, you can't even begin to understand just how much that win meant to us, and the way in which we won it made it even more special. Moments like that are why we stick with our clubs through thick and thin.
The joy was short lived, as a frustrating defeat at Accrington Stanley (I'll let you say it...) followed, and set up a relegation 6 pointer at home to Cheltenham. It was a game of huge importance for both sides, but by now Nolan was really starting to stamp his mark on the side, and wth the embargo being lifted at the 11th hour, he was able to bring in some useful signings for the run-in, and in particular Jorge Grant and Shola Ameobi would prove invaluable.
Notts beat Cheltenham 2-1, and the never say die attitude Noaln had instilled was emphasised days later when Richard Duffy and Jorge Grant struck in injury time to rescue a dramatic draw at home to Exeter. This set up yet another relegation 6 pointer in East London against Leyton Orient. It proved not to be one for the faint hearted!
Normally games like that are tight and nervy, but this was anything but. Both sides seemed to decide that the best form of defence was attack. Jorge Grant gave Notts a 35th minute lead which they would just about hold onto into half time. It looked like Jon Stead had settled the nerves when he doubled the lead early in the second half, but in typical Notts fashion, we allowed Orient straight back into it a minute later, to set up 40 of the most nail biting minutes those of us in attendance would experience all season.
Orient threw everything at us, and the defending at times was desperate. We were beginning to edge towards a massive victory, but then ten minutes from time Notts failed to clear their lines, and Mezague struck an absolute rocket into the roof of the net to lift the roof off of Brisbane Road.
Other scores were against us at the time, and now we were just hoping to hang on for the point. But some great skill from Bola carved open the Orient defence, and he pulled it back for the unmarked Jon Stead on the edge of the box, and the veteren frontman cooly rifled the ball into the bottom corner to spark utter chaos in the away end.
We just about held out for the 6 minutes of injury time, and secured one of our most important wins of the season, and what a game it was too!
A slightly less exciting goalless draw with Yeovil followed, before another memorable away win, this time in deepest Devon at promotion chasing Plymouth, on a Tuesday night. Ultimately it was a goalkeeping howler that let Grant in for the decisive goal midway through the first half, though any of the 163 hardy souls in the away end that night would tell you Notts were genuinely the better side on the night, and Plymouth wouldn't have had much ground for complaint if we'd won 3-0.
The young Forest star (as the local chip paper loves to point out) was having quite an impact, and he slammed home one of the goals of the season to seal a 2-1 win over Hartlepool in another six pointer at Meadow Lane. Quite a contrast in the home form since the arrival of Nolan.
A batting 3-1 loss at league leaders Doncaste followed, but so good was the run we had been on that we now had an 8 point cushion over the bottom 2, neither of whom were showing any signs of dragging themselves out of it.
Safety was all but confirmed over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of March. Results went our way on the Saturday, but when Mark Yeates saw red for a rash challenge early on at home to Barnet, it looked like we might be thankful for those results going our way. But under Noaln we're a different animal, and this team doesn't know when it's beaten. We limited Barnet to very few openings, and Matt Tootle's goal early in the second half gave us something to defend. A combination of Notts runing themelves into the ground, and Barnet being a bit toilet meant we held on for a massive 3 points that took us 11 clear of the drop zone.
The pressure of the dogfight was now off to some extent and we were able to enjoy the run in.
Shola Ameobi's goal was enough to earn 3 points in a rather uneventful game at Wycombe, before we put in arguably our best performance under Nolan when comfortably seeing off play-off chasing Colchester at Meadow Lane.
Four straight wins were notched up with Jon Stead and Matt Tootle scoring in the last 5 minutes to seal a dramatic comeback win at Carlisle, before an entertaining, if somewhat frustrating draw at Crewe.
But by now we were already starting to look to next season, and not even the unbeaten home run under Nolan coming to an end against Portsmouth on Easter Monday could wash away the feel good factor.
The final home game of the season saw us sign off with a hard fought and scrappy win over Blackpool, and it just brought home how much things have changed in the last year.
12 months ago we lost 5-0 to Carlisle on the final day, and the club was in complete turmoil. Now we're revitalised, and everybody is looking forwards. The feel good factor is back in the club. Watching Notts has gone back to being fun again.
It was actually nice to go into that final game at Newport and be in a position to just enjoy the day. It was a shame we lost but credit to Newport, what a way to survive. I'm just glad it didn't hold any relevance for us, as it was only a few months ago that we were starting to look at that game as a potential do or die game!
It's been another topsy turvy season at Meadow Lane, but we've come through it. I know we've had more false dawns than we care to remember at Notts, so I say it with extreme caution, but there is genuine cause for quiet optimism.
I really do think that Nolan could build something special here if given the right backing. It's obvious him and Hardy have a special bond, and that's crucial. Look what it did for Derek Pavis and Neil Warnock.
We need to be patient though and give him time. And I mean proper time. Don't panic and go and get rid of him at the first sign of things not going according to plan. We've been through a frankly embarrassing number of managers over the last few years and look where it's got us. Now more than ever we need some stability, and I trust Nolan to take us forwards next season.
I really don't think we're that far off challenging at the right end of this league. The gap between the top and the bottom isn't that great. We beat 5 of this season's top 7 this season, so we know we can compete with the big teams.
We'll see what happens come August. But as with any Notts season, it sure as hell won't be dull!
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Shortcomings of a defence that cannot mark and strikers that cannot score, despite the 000's spent, the central midfield area is one which is being overlooked.
@ARLukomski twitter posting is so relevant:
Along with Milsom, we must have one of the most ineffective midfields in this division. Do I see any real quality, the answer has to be no. Milsom's 1st half v Swindon, showed what was possible but there is no real pace to cover the ground whilst in possession.
Hewitt has long been viewed as an asset by some supporters but all his running is defensively, without the ball, offering nothing in an offensive attacking sense
January will be crucial to correct this crucial area of the pitch...Thoughts?
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Things are weighing up on my mind a lot, I’m still in some form of shellshock from yesterday and I am truly disappointed – I honestly struggle to see past my current mood because it’s all very deflating.
Leading into the game I wouldn’t have gone if Mark dropped out, I just wasn’t looking forward to it but not because I felt Notts would lose.
I actually felt positive about the game and 25 minutes in, it was hard to see how Notts could lose the game but sadly they handed all 3 points to Yeovil on a plate.
Personally, I don’t attend games to see a side win and I don’t try to promote the club for any other reason than wanting to help. I am used to what happens on and off the pitch, I shouldn’t be fazed by what occurs but somehow it still gets me down.
Notts played very well in the early minutes of the first half, they knocked it around well but I felt attacking the KOP wasn’t the best game plan. I don’t know if this was due to Kevin Nolan/Alan Hardy thinking “excite the fans, we have worked hard in training.”
Or, if it was simply Yeovil winning the coin toss at the start – either way I feel it made the second half harder.
I didn’t take any pictures or do anything yesterday, I didn’t even use my phone until after the game.
By the time the whistle had blown I just wanted to bury my head in the same sand that Kevin Nolan seems to be used to by now.
I love the Notts Community and most fans will know there’s a ‘family’ vibe amongst the regulars but I honestly feel very dissociated right now.
This is the main reason why I wasn’t looking forward to Notts, people don’t seem to understand how individuals feel and I saw a lot of unpleasant stuff going on amongst ourselves. It’s like a bunch of kids fighting over the same wish but doing nothing about it.
Notts are poor right now, Kevin Nolan needs to sort the defence out and sign a keeper on loan.
This season is far from finished and I wish we could focus on that, it’s just very depressing and I can’t absorb much more of the nonsense that I see.
The football club’s better than this, we are better than this.
Alan Hardy and Kevin Nolan have their first real test, the issues on the field are Nolan’s problems. Those that say he fixed us from being sure relegation candidates, that wasn’t his mess and it will be interesting to see if he can make the right decisions.
I don’t want him to be sacked, nor do I want any pressure to be mounting on him because I think stability will resolve itself eventually.
But Nolan needs to get a grip of his squad, he needs to acknowledge the players who are out of form and get the defence focused.
The midfield for me would be fine, yes they could help out more, especially the wingers but they play to instructions – so that needs adjusting.
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.
I am a 9 year old fan and the son of @notts-joe. Views are my own, I would like to know your thoughts.
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.
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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.
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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!
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.
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
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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.