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Sigh.... Players to try and Keep?

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The writing has been on the wall for a long time, but it's still a difficult pill to swallow. Non-league Notts County. Jesus ******* wept.

As my attempt to look forward, to the new season, in non-*******-league...

Who should we try and keep?

Fitz - See ya later
Schofield - Don't try and get back, utter rubbish.


Tootle - Verdicts out. Tempted to say thanks Matt for your effort, but this season simply hasn't been good enough. and you've been injured far too much of it. When Toots has played, he's been part of the problem, not the solution. I think, with a lot of regret, it's time to say goodbye. 

Bird - Stay. Looked good when he's played and potentially one for the future. One of the few Notts CBs that looks half useful with his feet.
Ward - Do one. Wouldn't even risk his own financial well-being (he's played in the PL and Champ ffs!!!!) Notts fans would have given their last £ to go and see that shambles get relegated. **** off.

Duffy - Not as bad as some say he is, but he has to go.
Brisley - See ya.
Barclay - Utter shambles, did anyone look at him before we signed him?!
Stubbs - I'd like to get him on loan again, doubt we will in the non-league.
Evina - Can't defend. Bye bye.
Jones - Without a doubt, see ya.


Enzio - Do one. Not up for a scrap, which is what we'll get in non-league.
Vaughan - Legs gone. See ya
Doyle - Deary deary me. Started off so promising. He has been awful bar the first few games he played. I originally thought leave, but something, maybe his fight, says he could be useful to keep around. Stay.

O'Brien - Keep. Looks handy if we placed a few other players worthy of the shirt around him.
Rose - Keep. Would've been handy in L2 regardless, will most certainly be decent enough in the non-league.
Alessandra - Not sure as what happened to him, showed so much promise at times last season and at times under Kewell. We need a clean slate, bye.
Crawford - No idea
Patching - No idea
Hewitt - Sigh. Looked so good at times next to Yates. Perhaps that was due to Yates being a step above. Is versatile, but not sure at all. Leaning towards letting him go.


Dennis - The signing that I am most disappointed in. Couldn't even get in the team at Grimsby. Thanks but no thanks.
Hemmings - You can see there is some ability there, somewhere, but we just haven't seen it. Up for non-league hoof-ball? I don't think so. Probably on a wedge, there's the door.
Stead - Firstly, thankyou Jon. You tried every second you have been with us. It was clear last season should've been your last as a starter, but our woes this season meant you have been used more than you should. Thanks again Jon, good luck with whatever you do next.

Ardley - Tactically woeful. I'm not sure how much of that was his doing, how much of the backroom **** he's had to deal with, the players he could attract given how much of a ******* circus we have been. I just don't know. I can't think of a manager we could actually attract being a non-league club that might do the business for us..... No idea. 

Probably missed a few, as our squad is gigantic. The youths I don't know as I haven't seen anything from. That leaves me with a starting line-up consisting of:

O'Brien, Rose, Doyle and Bird. 

We're in for a battle next season, make no doubt about it. 

Come on you Pies. 

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I thought about this too. At first I wanted everyone out and a complete clean sweep, but that's extremely risky. After some consideration I more or less came to the same conclusion as you. With the odd difference:

Doyle - Under contract anyway. Needs to hang up his boots, but may be a useful figure to have behind the scenes, as Smith and Ameobi were last season.

Crawford - I can't judge him and don't know why he didn't figure. But he has experience in the Conference and obviously really impressed. So he's a possible for me.

Bird - He could develop into a cracking player. Needs to be nurtured and given plenty of game time.

Rose - Would make a cracking squad player, but I've read that he's leaving if we go down.

Hemmings - The bloke scored 14 goals in a shambolic side, so I'd keep if possible. But if we're cost-cutting he'll probably be the first to go.

Ardley - I don't blame him for relegation, but the jury's out as to whether he's the man to lead a title charge next season or the one after. If he and the club go separate ways, I'd like to see a young, up-and-coming manager from a smaller Conference club who knows what is needed at this level and fancies a shot at the EFL with a bigger club.

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Pierce Bird - Will turn into a really good player if given the right development

Will Patching - Big potential. Passing is good and when he was in the side, he did look fine

Tom Crawford - Done well on loan at Fylde and was tipped for good things when he was at Chester

Jim O'Brien - Could do well with better players. Is good on the ball when he's on it

Mitch Rose - Strong in the tackle. Keep

Andy Kellett - Keep. A creative player when played in the CAM role and showed flashes of what he is capable of against Bury. Needs to improve his fitness

Sam Osborne - Been superb in the reserves. Time for him to be involved in the first team

Alex Howes, Remaye Campbell, Max Culverwell and Declan Dunn to stay on as well. Kion Etete will most likely go to Tottenham



Ross Fitzsimons - Not good enough. Can't handle crosses or command his area

Elliott Hewitt - Yates made him look class. In reality, he is woeful and has no clue what he is doing at all. Doesn't impact the game in any way. Can't tackle, can't pass, can't header. 

Matt Tootle - Sorry. He cares immensely but this season he's been poor. Frequent injuries and has been nowhere at the level he was in 17-18.

Richard Duffy - As @Super_Danny_Allsopp says, he isn't as bad as people think but it's time to go

Shaun Brisley - Can be a solid defender on his day but like Duffy it's time to go

Dan Jones - No idea why he thought being a left-back was a good idea. Should have always been a winger. He can't defend

Cedric Evina - Like Jones, can't defend

Elliott Ward - Never really cared. On loads of money. Slow. Old. Released

Rob Milsom - I could write a book on how bad he and Hewitt are. Passes back all the time. Another ineffectual player and is never brave enough with the ball

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain - He looked so out of depth at Oldham it was hard to believe

David Vaughan - Well, well, well. Old. Passed it. Can't run. Too slow. Retire mate

Noor Husin - Could be an ok player but hasn't showed it. Contract is up I believe. Got Patching and Crawford anyway

Enzio Boldewijn - Hasn't lived up to the hype or the price tag. Not up for a fight. Basically a 300k Stephen McLaughlin

Lewis Alessandra - Was only bothered when KN was here. Doesn't make runs. 3rd time in 4 years he's been relegated from L2. Says a lot

Michael Doyle - Could be of help with his leadership but he only really had 3 or 4 good games. Where was the fighting, angry, blood and thunder Michael Doyle we have seen before? Legs have gone

Jon Stead - Tries. Works hard. Battled for the club but too old now. Could tell he lost 5 yards of pace in pre season against Rolls-Royce. Should never have really been playing in the 18-19 season in the first place. Happy holidays Jon


Not sure

Kristian Dennis - Was out at first but has a good record at National League level. Leaning towards out

Kane Hemmings - Was thinking keep as his link up play is decent and scoring 13 in a poor team is pretty good but I don't think he'd stick around for tier 5 football


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If Enzio had a strong defender behind him, I would keep him - even as a luxury player.

Tootle I would keep, Hemmings and Dennis.

Crawford is good enough for the Non League for me, Patching should come good given regular starting time. O'Brien is a fighter, Rose is gone. The rest can go for all I care.

Stead just sulks these days, not interested and seems rude.

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First and foremost anyone who doesn't want to play for Notts should just go. Woul rather see a bunch of kids giving their all. After that, it depends entirely on the amount of investment the new owner/owners are willing to invest. 

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Matt Tootle will be here until next summer, so he will be around and I personally think he will improve on his performances. What some people don't realise is that he was being played whilst injured, this leads to injuries and poor form. However, I disagree that Tootle wasn't playing well towards the end of the campaign. He looked strong once he returned and he was let down by others who played weaker.

He always tried, much like Craig Mackail-Smith.

I think offloading the majority out of contract will be the best thing. Sign players who have a disciplined work-rate, not luxury ones.

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At first I thought about a complete gutting to the squad like most but having to rebuild an entire squad in the National League is just unrealistic. If NA thought it was hard to get his first-choice targets to come in January, whoever’s in charge has got a tough job ahead of them. I think if we start the season with something like only 5/6 contracted pros we’ll be in trouble and find it too difficult to fill the squad out with any quality so for that reason…

Assuming all the loanee’s are gone, I’d keep:

Fitz, purely because I don’t think we’ll be able to sign two keepers better than him.

In the defence: I’d be tempted to keep either Duffy or Brisley. Both would be okay in the league below. Bird is contracted which again means only 2 CB’s in rather than 3. I’d keep Tootle and again Milsom would be okay back-up for next season.

In Midfield: We're pretty much covered for CM. Did someone say Rose doesn’t want to/won’t play in the National League? I’d keep him if we can. I think Patching and Crawford both deserve a chance. Defo keep O’Brien. As for the attacking/wide players, Kellett is contracted and I’d like him to stay but I don’t think he will.

Forwards: There’s no chance we’ll get players better than Dennis and Hemmings, defo keep but I can’t imagine they’ll stay. I worry our forward line will be really weak next season…

Jones is no for me at left back, but I wonder whether he’d be an option for LM next season.
Hewitt under Nolan was fine, at the start of the season he was the only CM that could move and tackle. If we lose Rose I’d be tempted to keep him.
Doyle, experienced yes but didn’t have the impact on the field we’d hope.
And I don’t know enough about the youngsters like Dunn and Campbell so it would be unfair for me to judge.

So, for me definitely to go:

Duffy or Brisley, Ward, Evina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Vaughan, Husin, Alessandra, Stead
Players I think will go: Hemmings, Dennis, Enzio, Kellett, Etete.

That would leave us with 10/11 pros (not including youngsters) meaning we’d need another 11/12 signings. That’s still a whole new team. Good luck persuading quality players to join us now we’re non-league!

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The idea of starting completely afresh is tempting but it's also a massive risk and hardly ever leads to success. If we find ourselves with 5 or 6 players once contracts run out, we have to make at least 15 good signings. That can quickly lead to disaster!

Our last two promotion-winning squads were built on a foundation from previous seasons. In 1998 our squad was basically the squad that had been relegated with 30 points the season before with the addition of two full-backs and some leadership. We haven't got much to build on this season but I'm sure there's the odd player who can play a much bigger role next season. Tom Crawford, for instance, is proven at this level and has his best years ahead of him. There may be others who can blossom with a full pre-season and a unified squad.

And let's not fall into the trap of thinking we can drop our standards. If Fitz wasn't good enough last season (and he really wasn't), he won't be good enough next season either.

3 hours ago, menzinho said:

Good luck persuading quality players to join us now we’re non-league!

There are 24 teams in the same boat. Two of them will be promoted a year from now. I think the key is to find youngish players on the way up, maybe ones who have played a starring role at one of the smaller clubs in the division. It'll be a hell of a job to get a competitive squad together though - that's why the takeover needs to be sorted ASAP to the work can begin.

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Any that are out of contract have to go, there just isn't room to offer any new deals as I think we have 15 players still under contract for next season. Of those 15, I would expect Enzio, Hemmings, Dennis and Rose to definitely go. Kellett, Doyle, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Jones can all do one for me as well but doubt anyone will want them.

Fitz will stay as backup even though I don't want him and would expect us to keep the younger players (Bird, Crawford, Patching) as they won't be on huge wages. Tootle will probably stay as I can't see anyone coming in for him and we might just hang onto O'Brien. That leaves Etete, who is bound to go, if not now then during pre-season.

 A total mess and we are going into the complete unknown, so it is imperative that we find a manager who knows the league. Personally I see it getting worse before it gets better and I can't see us challenging to go back up for probably 3-4 years unless we get owners that employs someone high up that knows what they are doing.

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