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Notts County manager Neal Ardley concedes that the clubs quest for new signings is a progressing cycle as they hope to reinforce their advancement towards promotion this season. 
As the Magpies continue to eye up possible signings for the left-back and centre-back position after missing out on signing Premier League youth, Morgan Boyes from Liverpool.
A medical procedure on Damien McCrory's knee has left Notts short on cover and preferably Notts might want a player who can play left-back and at centre-back. 
However, Magpies manager Ardley says he is taking as much time as necessary with the following player he adds to the crew and is console in the information that the National League doesn't have an exchange window means Ardley doesn't feel the need to rush into transfer market.
Speaking to the Nottingham Post when asked if any signings was imminent: Ardley said: "No not at the moment. We're working hard to try and make sure whoever we bring in is  the right person.
"We don't want to go and jump  the gun and then realize that somebody we would have preferred would become available. We're working hard, and we're close to having options on that list. But it's not something we can just click our  finger and make happen."
The probability is that any fresh introduction will most likely arrive on loan opposed to a lasting arrangement. 
However, with just five loanees in a matchday squad, Notts as of now have four in Calvin Miller, Inih Effiong, Jimmy Knowles and Matty Wolfe. 
"We've got a loan space available, but we have only got one space to make the five up," continued Ardley.
"All things are on the table still but, certainly, if you  do a permanent deal you might end up with a player who will want longer than just the rest of this season.
"Then you're eating into what you might be looking at doing in the summer."
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Join Paul Mace, the host of "The Magpies Circle" podcast as he talks with former Notts midfielder Ricky Ravenhill.
Signing from Darlington in the summer of 2009, Ravenhill spent two and a half seasons at Meadow Lane, contributing to Notts' promotion from League Two in 2009-10, as champions. He also featured consistently throughout the 2010-11 season as well.
In this edition of the Magpies Circle, Ricky talks about his battles with Neal Bishop before they became teammates at Notts, as well as an in-depth chat about the 2009-10 season. This includes, being signed by Ian McParland, the rumours and eventual happenings of the Munto takeover and Sven Goran-Eriksson being appointed director of football. Ricky also speaks about when the money started to dry up during the season and the impact Steve Cotterill had on the team when he took over.
Sit back, relax, and hear the stories of the League Two title winning campaign from one of the most ever-present players from that season.
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This is an article basically to give a shout out to one of Notts County's most consistent performers who doesn’t get much praise on here.
When he first arrived here I wrote him off as being too small and lightweight for the physicality of the national league but how wrong could I be?
What he lacks in size he more than makes up in passion and fight. Dion never shies away from a battle and stands up to players much bigger than him. He flies into tackles winning the ball and making sure the opposition player knows he’s there. DKE always puts his body on the line for the cause.
He knocks the ball around nicely too as part of starting our moves out from the back, something we do well as team – each player plays their part in a lot of the goals we score as a team.
Last season he had a success rate of 58.06% in offensive duels. 65% successful dribbles. 75.80% pass success. So going forward he is a great carrier of the ball – which although he doesn’t get a great deal of assists he still plays a part in our transition from defence to attack.
Let’s talk about the main part of his role in the team defending – he does well at standing players up and stopping crossers coming in our box. I do find it bizarre that he ends up marking the biggest players for set pieces such as Chesterfield's Denton but most of the time he does somehow manage to get the better of them.
This season he has taken his opportunity with both hands, he has almost reached his minutes from last term in only 14 games into the campaign and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in with a shout for player of the season come the end of the campaign.
The fact he can play on either side of the pitch is another welcome bonus. He’s a player that embodies what Neal Ardley typically looks for, a player comfortable with the ball, a player that can play in more than one position/system, a player that will scrap for the cause. At 24 he has plenty of time to grow and hopefully reach higher levels in the football pyramid, hopefully with us.
What more do I want to see from DKE? Maybe chip in with a goal/assist or two. I’d to see him just have a go, take a shot every now and then, you never know what might happen.
Simon Clark
What a great bit of business by Notts County in extending Cal Roberts’ contract at Meadow Lane to the end of the 2022-23 season.
As a declaration of intent, it doesn’t get much better as he seems to be the talisman and when Roberts plays well, Notts are very difficult to hold.
I guess that could be said about several players throughout history but what helps Roberts stand apart is that more than not since he joined us, he has actually played well.
It’s fine to have some tricks and be a crowd pleaser without achieving anything at the end of it – we all know players like that and I may not be popular for including Stanley Aborah in that group, but have a think – how many goals did he score or create during his 2 seasons? – but Roberts actually hurts other teams.
Any player who has come through a Premier League setup and is still there at the age of 22 must have ability better than most, and we all know how difficult it is to break into a club which spends millions without thinking.
When he says that he should have been scoring a goal a game at Blyth could come across as being egotistical but when Roberts says it, you know it’s with a determination that he has to get back into league football and to as high a level as possible.
And with that attitude, for him to happily extend his current deal by two years is a real sign of where the club is heading.
There have been rumours of interest from clubs in the top two divisions and being out of contract in the summer must have been a temptation because for all the money in the game at that level, they don’t like splashing it out on Non League players.
But, if he can help us back into the Football League, it not only raises his profile but it also raises his price.
And with the other exciting players in the squad, it’s unlikely that opponents will be able to put 2 or 3 players on him as they did at times last season.
Imagine if we have a line up including Roberts, Boldewijn, Rodrigues and Sam – or more likely 3 of them in the same line up.
If you put 2 players on Roberts and 2 players on Enzio, there’s lots of space for everyone else!
That must be a good thing and promises great things once everyone settles, and we’ve shown that in spells this season during the games with Altrincham, Maidenhead and Wealdstone.
Roberts isn’t just a talent on the ball. He works hard without it and is definitely a team player.
It’s a frustration that so soon after signing the extension, he has suffered from an injury which sounds like it could rule him out for some time but let’s hope he’s back sooner rather than later and can add to our promotion push.
And if Notts make a better signing this year, I’d love to see it!
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Join Paul Mace, the host of "The Magpies Circle" podcast as he talks with Shaun Derry in a two part addition.
The Basford-born midfielder, has the unique distinction of being the only man to have grown up as a boy supporting Notts County. Then later playing for the club which he would eventually manage, join us as we take a trip down memory lane.
In hos first ever in-depth interview speaking about his career, Derry speaks of his highs and lows whilst at the club. From how he was a Junior Magpie, to featuring as a player in early 90-91. How his dream came true playing for the club only aged 18, playing at Wembley and even how Liverpool star Steve Finnan joined Notts as a youngster staying with his parents for six months.
In both episodes, you can unwind, learn all the facts of the grest escape from League One and, explore Shaun Derry's football career with The Magpies Circle.
Part 1: 51:44 in length.
Part 2: 56:04 in length.
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Notts County has announced the month loan signing of Harrogate Town winger Tom Walker.
The lively midfielder scored nine goals in 24 National League appearances while at Stockport County and AFC Fylde last season.
Salford born Walker, is a product of the Bolton Wanderers' academy and the 24-year-old arrives at Meadow Lane until the 3rd of January 2021.
Speaking to the club and, local media. Walker said: "As soon as I found out off the gaffer [Neal Ardley], you know I was really keen to come.
"It's a massive club, a great history and, at the minute I need regular game time.
I think Notts County will do well this year in the National League and, I think it's a great fit, hopefully I will do well, get some goals and, help the club push up the table."
Notts County latest signing should be expected to feature in the upcoming trip against Dagenham & Redbridge at The Chigwell Construction Stadium tomorrow.
Tom Walkers first full interview with the Magpies' can be viewed below.
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Notts County has confirmed that Cal Roberts is expected to remain at the club until the 2022/23 season after agreeing a new contract extension.
The 23-year-old has impressed for the magpies’ putting together impressive performances and, is excited about the future after putting pen-to-paper on his new deal.
Since arriving at Meadow Lane, the young winger has become a very popular within the Notts faithful and, manager Neal Ardley has been keen to extend Roberts existing deal.
Ardley said via the clubs’ official site; “This gives Cal the knowledge that he’s committed here and that he can focus on helping this club get into the leagues above, You have to protect the asset and at the same time make the player feel like he’s part of a longer-term project.
“Put the two together and that’s where we are. If he does attract interest from elsewhere, the club’s in a strong position.
Adding further, “talk to Cal all the time about how we can give him the tools to be able to do what he does at a high level. The one thing I remind him of is that Premier League and Championship players are super-fit, super-fast and super-athletic – you can’t rest on your laurels because you’re doing well at the lower levels.”
Roberts who has been out of action due to a calf strain has returned to training, took the time to thank the club for their faith into allowing him to do what he has on the pitch.
He said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank the club for repaying me for what I’ve done on the pitch. Like I said when I first came, if I work hard I’ll get the rewards – and I’ve been rewarded with a new contract, so I’m really happy about that.
“Coming here was a no-brainer and signing a new contract is a no-brainer again. The club’s going in the right direction and it’s a great place to be at the minute.
“The gaffer and the lads are brilliant and I enjoy training every day, now we just want to get back to our best after the COVID break.”
On social media, Roberts also took time to tweet “Delighted to be staying till 2023, hopefully see you fans back at Meadow Lane soon”.
The extension shows planning on behalf of the football club, highlighting the stars of Notts County will gain new deals for their positive performances on the pitch.
There's been many things unusual about 2020, both from a footballing and non-footballing perspective.
One of the many unusual things from a Notts County point of view is that for the first time in any Notts fan's lifetime, Notts have not participated in the FA Cup this year due to an outbreak of COVID cases causing Notts to withdraw from the competition.
As it is FA Cup 1st round weekend, an exciting weekend for any lower league football fan, I thought it would be a good time to look back on Notts's best and FA Cup moments.
The most recent successful FA Cup run for Notts took place in the 17-18 season, when Notts got as far as the 4th round before crashing out after an 8-1 defeat at Premier League Swansea in a game shown live on BBC.
That FA Cup run started almost 3 years ago exactly, with a Friday night under the lights at Meadow Lane against League One Bristol Rovers. Against higher league opposition, Notts came back from 2-0 down to comfortably win 4-2 and prove that we could compete against teams at a higher level.

However, the 2nd round would provide a very different challenge against National League South side Oxford City. This was not the easy win most Notts fans expected, as Oxford City came back from behind twice and looked like taking us to a replay.
However, in the dying seconds of the game Jorge Grant would score a winner which took Notts into the 3rd round for the first time in 6 years. On a personal level, I remember rewatching that game with my dad on BT later (who hadn’t been there) and at 2-2 he asked if I was going to the replay, not knowing what happened next!
There was a lot of anticipation about who Notts would get in the 3rd round, and the draw did not disappoint, sending Notts to Brentford’s Griffin Park one more time before they moved grounds. Notts fans packed out the away terrace that day, and it was a memorable away day as a Jon Stead screamer caused a cup upset and sent Notts into the 4th round.
However, despite bravely taking Swansea to a replay in the 4th round, that would prove to be the end of Notts’s FA Cup journey after losing 8-1 in the replay as previously discussed.
On the subject of Premier League clubs, the last time prior to 2018 that Notts would face a Premier League club in the FA Cup was way back in 2011. With Notts going well in the league under Paul Ince, Notts fans had the additional excitement of a trip to Sunderland in the FA Cup 3rd round.
It turned out to be a memorable away day for Notts, as goals from Lee Hughes and Craig Westcarr sent us into the next round.
The next round brought an even more exciting tie, as Notts welcomed Man City to Meadow Lane. Man City were not the force that they are today, but were improving and spending big money under Roberto Mancini.
With the ITV cameras in town, Notts held Man City to a memorable 1-1 draw, with a Neal Bishop header being cancelled out by a late Edin Dzeko equaliser. Thousands of Notts fans would flock to the Etihad for the replay, but much like Swansea 7 years later our cup run would end in a heavy defeat, losing 5-0 this time.
I hope this article has brought back fond memories of Notts cup runs of recent years. Hopefully the 21-22 season when things are back to normal will bring many more memories for Notts fans, with Notts back in the EFL!
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Notts County has confirmed which players have been offered new deals after the 2019/2020 retained list was published on the official website.
The club has announced that five players will be released, with manager Neal Ardley offering 7 new deals to others. Whilst Enzio Boldewijn, Damien McCrory, Jim O'Brien, Connell Rawlinson, Cal Roberts, Sam Slocombe, Wes Thomas, Ben Turner, Kyle Wootton and Tiernan Brooks remaining under contract.
Neal Ardley said via the OS: "This is always the toughest day in a manager’s calendar, but it’s especially difficult this year as we are saying goodbye to great lads who have given their absolute all to the cause
The relationship I have with these boys goes beyond that of a typical manager and player. They have all bought into mine and the club’s philosophy and helped take us to a play-off final and an FA Trophy semi, achievements we could only have dreamed of at this stage last year." He added.
Richard Brindley, Kristian Dennis, Michael Doyle, Dion Kelly-Evans, Alex Lacey, Joe McDonnell and Sam Osborne have all be offered new deals.
"Unfortunately football is a cruel sport and disappointing news is par for the course in any player’s career. All I can do is publicly thank each of them for their efforts and wish them all the very best for the future." Ardley added further.
Zoumana Bakayogo
Regan Booty
Tom Crawford
Mitch Rose
Scott Wilson
Whilst 3 of the 5 come as no surprise, Regan Booty, and Tom Crawford does due to their potential.
The Pride of Nottingham wishes all of the players departing Meadow Lane all the very best.
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On occasions, I have been asked why I support Notts County? It’s not enough to have it in your blood or to have shared the best part of your childhood attending games with your grandfather who lived and breathed the magpies.
I always reply, when it’s good – it’s incredible, and when it’s a rollercoaster, you’re closer because you’re a community at the end of the day.
Some fans might prefer to have it easy; however, I feel most wouldn’t.
Notts County isn’t chosen, it chooses you and, on days like today, it’s fantastic to see a proud fanbase come together.
The pain from relegation I believe it makes you stronger, it makes me more determined, and I feel the club’s history is one which deserves to be preserved. Each part of the Notts County community does its part, and when together it’s something special.
Life in Non-League has been much better than I imagined, I am incredibly proud of the squad, and I feel we are much stronger for all the turmoil.
Our new owners seem keen to learn from the past, they’ve back Neal Ardley and allowed him to assemble a squad which as fans we can be proud of.
Making the National League playoff final feels a huge step forward and, I won’t repeat Barnet fans mistake by bragging about being in the Football League. Still, I do feel confident about playing Harrogate.
Throughout the day, it’s been a joy to share and see how the supporters’ got behind today’s game – below I will share some of the build-up as we lead into the game as a community.
Mark Cotton - "Let’s see Who’s rocking there county shirts on play off semi final day."



@Mitch Whiley



Brian Barry - "Buzzing over here in Ireland."

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The play-offs are on. Finally, the National League gave the go ahead for them and the chance for one of six teams to win promotion to League Two for the 2020-21 season.
The season was eventually decided on a PPG basis which meant most clubs kept their original position in the final standings bar a few changes.
The biggest change of them all coming with Barnet moving from 11th to 7th and a play-off date with Yeovil. The stoppage of the league meant The Bees climbed above Stockport, Solihull, Woking, and Hartlepool due to points-per game.
The format for the play-off will be in its third year. The winner of 4th vs 7th will 3rd and the winner of 5th vs 6th will play 2nd. Winner of the semi-finals goes to Wembley.
Tranmere and Salford have prevailed over the past two seasons with them finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
So, with the dates and fixtures sorted, let’s go through the runners and riders and see where they stand.
Harrogate Town
Position: 2nd
Top scorer: Jack Muldoon (13)
This will be Harrogate’s second season in the National League play-offs and with most of the squad still at Wetherby Road from last season, they will know what’s needed to get over the line.
Unlike last season, they will not need to go through the play-off quarter-finals as they finished runners-up behind Barrow, meaning they will compete in the semi-finals and will have to win one game to get to the final instead of two.
Town will feel they could have caught Barrow having been only four points behind The Bluebirds before the season was cancelled with the two still having to play each other at Wetherby Road.
Harrogate will have home advantage for the play-off and the stats are in their favour, having picked up 40 points from 19 games at home. 61% of Town’s points came at home and they will be looking to use that to their advantage when they host either Boreham Wood or Halifax Town on July 25th. In fact, Harrogate have only lost one home game since the start of September.
Jack Muldoon was top scorer for Simon Weaver’s side with 13. He has usually been partnered with one of Jon Stead or Mark Beck. The ever-dangerous Brendon Kiernan hit 7 goals during the campaign and was ever present throughout the season on the wing. Midfield pairing Jack Emmett and club captain Josh Falkingham were also regulars during the season and will most likely keep their partnership for the play-offs.
They have also been able to retain loan trio Alex Bradley, Jack Diamond and Kian Harriott. Scott Brown returns from Warrington Town.
Connor Hall and Will Smith formed an effective central partnership, even if they did end up conceding more than Notts, Boreham Wood and Barnet. Smith himself, played more minutes in the league than any other Harrogate player.
Their expansive style has helped them no end this season and they have done brilliantly, but with a squad short on numbers, do they have the depth needed? They recently had to say no to a friendly against Celtic due to risk of injuries as they only manager Simon Weaver said the squad only had four defenders.
Harrogate’s record against the rest of the play-off teams
Notts: L
Yeovil: WW
Wood: DL
Halifax: WD
Barnet: W
Record is W4 D2 L2. 14 points from a possible 24.
Notts County
Position: 3rd
Top scorer: Kyle Wootton (13)
Notts’ first season in non-league in football has been built on steady progress and stability on and off the pitch. Financial troubles over the summer meant players and staff were paid late until, in late July, Christoffer and Alexander Reedtz bought the club. Within days, wages had been paid and the transfer embargo lifted. Notts only started signing players 3 days before the season began, meaning they were pretty much a month and a half behind everyone. After an expected slow start, due to the number of signings and time needed for the playing style to get going, Neal Ardley’s side picked up form in September and ascended into an assault on the National League play-offs.
A blip of form in November was turned around and from December onwards, Notts were statistically the best team in the league, picking up more points than any other team. They also kept the most clean sheets and conceded the least goals during that time too. Top scorer Kyle Wootton signed permanently in January and Notts also captured Blyth Spartans ace Cal Roberts who would go on to become a fan favourite very quickly.
Kristian Dennis and Wes Thomas also hit double figures whilst Enzio Boldewijn (who scored 7) and the experienced Michael Doyle were both key parts in Notts’ push for promotion. Doyle himself has already been through five play-off campaigns with other clubs (3 with Sheffield United and 1 each with Portsmouth and Coventry City). Another part of Notts’ good season was a solid defensive record. Alex Lacey and Connell Rawlinson formed a solid defensive partnership. In the 10 games they started together from December onwards, Notts only conceded 5 goals, with 7 clean sheets being kept during that time.
Before the main part of the season was cancelled, Notts were on the best run of form of any team in the last six games, and they will hope to pick up where they left off.
Notts’ record against the rest of the play-off teams
Harrogate: W
Yeovil: L
Wood: WD
Halifax: WW
Barnet: L
Record is W4 D1 L2. 13 points from a possible 21
Yeovil Town
Position: 4th
Top scorer: Rhys Murphy (17)
Yeovil, like Notts, had takeover issues to sort out, but they also got their problems sorted out behind the scenes and the feel good factor from that translated to on pitch performances with The Glovers hovering in the top three for a chunk of the season.
Sarll’s side started slowly but soon burst into life with seven wins in a row that took them into the top three and they were hot on the heels of Bromley and then Barrow but, when presented with a chance to take top spot, they didn’t take it. They were ever-present in the top 7 all season, but their inconsistency from the Christmas period onwards caught up to them and they finished in 4th. They won only 3 of their last 10 games, drawing and losing four.
Rhys Murphy was the standout player for Darren Sarll’s side, netting 17 goals whilst strike partner Courtney Duffus scored 13. Lee Collins and Luke Wilkinson were regulars in central defence as was the experienced Carl Dickinson at left-back. Charlie Lee led The Glovers in midfield and played more minutes in the league than any other Yeovil player (2,569 minutes played). Myles Hippolyte was a dangerous source of attacking intent from the wing, contributing five goals and being ever present during the campaign.
Sarll’s side play a pressing style and they attack in numbers which can leave them exposed at the back on occasions. Murphy is a devious goal poacher and can be hard to mark. Duffus also popped up with his share of goals, meaning the pair were responsible for almost half of Yeovil’s goals.
Yeovil’s record against the rest of the play-off teams
Harrogate: LL
Notts: W
Wood: DL
Halifax: WW
Barnet: L
Record is W3, D1, L4. 10 points from a possible 21
Boreham Wood
Position: 5th
Top scorer: Kabongo Tshimanga (18)
This is Boreham Wood’s second appearance in three seasons in the National League play-offs, having fallen at the final hurdle in their last appearance, losing 2-1 to Tranmere at Wembley in 2018. They will have to go through the quarter finals again, as they did in 2018.
Luke Garrard should be praised for the job done with a limited budget. Wood recruited smartly and steadily progressed throughout the season, being very well drilled and organised but being intelligent in possession as well.
Wood started slowly, winning only two of their first nine games and after 18 games they were 14th, although only 4 points off a play-off place. After this however, Luke Garrard’s side didn’t look back and lost only one of their last 19 games which included a 15-match unbeaten run between late October and late February.
Kabongo Tshimanga and Tyrone Marsh formed a superb partnership up front scoring 32 goals between them (18 for Tshimanga and 14 for Marsh). This accounted for 58 percent of Boreham Wood’s goals. Femi Ilesanmi, Tom Champion and Kane Smith were all regulars in defence and Ilesanmi was only second in minutes played behind Tshimanga. Sorba Thomas also shone showing his potential.
Boreham Wood’s record against the rest of the play-off teams
Harrogate: DW
Notts: LD
Yeovil: DW
Halifax: W
Barnet: DD
Record is W3 D5 L1. 14 points from a possible 27
Halifax Town
Position: 6th
Top scorer: Liam McAlinden (10)
Halifax were pre-season relegation favourites but with a small budget and small squad, they defied the odds and Pete Wild guided The Shaymen into the play-offs, which they were a constant part of throughout the campaign.
Throughout the first month of the season, they would trade the lead of the National League with Woking and Bromley and they would win 7 of their first 9 games. They would stay in the promotion race from then on but hit a bad patch of form between early October and late December where they would win only 1 game in 11, losing six and going winless at home in 6 games (five home games in the winless run and 1 game in September).
Pete Wild’s side turned this around in the new year with an unbeaten run of 7 games and moving them up to 3rd but 3 defeats in their last 4 meant they finished 6th before seasons end.
Liam McAlinden would be top scorer with 10 goals but would leave for Stockport in January. Devante Rodney would be another key asset for Town with his pace and agility and would score four goals in eight appearances in his loan spell in the second half of the season. However, Rodney recently joined Port Vale and will not be available for the play-offs. Cameron King was a creative spark in midfield during the season and scored 6 goals in 31 appearances. Nathan Clarke, Matty Brown, Josh Staunton and Niall Maher form the backbone of the team with Clarke and Brown in central defence and Staunton and Maher in central midfield.
In the 2019-20 season, Halifax’s away form was the worst out of the play-off contenders and that is something they will have to get right quickly as they will need to win two away games to reach Wembley. Pete Wild has done a good job to get The Shaymen into the play-offs. Can they do it despite being unfancied?
Halifax’s record against the rest of the play-off teams
Harrogate: LD
Notts: LL
Yeovil: LL
Wood: L
Barnet: WD
Record is W1 D2 L6. 5 points from a possible 27
Position: 11th (7th on PPG)
Top scorer: Simeon Akinola (15)
Barnet snuck into the National League play-offs on points-per-game. The Bees were originally 11th when the season was curtailed but had played 4 less games than 7th placed Stockport, and so jumped above The Hatters, Solihull, Hartlepool, and Woking.
Darren Currie’s side started relatively strongly, picking up 19 points from the opening 10 games. However, between September 21st and November 23rd, a run of 2 wins in 12 which included 7 losses left them in 16th place. They would turn this around through the Winter and New Year and The Bees would lose only 1 of their last 13 games, winning seven. They were left with several games in hand after string of postponements but their good end to the season kept them in play-off contention.
Simeon Akinola top scored with 15 and was a constant menace to 5th tier defences. Ephron Mason-Clark and Josh Walker showed their potential through the season, with the former scoring four and the latter scoring eight goals.
Ricardo Santos and Callum Reynolds were the regular starting pairing in central defence whilst Scott Loach played more minutes than other Bees player. Wesley Fonguck was a key player in Barnet’s season, making runs from midfield to support the attack and showing good agility and footwork to retain possession of the ball when Barnet were pressing.
Barnet’s record against the rest of the play-off teams
Harrogate: L
Notts: W
Yeovil: W
Wood: DD
Halifax: LD
Record is W2 D3 L2. 9 points from a possible 21
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Matty Jackson
(Nearly) 30 years of hurt
4 days, 6 weeks and 29 years ago was the last time Notts County were in the playoffs. Back then the Division 2 playoff promotion spot was won under Neil Warnock. That was the 1990/91 season, over nine years before I was born. Since then only one (arguably anti-climactic) playoff attempt- in the 2017/18 season- was made. It is probably an understatement to say: “The club's results in recent years have not lived up to the high expectations” (Reedtz brothers, 2019). Oddly it even feels turbulent times are behind us and that we are in somewhat calmer waters (ironic for the current global pandemic situation). With stable owners, an effective manager and a talented squad it may be time for us to end the (nearly) thirty years of hurt.
Starting eleven
Choosing of the starting XI is a job I am very glad is not on my shoulders. Upon checking the National League table, it can be seen we have some rather respectable statistics. ‘Goals against’ (GA) is the 2nd best in the league (to Solihull Moors- 37 goals) and ‘Goals for’ is the joint 2nd best in the league. Unfortunately, we are joint with fellow playoff contenders Yeovil and Harrogate, so this will be the best test of our defensive abilities.
Following the arrival of Kyle Wootton and Cal Roberts, the performances of Dennis, Enzio and Thomas have all been brought up a level. With Enzio’s magnificent sniper shots and Wootton’s noticeable physical presence surely, they are to start on the 25th at 5pm. I have always liked ‘a big man, little man’ style of forward play and would love to see Wootton paired with Dennis. With all this said I haven’t even discussed Roberts, who showed his ability with a goal in the Boston friendly.
When seeing the GA statistic (38 goals) as 2nd best I was quite shocked. Defensive quality has never been a strong attribute in my recent memory of Notts sides. Encouragingly, with solid presences of Turner, Rawlinson and Lacey I do believe they will do a service, backed up by the likes of Brindley and McCrory.
Obviously, we need our skipper Doyle in the centre of the field and with ball players O’Brien and Booty at hand, leaving a strong bench ready to jump on and refresh the legs.
As I write this article, I am listening the to Yeovil v Barnet playoff quarter final. The winner of which is to visit Meadow Lane and contest against us for a place in the National League playoff final. With COVID-19 disrupting the season the Points Per Game (PPG) method used to decide playoff and relegation spots this season have had much criticism (as George Faulconbridge highlighted to me when he explained about the relegation of Ebbsfleet on a difference of 0.094 PPG between them and Maidenhead United). Whilst some teams do properly kick-on with their season just after Christmas I feel this doesn’t reflect the talent of Barnet’s squad.
Optimistically, my prediction is we will win against Yeovil (despite some surprising scores in our most recent friendlies) and go to Wembley with Harrogate Town FC (who I am sure will win against Boreham Wood at 2:30pm 25th July). However, the playoffs always seem to throw all certainty out the window.
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Notts County fan flags have been pouring into the club ahead of the semi-final game against either Barnet or Yeovil.
With magpie’ fans wanting to make their presence felt, despite the absence due to the game being played behind closed doors and, the restrictions of COVID-19.
The club has announced that various flags will be on display around Meadow Lane, with the fans’ being placed inside the Derek Pavis Stand.
Teaming up with One Stop Promotions, fans can design a vast array of concepts within their own flag and, Lian Martin has told the Pride of Nottingham that over 80 have been purchased so far – with the 100 marks being expected to be broken during the weekend.
Fans have until 9am of Monday 20th July to purchase theirs ahead of the historic playoff semi-final, as Notts County push to make their Football League return via Wembley.
Pride of Nottingham is pleased to be joining many other magpies with our very own flag which has been produced by the club’s partner One Stop Promotions.
Pride of Nottingham would like to thank One Stop Promotions for kindly supplying these pictures showcasing our flags production, don't forget with each order Notts County Football Club will receive £10.
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Although there is no football going on right now, support for our beloved Notts County remains just as strong as ever, if not more so.
Show off your love and appreciation for the Magpies with Pride of Nottingham's brand new Notts-themed phone backgrounds, completely free to download.
You can choose between a variety of backgrounds featuring the likes of Cal Roberts, Tom Crawford, Craig Mackail-Smith, Kyle Wootton, Kristian Dennis, Mitch Rose, Wes Thomas, Jim O'Brien and Enzio Boldewijn.
Enjoy our 7 brand new exclusive mobile wallpapers.
Here's a collection of the newest releases - You Pies!

To download, head over to our wallpaper page.
The nineties were a mixed decade for Notts to say the least, starting with two trips to Wembley and a return to the top flight. However, the five years after relegation from the first division were marked by bewildering sackings, even more bewildering managerial appointments, a cost-cutting drive overseen by Colin Murphy and, finally, relegation to the fourth division in 1997 (at that time the third division, now known as League Two. I know).
This was our first relegation to the fourth division for almost three decades, since the early days of Jimmy Sirrel. To my 17-year-old self at least it was almost as unimaginable as our relegation of 2019. We hadn't played many of the teams in that division in many years and were perceived by other clubs' fans as fallen giants (we had been hosting Manchester United and Liverpool five years before, after all). We were Everybody Else's Cup FinalTM.
The team was managed by Sam Allardyce, who had been appointed in January 1997 a few months after his sacking at Blackpool. Allardyce had failed to keep us up – in fact, we had embarked on a club-record winless run of 20 games, most of which were on his watch. He wasn't blamed for relegation, however, with most fans acknowledging that he had inherited a demoralised and bloated squad.
Allardyce had already thinned out the squad the previous season, and the sole pre-season additions were Dennis Pearce and Mark Robson, who beefed up the left-hand side. Gary Strodder, in his third season at the club, formed the heart of a sound defence and was partnered by Graeme Hogg, Matt Redmile and Ian Richardson at various points. The previously hapless Ian Baraclough moved into midfield and was given a new lease of life. Phil Robinson was another regular, giving us plenty of strength and tenacity in the centre of the park. The team was captained by Ian Hendon, a very steady right-back and a sublime taker of penalties.
Following a nervy but important win over Rochdale on the opening day and a comfortable win at Hull, we encountered our first setback at home to John Beck's “industrial” Lincoln side. After harshly showing Devon White the red card, the referee failed to spot that ex-Notts striker Phil Stant's winner for Lincoln was approximately seven miles offside, sparking furious scenes. But that was to remain our last defeat until November, with Notts establishing themselves near the top of the table in what looked like a close fight for promotion.
During that time we recorded what was to be our last home victory over Mansfield until last season, with Gary Martindale scoring the only goal (which also had a strong whiff of offside about it). The match was rather more low-key than our more recent encounters with the Stags, however.
On 3 December we won 1-0 at Brighton (who were groundsharing at Gillingham at the time) in front of a now-unimaginable crowd of 1,279. It was to be the start of a record-breaking run. The following week we moved to the top of the table for a final time after a 5-2 win over a dreadful and relegation-bound Doncaster side.
This was also the time that Gary Jones came to life. The hard-working striker scored just five goals before Christmas, but finished the season on 27 goals and in the form of his life – form he would sadly never replicate at Notts or any of his subsequent clubs.
We travelled to Lincoln during January with a score to settle and a club-record ninth consecutive win in our sights. In excess of 2,000 Notts fans made the short journey, myself incuded, and accounted for nearly half the crowd. And we were to be rewarded with a bombastic first-half performance and a 3-0 half-time lead – we were cruising, the only question seemed to be how many we would score. Just a couple of minutes into the second half, keeper Darren Ward attempted to clear a back-pass up the pitch but succeeded only in kicking thin air, and moments later the ball was in our net. Suddenly Lincoln came alive and ran us ragged. Just thirteen minutes after Ward's miskick, they were level.
Seconds after the restart, Notts were back in the lead. And ten minutes later the Lincoln keeper attempted a clearance, but the tireless Jones charged it down. Instead of being allowed to tap the ball in the net, Sean Farrell sprinted ahead of him and claimed the goal for himself, much to Jones' annoyance. Not that the travelling fans cared. Notts were now well on their way.
A 2-0 win at Mansfield the following week (with hundreds of Notts fans locked out outside the ground) extended the winning run to ten, before it finally came to an end with a draw against Shrewsbury. But by now the chasing pack were melting away; it already seemed a matter of when we won promotion, not if. Shaun Derry left for Sheffield United after the Lincoln match, with Andy Hughes replacing him days later.
With every passing week it became apparent that we really were going to be champions by Easter. Promotion would have been possible with a win over Colchester on 21 March if other results went our way. We drew 0-0 and they didn't. So it was on 28 March 1998 that we became the first Football League team to win a championship in March, when we beat Leyton Orient 1-0 in front of a crowd of 8,383. Mark Robson scored the only goal and Sam Allardyce led the festivities on the pitch after the match, grabbing the microphone and “treating” us to a rendition of “We Are the Champions”.

The club organised a “gala day” on the final day against Rotherham United, who had play-off ambitions of their own, but it was probably the prospect of another round of celebrations that drew a season-best crowd of 12,430 to the Lane. The team duly obliged with a stylish 5-2 win after falling behind in the first half. Notts finished the season on 99 points – we were simply too good for the fourth division.
And so we returned to the third level at the first attempt. We had the wind in our sails and a proven, popular manager at the helm – hopes were high that we could enjoy a successful era with Allardyce at the helm as we had under Sirrel and Warnock before him. Although those hopes were to be dashed, the 1997-98 season still left us with lots of happy memories.
On the up:
Steve Finnan – Signed permanently during the previous season, Finnan disappointed and ended up warming the bench. He blossomed during 1997-98 though, making the right wing spot his own. Finnan was sold to Kevin Keegan's Fulham the following season and subsequently made over 100 appearances for Liverpool, featuring in their Champions League victory over AC Milan.
Doncaster Rovers – Doncaster were in dire straits in 1997-98, with a chairman who tried to set fire to their own ground and a team made up of his relatives and youth-teamers. They were relegated on a goal difference of -83. After a takeover the following summer, they returned to the League in 2003 and have never looked back.
Swansea, Cardiff, Hull and Brighton – These clubs all finished in the bottom five of the basement division in 1997-98, and all have played in the Premier League since. In the twenty-odd years since 1997-98, the bottom five teams from this season have fared rather better than the top seven...
Disappearing from view:
Devon White – The popular Nottingham-born striker, who played most of his football for QPR and Bristol Rovers, had returned for a second spell the previous season. He scored his final Notts goal in the farcical defeat at home to Lincoln City and was harshly sent off ten minutes later. He joined Shrewsbury just weeks later as Gary Jones and Sean Farrell consolidated their place in the team.
Z block – At this time the Kop still belonged to away fans, often giving them an acoustic advantage. The vocal Notts fans were in the side of the Sirrel stand closest to the Family Stand, meaning that the songs and chants could often only be heard across half the pitch.
Scarborough FC – The Seadogs made the play-offs this season, losing to Torquay in the semi-finals. However, the following season they were dramatically relegated to the Conference on the final day courtesy of a Jimmy Glass goal for Carlisle, and were never to return to the League.
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