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Last season was not a memorable one from a Notts County fan perspective. Relegation to the National League for the first time in our history, thus losing the title as the World's Oldest Football League Club.
Hopefully we can bounce back at the first time of asking. But while we are playing in the National League, there's something for fans to look forward to, especially if you are a fan who loves to groundhop.
Many fans have been ticking off grounds they have visited during our time in the Football League, but the prospect of seeing new grounds and visiting new places should be something to enjoy this season.
The shortest journey during the National League season will be a trip to Chesterfield where Notts will renew their East Midlands rivalry with the Spirites for the first time since they were relegated from League Two during the 2017/18 season. Solihull Moors will be another short journey for the Notts fans with them situated in the West Midlands.
There will be long journey's along the way for Notts fans during the upcoming season. A few trips to the coast and 4 trips down to London for the Magpies faithful.
Coastal trips include journeys to places such as Ebbsfleet, Eastleigh, Fylde, Barrow, Torquay and Hartlepool. 4 of these 6 places will be new to many.
Notts County fans will know Torquay, the last time these 2 clubs met was when Notts County won League Two during the 2009/10 season. Hartlepool will be another familiar foe for Notts having played them a couple seasons back.
It is unclear as it stands with what will happen with Gateshead. There is problems on going at the club but if we are to be playing them next season, it will be the one of the longest journeys for the fans to travel up north.
For fans that enjoy visiting new grounds and facing new teams, there will be a number of new grounds to tick off the list. Most grounds in the National League are not all seaters. Most grounds will have seating for less than half the capacity in which the grounds can hold.
A trip for those fans who enjoy British history and culture will enjoy taking the trip down south when Notts face Dover Athletic. A trip to the Dover coast and seeing the historic White Cliffs of Dover which is one of the most famous landmark in British culture.
A trip to Stockport County will be one that most will enjoy for the night life. Situated in the Greater Manchester county, it is only a 7 mile trip to the Manchester City Centre with most people suggesting is a great night life.
For those that enjoy long walks in and around the country side, Harrogate and Halifax could be ideal with both being close to the Yorkshire dales.
The most expensive trips will be to Barnet, Bromley, Dagenham and Redbridge and Sutton United. All 4 clubs situated in the capital, London.
Whatever the season may bring on the pitch, off the pitch could be an enjoyable experience for the fans with new grounds, different places and different teams come visiting.
Those fans who have the Groundhopper app or similar apps in which they tick there grounds off, it will be an experience for them.
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George
Notts fans will have to accept less attractive away days throughout the season (a friend of mine currently living in Birmingham has already suggested Solihull Moors).
The grounds and facilities will generally be incomparable to that of Meadow Lane’s and Notts fans could bring a home atmosphere to some grounds with a good away following as clubs such as Boreham Wood failed to even average a thousand fans in attendance last season.
The only other clubs which debatably have fanbases appropriate for league football are Stockport County, Chesterfield and Wrexham.
In addition to this, we can expect to see a notable drop in the quality of football being played with physicality being of more importance.
With the HMRC court case looming on the 5th of June and the South African Consortium still in the process of attempting to take over Notts County Football Club (at the time of writing) it is difficult to predict Notts’ near future. However, we can look at what can be done to help insure success.
It would seem pointless for us to look ahead to the future without acknowledging the causes of Notts’ demise. Looking at the squad which disappointed last season there are areas where improvement is evidently necessary.
The defence was where Notts seemed to struggle most of all throughout the duration of last season with fullbacks being a continuous problem in the squad. A lack of squad depth was evident with Matt Tootle being unavailable for many games and there being a lack of options to replace him, especially before the versatile Mitch Rose arrived in January who was able to cover the RB spot (although he is better utilised in midfield). Although Declan Dunn remains an option Notts are currently lacking any sort of experienced LB going into next season with Milsom, Jones and Evina all leaving.
As Sir Alex Ferguson believes though, it is important to have a strong centre in any team. This for Notts starts with the promising Pierce Bird who impressed with his performances towards the end of last season. It would seem appropriate to have an experienced CB alongside Bird to form an effective partnership. I remember that performances from CBs like Haydn Hollis in recent years gone by were always significantly better when Mike Edwards played alongside them. With the loss of Duffy, Notts should search for a veteran CB over the summer.
Losing Jim O’Brien is another big blow although the Scotsman did hint at possibly signing a new contract next season if Neal Ardley does remain as manager. His leadership and tenacity in the middle of the park was unrivalled following his arrival to Meadow Lane in January. It is vital to secure the signing of another hardened midfield ball winner if O’Brien does not return, especially considering the more physical style of football often played in the conference.
The departure of Jon Stead will also leave a hole in Notts County’s attack as Kane Hemmings was provided with numerous chances throughout last season by his experienced strike partner. I am confident Hemmings will continue to score in the conference next season given his impressive tally of fourteen goals by the end of the 2018/19 League campaign with Notts despite the club finishing 23rd in the league. His work-ethic is one of his less desirable qualities though and he would benefit from a fellow forward to take the brunt of the physical battles and create opportunities for him.
Overall, the squad needs an addition of physical and experienced players to adapt to life in the Conference.
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Simon Clark
It’s certainly a fact that a toxic atmosphere within a ground has a negative effect on performances, we only have to remember back to the brief tenure of Jamie Fullarton. At that time, it felt as if a reasonable number of fans were turning up wanting us to lose.
Now, I’m not suggesting that was the case this season. In fact, quite the opposite as I think our supporters – in the main – have been really supportive and patient, far more than the performances have deserved.
It’s an expensive hobby to follow a football team. Even if you only watch home games, it’s approaching £500 a year when you add in travel costs and maybe the occasional cuppa.
For those who go away, it must be getting on for £2,000 as a season or even more, and that’s not including any overnight stays.
We don’t do it for glory, this is Notts and anyone who does this for glory must have started watching at a very narrow point in our history.
However, most of us have pride in the club. Or at least have had pride in the club until the recent past.
Incidents such as that infamous photo accidentally published on Twitter, boardroom resignations and plenty more have made Notts fans an easy target for friends and colleagues who follow other teams.
Hopefully, we’re very close to new ownership now and we can look for closure on a period of the club’s history which will make a fascinating read should Charlie Slater, Jon Stead or anyone else with inside info over that period choose to write it in the future.
Regardless of what happens next season, it’ll be the lowest position the club has ever ended a season so what can the new owners do to help restore some pride and let fans hold their heads up high again?
Here are some ideas, in no particular order...

- Remember that you are only custodians of the club. At some point, you’ll move on. Every player who is currently at the club, will move on. I dare say some fans will also move on, but the vast majority will still be here long after you and everyone else has forgotten about us. Fans will pass the love onto their sons and daughters, they are the lifeblood of the club and they are the basis for a successful future. Treat them as that, and not as customers buying a product. We can’t decide we want our product from somewhere else, it won’t happen.
- Stay away from extravagant promises. We’ve had plenty of those. Not just Hardy, but Munto, etc. Be realistic, we’re happy with that.
- Be professional. Don’t turn it into a circus. Yes, some attention can be good, it can get some TV money, it can promote the club, but it can also turn very quickly and bite you.
- Don’t gamble big. The lower leagues are under a huge amount of pressure at the moment, just look at Macclesfield and Bury among others. The Premier League runs football, the EFL does an appalling job at looking after its members. They certainly won’t help us out if we get into trouble, so do all you can to keep us on an even keel.
- Put your ego away, it’s not about you. If we get the rewards we all hope for, you’ll get the plaudits without needing to go looking for them. It’s a bit like being a referee, you often don’t notice the really good ones.
- Appoint good people and let them get on with the jobs you’ve asked them to do.
- Certainly create that environment where it’s an expectation that the players put in the same effort on a Saturday afternoon as we fans do during the week at our jobs.
- Finally, be proud to own this fine club. Without a doubt, we’ve been through the mill in recent years. I think I read that we’ve been in a relegation battle for 13 of the last 16 years. But we have history. We have a great fanbase for a club at this level. It’s a great opportunity and we all hope to enjoy the ride.
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Phil Buxton
The season is over and it's been arguably the worst one in Notts County's history as they tumbled out of the Football League but the pain must subside ahead of the rebuilding job, something which us fans must be mentally prepared for.
Pride of Nottingham is taking submissions from fans with their take on the events that have taken place over the season and, most importantly, looking forward - here is a piece by Phil Buxton on how he feels the Magpies - and fellow fans - can do this, based on Mick Walker's philosophy from the 1990s.
With all the anxiety around Notts County and the rumblings going on at Meadow Lane, may I take you back for a very short tenure of a guy called Mick Walker.
He was the guy who developed and brought to the fore the likes of Dean Yates, Mark Draper and Brian Kilcline.
In 1993, I think it was, and I remember the football, he played, in my opinion, just like watching Juve as the saying goes.
His first instructions to the players after Neil Warnock had gone was, go out there lads, enjoy yourselves, but most of all express yourselves for who you are, and leave the field proud.
If words are really needed in our present plight, those words wouldn't do any damage at the moment, of that I am pretty sure.
Is there someone out there who can do this, is he already here?
Who knows, but if I was given the opportunity to see it all again, I'd certainly be glad to pay for the pleasure.
Now, admittedly, the results weren't the best, but the football was awesome.
We all have our individual take on football, good, bad, or indifferent, but first of all, you have to enjoy what you're doing, and not running around, with a cloud six inches above your head. Pretty sure we've seen enough of that this season.
A training pitch would help, half a dozen decent scouts would add to that, but more than anything, give youth a chance, make them feel important, make them feel wanted, make them feel they are part of a major plan going forward, and you will bear the fruit in the end.
After all, football hasn't changed my friends, it's attitudes that have. COYP!
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Matty Jackson
After the departure of 12 first team players, with 17 still under contract, we start to look at who should be given more time on our first ever ‘Vanarama tour’.
Players underused, and retained this season include: Kion Etete, Pierce Bird, Tom Crawford, Krisitan Dennis, Will Patching, Sam Osborne, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Remayne Campbell, Alex Howes and Andy Kellet. You could even include Ross Fitzsimons and Matt Tootle.
Firstly, Kion Etete’s future is a hot topic now. The striker is at an early point in his career (only 17 years old). He has only made six first team appearances, four in the league. To be heavily involved in a team fighting for (football league) safety is often not good for younger players as they need to be nurtured into first-team professional football. Therefore, I believe it was beneficial not to include him in the first team too much.
In terms of next season, he may be a useful player due to his height and lighting speed. On the other hand, the national league is considered even more physical than league two so his talents may not be suited to our next campaign.
Despite this Tottenham have had keen interest in the youngster and rumours have been going around about an impressive transfer fee- not too dissimilar to Dele Alli’s when he transferred from Milton Keynes.
Pierce Bird is another young player (20 years old) who has been around first-team antics since the start of the season. This towering defender was used more regularly when Duffy and Brisley made more frequent calamitous mistakes. Having made 7 appearances, to Brisley’s 24 (I know!), he quickly gained my trust as he seemed so calm at center-back, despite a pressurised situation. I can see him being used more in next seasons’ squad, possibly being a starting eleven player (if he keeps his cool head).
Midfielder Tom Crawford (19 years old) was bought from Chester just under a year ago and wasn’t included much in this season’s campaign, having only 6 apps (although scoring one goal). Hence, he was loaned out to non-league AFC Flyde in January. There he made 24 apps (only being on the bench once) and scored two goals. He heavily featured in Flyde’s second half of 2018/19 season and even played in the playoff league final at Wembley against Salford FC. I would like to see him in next season’s campaign but beside a more experienced midfielder. This is in fact if we keep a hold of him as AFC Flyde may want to buy him and our owners, whoever they may be, may sell-out.
Striker Kristian Dennis is a tricky one. Having scored 21 goals for Chesterfield FC in 2017-18 things looked bright when we bought him from them for £150,000 last summer. For reasons that would be interesting to delve into, although not now, he performed extremely poorly this season. He was loaned to Grimsby in January, where he was barely used there. Despite this, I feel we should use him next season, but this is mainly because of his six-figure price tag and as his contract runs out in 2021. If his confidence is grown this summer I could see him being used well in partnership with a target man (Did somebody say Shola?). However, I really doubt he’d fit in a Kane Hemmings partnership.
Midfielder Will Patching (20 years old) made 9 apps this season and is promising. However, I feel we have a lot of “he could be good if he was with a Jim O’Brien”. I do think this competition for midfielder spots is good for competitivity for team places but don’t want a repeat of this seasons squad size.
It seems to me that we have had many mediocre midfielders this season and they’ve been bought in a bit like if you tried to gaffer tape the Titanic. Midfielder Andy Kellet could have been well-used but due to the number of managers this season was set aside early on and only added to the massive wage bill.
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain (3 apps), Sam Osborne (3 apps), Remaye Campbell (2 apps) and Alex Howes (1 app) are again players who could be used but due to there lack of first team football, I am skeptical of their ability and physicality.
In conclusion, there is talent in the unused retained players however, we are lacking certain player types and abundant in others.
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liampie
Pride of Nottingham's Liampie has spoken to fellow Notts County fans Melvyn Watson, "Magpie Moomin" and Joe Maskrey about their thoughts on the season just gone.
Q1: Do you feel Neal Ardley should remain as Notts County manager?
MW: “Stability is required at NCFC so I believe we should keep NA as manager, he is a wheeler dealer in the transfer market and has good contacts, he is passionate about NCFC. Not being able to show authority with senior players that he did not sign, his substitutions showed a fear of not losing.”
MM: “I don't feel Neal has bought anything to the team - I would prefer big Kev to come back.”
JM:"Yes keep him in charge, as he took Wimbledon out of that division, so he has proved he can do it."
Q2: Relegation to the Vanarama National League means that Notts are no longer the “Oldest Professional Football League Club”, firstly how did relegation feel for you? And secondly are you saddened to see the club lose the title?
MW: “I was totally gutted the way we were relegated, certain players did not feel the pain as much as the fans, regarding losing out title, I think it will devalue the saleable asset of our club but when we get back in the league, it will be regained.”
MM: "I like all Notts fans were absolutely gutted to see us go down and although Forest are claiming our title its only on loan for one season.”
JM: "Gutted for us to be relegated, but knew it was coming. Yes, also gutted to see us lose the title."
Q3: Notts took over 2,000+ fans to the Swindon game, do you feel the support can continue within the Non League?
MW: “We will still get 3500 to 4500 fans at home and take the same usual fans to away games as we have superb fans.”
MM: “yes we will have big support in our non league campaign because when your black and white your black and white for life no matter what league we are in.”
Joe Maskrey "I feel the fans will still go to matches in good numbers, IF they still support us."
Q4: When the takeover finally completes, do you want Alan Hardy to remain as the clubs chairman?
MW: “I believe if Alan Hardy remains in any capacity at NCFC the supporters will desert our club, he needs to never enter Meadow Lane again after the sale.”
MM: "No to AH he is a spent force we need change through out the whole club top to bottom.”
JM: "NO WAY! Hardy should leave, and hand the baton to another chairman to take us in a fresh and another direction."
Q5: In summary, how would you describe this past League Two season and what can the club learn from it?
MW: “This season has been a nightmare for all NCFC fans, so much hope at the start of the season, the running of the club and the recruitment from the off was very poorly done, I do not believe the manager at the time did not have enough input on who was kept and who was recruited, as for having 3 managers in one season again was the downfall of our club, the chairman was playing with our club and had no idea how to run a professional football club. The new owners need a person with experience of running a club and have the authority to hire the manager and players he wants as well as restructuring the staff at the club and make a priority to get a recruitment person in ASAP, cut the playing staff down to a maximum of 25.”
MM: “what I have learned about the last season is that the only people who care about Notts County football club are the fans, owners/managers/players just don't have anywhere near the pride or passion that us fans have, they are there at the end of their careers to take a wage. How many times have you read comments like if they played with the same pride as the fans singing loud and proud week in week out we would be in the Championship.”
JM: "This season has been a disaster! The club can only learn from this. Changing management so early in a season was a big no no, so to learn from that is KEY. When the new owners take over, they should know where NOT to go wrong."
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PON_News
Jon Stead and David Vaughan are among 12 senior players to be released by Notts County after their relegation from the English Football League.
A group of 17 players, including top scorer Kane Hemmings, remain under contract for 2019-20 as the Magpies gear up for their first ever season in the non-league.
Five loanees, including forward Craig Mackail-Smith, have returned to their parent clubs.
Here is the full list:
Still under contract
Pierce Bird
Enzio Boldewijn
Remaye Campbell
Tom Crawford
Kristian Dennis
Michael Doyle
Declan Dunn
Kion Etete
Ross Fitzsimons
Kane Hemmings
Alex Howes
Andy Kellett
Sam Osborne
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain
Will Patching
Mitch Rose
Matt Tootle
Released
Lewis Alessandra
Shaun Brisley
Richard Duffy
Cedric Evina
Elliott Hewitt
Noor Husin
Dan Jones
Robert Milsom
Jim O’Brien
Jon Stead
David Vaughan
Elliott Ward
Expired loans
Ben Barclay
Virgil Gomis
Craig Mackail-Smith
Ryan Schofield
Sam Stubbs
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PON_News
Notts County have announced a number of amendments to the 2019-20 season ticket packages in wake of the club's relegation to the National League.
The previously-announced adult and senior renewal prices have been reduced by more than £30, starting from £276 and £184 respectively, while a 22-25 age category has also been introduced.
Current season ticket holders will have their seats reserved until Friday 31 May, after which time they will be released for general sale, as per the official club website.
In addition, to allow fans more time to make a decision, the renewal deadline has also been moved from Friday 10 May to Monday 1 July.
Adults and seniors who have already renewed will be able to claim a refund on the difference in price by visiting the Meadow Lane ticket office or calling 0115 955 7210.
For more information, check out the club website.
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PON_News
The inevitable has finally been confirmed. After nine months of mostly hell interspersed with slivers of hope, right into midway through the final match of the season, Notts County have been relegated from the Football League.
That it went into the final day meant that sliver of hope, that "what if" always stayed, but as the old adage goes, "it's the hope that kills you", so now it's done and there is a little more clarity going forward, the relevant process of fixing this catastrophe can begin.
Notts County's final game in League Two - for the time being, we hope - was a 3-1 loss at Swindon Town, and for a period, with the Magpies leading through Kane Hemmings' penalty and Macclesfield a goal down at Cambridge, that hope resurfaced again.
But then, the culmination of the previous 45 games, all the off-the-pitch issues, the old problems that have beset the Notts team all season, and the reality of the permutations of the Macclesfield fixture - they had something to play for, the visitors didn't - meant that hope soon evaporated.
Pride of Nottingham was at the County Ground for Notts v Swindon. Check out our Faces of PON to see if you're in our gallery.

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ARLukomski
The inevitable has finally been confirmed. After nine months of mostly hell interspersed with slivers of hope, right into midway through the final match of the season, Notts County have been relegated from the Football League.
That it went into the final day meant that sliver of hope, that "what if" always stayed, but as the old adage goes, "it's the hope that kills you", so now it's done and there is a little more clarity going forward, the relevant process of fixing this catastrophe can begin.
Notts County's final game in League Two - for the time being, we hope - was a 3-1 loss at Swindon Town, and for a period, with the Magpies leading through Kane Hemmings' penalty and Macclesfield a goal down at Cambridge, that hope resurfaced again.
But then, the culmination of the previous 45 games, all the off-the-pitch issues, the old problems that have beset the Notts team all season, and the reality of the permutations of the Macclesfield fixture - they had something to play for, the visitors didn't - meant that hope soon evaporated.
Pride of Nottingham vlogger ARLukomski was at the County Ground, and here is his take on the game:
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ARLukomski
Notts County have stumbled from season to season with no real plan and no real direction. The club has no identity.
There has never been any real stability. Notts have had 28 permanent managers since 1992.
With Alan Hardy soon to be selling the club, here’s a list of things that needs to change at Notts if we are to make our way back up the leagues.
Training ground and facilities
In modern day football, the principle of the training ground is getting more important. A training ground along with facilities such as 3G pitches, indoor and outdoor pitches, a gym, a spa and media centres, attracts players and makes the club a more attractive proposition for players and coaches. This can filter down from senior to youth.
Notts have previously trained on a park and at Basford United where the use of a 3G pitch as a first-choice training ground has left Notts’ squad with frequent injuries. The use of a 3G pitch as a first-choice training pitch can be risky and increases the level of injury of the playing squad due to the players being unfamiliar with the surface, as they usually play on grass.
When it comes to matchday, it can be difficult to replicate something put into practice on a 3G pitch, on a grass pitch due to the different surfaces.
A training ground can help with a squad’s fitness and this is a big importance if you want to play a passing style of play which requires a lot of running and movement.
It can also help in the development of players and modern facilities at Notts could help bring out the best in the players and will aid their skill and ability.
Youth team
It is becoming more and more easier for top clubs to sign young prospects from lower league teams. In August, Notts lost Dongda He to Wolves for a small fee due to EPPP. It was made easier for Wolves, due to the fact that He didn’t have a pro contract with Notts. It was because of this that Notts quickly signed up their youth team prospects to professional contracts. The issue with this was, that it made an already bloated squad even bigger and because the first team was so big, it became more expensive to run.
To avoid this happening, we’d have one of two options. To bring the academy status up to a good enough standard or to reduce the age groups in the academy to under 16 and over. The former would not be viable for Notts as it would mean spending excessively on upgrading the academy. Money that Notts don’t have in their current situation. That leaves the latter as the better option of the two.
Starting at under 16 level would be better as that is the age in which clubs have to make decisions regarding scholarships. This would also mean the if clubs further up the football pyramid came calling, they would have to pay a bigger fee for the player, benefitting Notts. If Notts kept their current age groups in the youth academy, they could lose players who have been developed for several years, for a small fee.
Having these select groups from U16 upwards would also mean that the club can pick more specific needs for the first time. For example, if they are without a ball playing centre-back or a technical midfielder.
Recruiting players for the academy can be made easier by taking players from clubs around Notts that are higher in the league system such as Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Leicester City, Aston Villa and Birmingham City. These players would have had the input from a good quality academy and bringing them to Notts would benefit the club hugely.
Brentford gave up their academy and instead developed a Brentford B team. They scout internationally and bring in young players from abroad as well as from the UK. They scout internationally due to the fact that, scouting the lower leagues of English football for players means that clubs higher in the football pyramid can lure players with their lofty budgets and state of the art facilities and training complexes.
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ARLukomski
Notts have stumbled from season to season with no real plan and no real direction. The club has no identity.
There has never been any real stability. Notts have had 28 permanent managers since 1992.
With Alan Hardy soon to be selling the club, here’s a list of things that needs to change at Notts if we are to make our way back up the leagues.
Managerial tactics
Not just do the decisions made on a managerial appointment have to be crucial, but when the manager gets the job, they must be tactically aware. Too many times, Notts have had managers who are tactically inept. They don’t adapt to the oppositions way of playing. Against teams who pass the ball, you press the opposition and win the ball back as quick as possible (e.g. Crewe). Against physical teams, you put more robust and tall players in to cope with the physical challenge (e.g. Newport).
They don’t install a style of play good enough to get us out of situations or get us to be successful on the pitch. Some managers put too much emphasis on one part of the pitch and that has cost them their job. Jamie Fullarton put too much emphasis on being strong at the back and didn’t focus more on getting Notts to score goals. Ricardo Moniz did the opposite.
Also, you cannot want to play a certain style of play and then end up going against it. You have to believe in what you want to do. This mixes in with recruitment. If you want to play direct, you cannot have two strikers up front who are 5’9. You have to prepare adequately for what style of play you want to play. How many times do you see Crewe play long ball? You don’t. If it’s not working either, change it up.
Too many times Notts have allowed teams to play with freedom and we don’t do enough to close the opposition down. We don’t press the opposing team and we are not brave enough with the ball. For too long we have relied on Jon Stead as an outlet. This is nothing against Jon, but he is 36 and we don’t use him correctly anyway. He has always liked the ball to his feet and constantly we use him as a target man and ask him to hold the ball up or produce a flick on for a faster player to get in behind. This rarely works and it has rarely worked this season (18/19). Plus, everytime we need to press the opposing team, we start Stead who is too slow and won’t close them down.
Notts have not had any sort of quality on the wings in recent years other than Jorge Grant (who was a loanee and is more of a CAM). Terry Hawkridge worked hard but didn’t have enough end product whilst Lewis Alessandra doesn’t impact the game at all and doesn’t make runs.

Players, Recruitment and Scouting
Player recruitment has been a big factor in Notts’ downfall over the last decade. We do don’t enough due diligence or analysation on players who we want to bring in. Especially in the summer of 2018 where we bought in the complete wrong type of player and we went away from what we were good at. In League Two, you need a bruiser in midfield who is not afraid to put a tackle in as well as pass. David Vaughan wasn’t that player. Other clubs bought in the likes of Neal Bishop and Harry Pell.
We wanted to play out from the back (even though we went away from something that was working) but didn’t bring in a ball playing centre-back. We didn’t strengthen the midfield or defence and we didn’t keep the leaders in the dressing room who were so important off the pitch in the 2017-18 season.
A big factor for the shambles that has happened this season and in previous years has been the lack of a recruitment structure or scouting network. You have got to be vigorous in your recruitment process and, you must scout the players that fit your system and style of play, thoroughly.
Scouts must be put in place to ensure you get the right type of players in and this must go further than just video analysis. You need scouts at games to watch the player and determine whether he is right for the team. Having scouts in place could mean scouting different parts of the country. Maybe have a couple in the south, a couple in the north, east and west etc. Have a few scouts go out and look at midfielders, another few at strikers, another few at defenders etc.
The different roles within a scouting system are pivotal and they all have to work well together. If one part of the chain is broken, it cannot work efficiently. The director of football must be organised and must be used to dealing with a big workload. The DOF has to oversee the whole scouting system and make sure it is working properly. They have to deal with certain representatives in football, including agents and lawyers.
Another role in a scouting network is a head of football operations. This is a very busy role, dealing with such things as: developing relationships with clubs (this can help bring players in on loan and can also go to the extent of getting Notts a feeder club), keeping an eye on players that have been loaned out or players that the club is looking to bring in on loan, highlighting players and  of the manager and director of football and preparation for pre-season and where the best places to train and the finding the most adequate clubs to play against in friendlies. The head of football operations oversees the management and logistics side of the club.
A first team scout has to deal with representatives from clubs to get the information and on player targets, who the manager wants to sign. The first team scout must have an eye for a player and identifying talent. This applies to both senior and youth level.
Examining the type of player needed is crucial. A target man striker, a ball playing centre back, a deep lying playmaker in midfield, a direct winger, a poacher or a sweeper keeper can be some of the key roles that need filling in the squad. A scouting system can go a long way to making a football club successful and if put in place, can help Notts develop, improve and progress as a club and avoid the transfer window disasters of the past.
Part 3 - Training Ground and Facilities, and Youth Team coming Wednesday
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ARLukomski
Notts have stumbled from season to season with no real plan and no real direction. The club has no identity.
There has never been any real stability. Notts have had 28 permanent managers since 1992.
With Alan Hardy soon to be selling the club, here’s a list of things that needs to change at Notts if we are to make our way back up the leagues.
Board level decisions
This step is a crucial part of football and is key to the club’s future and whether it progresses or not. Decisions made by the board can make or break a club and can alter which direction the club goes in. Decisions on managers, recruitment, structure, policy and youth are all important. The decisions made on these areas shape a football club.
Notts’ chairman has to be open and has to have a clear ambition for the club and what direction he wants to take the club in. The chairman must do his due diligence on managerial appointments and whether that is right for what state the club is in, whether we are midway through the season battling relegation or we are looking longer term and appoint a manager who will build a philosophy for seasons to come.
They need to have full assurance over what they want the club to be run like. Do we need a director of football to forge a relationship between the owner and manager and to take over the football related matters that might be out of the owner or chairman’s reach? Do we need fellow board members and directors to help with the decision making at the club? All these decisions on how the club is run is crucial. Alan Hardy made a mess of how he wanted the club run. He sacked Kevin Nolan and suddenly decided afterwards he wanted a director of football and appointed Paul Hart to help Harry Kewell, only for it to fall apart after 11 games.
Ray Trew also changed his ambition a dozen times. He never stuck with a manager long enough to implement a philosophy or ambition. When Notts went down the route of bringing in foreign players and bringing a passing style of play to Notts, it lasted only a few months.
Along with the running of the club, the next Notts chairman or owner must have full assurances over finances and must make critical decisions on where to spend that money.
The first priority for Notts would be a training ground and eventually getting a scouting network in place to help with recruitment. A big turning point in Notts’ fortunes was when Alan Hardy decided to spend the money gained on an FA Cup run, on the playing squad. Lincoln, on the other hand, spent their money on a training ground. Lincoln are now promoted to League One whilst Notts are staring non-league football in the face. That is key decision making for you.
Living within your means is another problem Notts have endured during previous owners’ stints. Ray Trew and Alan Hardy both spent in the chase of success, both failed to attain this, and both times, the club ended up with financial issues. The message being for the next owner of Notts: Spend your money wisely and carefully.

Decisions on managers
For a long time now Notts haven’t really picked anyone that is forward thinking. Some managers that have been appointed have either been impact managers or shouldn’t have been given the job in the first place. Martin Allen, Keith Curle, Shaun Derry and to an extent Kevin Nolan are impact managers. They make an impact when they first come in, but they won’t take you forward. Managers like Jamie Fullarton and Chris Kiwomya shouldn’t have been given the job in the first place. Fullarton was an unpopular choice and it ended up being the last straw for Ray Trew. Kiwomya was appointed when fans were crying out for someone with at least a bit of managerial experience. Trew went with the cheap option and within two and a half months, Kiwomya left.
The board must consider the job the last manager had as well. Neal Ardley’s Notts are currently struggling to score goals, a problem he carried over from his time at Wimbledon.
The decisions on managerial appointments come from board level and for most of the last 15 years we haven’t really made a good appointment. Other clubs have taken chances on young coaches who have showed promise and it has worked because they are forward thinking and the board see the good job or jobs they have done before. Take Lincoln for example. They appointed Danny Cowley after he had steered Braintree to 3rd and a play-off semi-final with a small budget. A masterstroke of a decision from the Lincoln board.
The decision making at board level is vital. Managerial appointments are only one of the things they have to get right. However, Notts have made too many bad decisions on managers over the past decade and a half and that has to stop. A manager with good tactical ability is key as well. We’ll get onto that soon. Others include Nathan Jones at Luton, Chris Wilder at Oxford, Northampton and now Sheffield United and Paul Hurst at Shrewsbury.
Decision making is a massive part of football and something that has let Notts down consistently. Decisions need to be made and they need to be carefully thought out rather than rushed.
Part 2 - Managerial tactics and Players, Recruitment and Scouting coming Tuesday
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PON_News
Notts County managed to claim all three points against Grimsby Town on Saturday as they ran out 2-1 winners at Meadow Lane to take their fight for League Two survival to the final day of the season.
The breakthrough for the Magpies came in the second half when a cross from Mitch Rose took a deflection before finding its way through to Craig Mackail-Smith, who touched it into the net at the far post.
Harry Clifton then went on to turn the ball into his own net to make the game safe for Neal Ardley's side, before Alex Whitmore scored a consolation six minutes into stoppage time.
With Macclesfield Town having won their game away at Port Vale, however, Notts are two points adrift of safety going into their 46th game.
They must win at Swindon Town and hope the Silkmen lose their next match to survive in the Football League.
Pride of Nottingham was at Meadow Lane for the occasion and was on hand to take photos of fans.
See if you've made it into this week's Faces of PON.

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PON_News
Notts County managed to claim all three points against Grimsby Town on Saturday as they ran out 2-1 winners at Meadow Lane to take their fight for League Two survival to the final day of the season.
The breakthrough for the Magpies came in the second half when a cross from Mitch Rose took a deflection before finding its way through to Craig Mackail-Smith, who touched it into the net at the far post.
Harry Clifton then went on to turn the ball into his own net to make the game safe for Neal Ardley's side, before Alex Whitmore scored a consolation six minutes into stoppage time.
With Macclesfield Town having won their game away at Port Vale, however, Notts are two points adrift of safety going into their 46th game and must win at Swindon Town and hope the Silkmen lose their next match to survive.
Here is what Pride of Nottingham vlogger ARLukomski made of the game:
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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest league football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.

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