The recent League Two playoff games between Exeter City and Carlisle United, and Luton Town and Blackpool, have highlighted the narrow gap for error within this division.
Exciting as they may be to watch, the playoffs aren’t easy, nor are they straightforward as people may think.
Promotion at the end of the day can reap rewards for any club that is successful enough to clinch it - the evolution and step forward can ultimately turn around a club's fortunes too.
League Two teams on their day can beat anyone, just look how Hartlepool United managed to claim a victory over the champions on the final day, so success on the field involves hard work and a lot of perseverance.
Whilst some fans will argue that the standard of football is dire, it’s improved a lot over the years and is certainly difficult.
I feel any lower tier division usually is this way, as the National League is about the hardest of them all – yet League Two is no easy street.
Clubs have to earn their promotion and if Notts hadn’t lost all those games in a row, we may have been able to turn things around.
When we were in the drop zone, I never felt we would push out and be on the verge of mathematically pushing up the higher end of the division. This alone shows you how quickly things can change in League Two.
The league won’t be any easier next season, we will welcome the return of Lincoln City – who I feel will have a culture shock after how a portion of their fans have reacted in the past few days (well done for your promotion lads, but focus - you’re not champions of League Two yet). Yet they will give the majority of teams a good game on their day.
Forest Green Rovers are rather unknown but I expect them to invest and to be more successful than most of the smaller League Two teams – i.e the sides like Newport County, Morecambe and Cheltenham Town.
Other clubs falling down the pyramid will add further depth to the competition already found, with Port Vale being no push over. Swindon Town and Chesterfield are also sides that should be able to put aside the woes of relegation in order to focus on a new campaign.
I am aware from various comments that Chesterfield are in some financial difficulty, yet I fully expect them to be pushing for the top half of the table.
Coventry City may go on to replicate what we did in 1998 or lead the division like Doncaster Rovers did this campaign – I wouldn’t expect them to slip up at all.
There will be more than 10 teams who are all capable of pushing for the top positions, so League Two won’t exactly be there for the taking for any club – let alone us.
Whilst we may be able to watchfully cast an eye on the playoffs in terms of realistic expectations, all of this will depend on the type of signings we make and how Kevin Nolan can further gel his squad together.
I would love Notts to push for automatic promotion, yet I would say that stability usually takes a few seasons and at this early stage it’s looking like we will be just another decent League Two team.
A handful of exciting signings could easily change this, whilst a ‘real’ togetherness on the pitch and impact from us fans in the stands in terms of support may encourage a hard-working Notts County to exceed expectations.
I noticed a friend's comment recently on Facebook which got me thinking. Byron Webster, the Millwall defender, had been quoted as saying: “Going up this way is the best way to it” – referring to his side's League One playoff final win over Bradford City at Wembley.
There’s no denying that a trip to Wembley can't be an historic and grand occasion, yet if you aim to be one the division's best, you can’t rely on them.
Notts fans who recall our own playoff final forays just need to cast their memories back to Brighton & Hove Albion - we know that they’re joyous occasions but on the other hand we then have the 2-0 defeat to Bradford back in 1996.
Our track record in the playoffs stands at two wins (1989-90 and 1990-91) and two defeats (1987-88 and 1995-96), which pretty much sums up the 50/50 nature of the beast.
Therefore, I would personally hope that we could recruit in strength and build to gain promotion automatically.
However, if Notts were to find themselves in the playoffs, I know we would give it a good shot. We just shouldn't have to rely on them in order to return to League One.