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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Joe Jones: Notts County making a name for itself as an exciting and dynamic football club

Alan Hardy has recently described what he is doing - and continuing to do - at Notts County as a "revolution".

Given how the last 11 months or so have panned out, you wouldn't argue against it. This time last year, Notts were in the middle of a truly horrendous losing run which would go on to span 10 matches, and the atmosphere at Meadow Lane was understandably so toxic that Chernobyl would have felt like a spa weekend in comparison.

And indeed, Hardy has done the conventional things right - he's invested shrewdly in the club from top to bottom, appointing a dynamic young manager in Kevin Nolan, investing in the player facilities, enabling the fostering of great team spirit and winning the vast majority of the fanbase back after several years of animosity with open communication and numerous incentives.

But aside from that, Notts have also undergone a process of overhauling their image and getting the club in the headlines for the right reasons.

As a club in the fourth tier of English football, opportunities to get the club promoted in the press are generally few and far between, but over the last few months, the likes of Hardy, Nolan, Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi have featured on the likes of Sky Sports and in the Daily Mail, the Guardian and BBC Sport to name a few.

Things like the rotating monthly shirt sponsorship, which in hindsight is such a simple and effective premise that it's amazing nobody else has thought of it before. The interest in Nolan, Stead, Ameobi, Alan Smith and other Notts men as Premier League household names. The top-notch changing rooms. All these and more have made the nationals and helped reshape the Magpies as an exciting, dynamic, innovative and simply "cool" club.

In particular I would like to focus on the sponsorship deal with Jake Bugg. An absolute stroke of genius. We all know how football and music have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for a long time - Oasis and Manchester City, the Stone Roses and Man United. And now, Notts and Jake Bugg.

His name on our shirts gets him a lot of exposure (plus brownie points by virtue of having his name associated with the beautiful game) while at the same time giving the Notts brand brownie points for being associated with a young, talented and internationally famous musician.

All this might seem like tittle tattle but this PR "charm offensive" is crucial considering how our children, as it was in the past but with the advent of social media, more than ever, could find themselves turned away from their local clubs and towards the likes of Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and so on - and for Nottingham kids specifically, turning away from Notts and onto Nottingham Forest, which would be the ultimate humiliation for a Magpie parent or guardian.

This is why Hardy's "revolution" isn't just about the present - it's about ensuring that Notts is seen as the kind of club that local youngsters want to be associated with and, as a result, don't get swayed towards teams hundreds of miles away. Or worse yet, Forest!

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Great read JJ , making Notts  a cool club is a hard task , but essential to grow the fan base,  the young we get on board now will hopefully get the bug g , and stay , AH is doing a fantastic job in getting that ball rolling the club from top to bottom on and off the pitch is a shadow of what it was like less than a year ago , long may it continue, and a massive well done , we are the 'growing' black and white army , COYP 

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I'm impressed, I recall people telling me he didn't have the experience or the money to take us on. I think he's doing a fantastic job, and so will all the fans that doubted him.

It's just nice to have that care back at the club whilst the changes enforce the believe we are moving forward.

We actually are!

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Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest professional 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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