Everyone is no doubt entitled to an opinion, no one can take opinions away that's fair enough. Do I agree with the Neal Ardley out crew? No. Do I see some of the points they make? Yes. Do I believe they expect too much? Yes.
Here's my thought process - Ardley arrived at the club last season which can be described as an absolute mess. We had a chairman who couldn’t keep quiet or leave social media alone, which resulted in us losing loan deals from our nearest neighbours Nottingham Forest that I believe would have kept us in the league. Notts County end up relegated to the National League for the first time in the club’s existence, not great but it's football, teams get relegated and promoted every season, and last season was our turn to swallow the rather large bitter pill.
We go into pre-season, players, managers, staff are not being paid. However, despite this they all stick around and continue to do their jobs regardless of pay. Alan Hardy then finally sells up the club, a mere 10 days before the season starts! The transfer embargo is then finally lifted, the club makes quick use of the transfer market and start to bring in players of quality, in different positions.
First few games were terrible, no shape, no chemistry we looked all over the place. Fast forward to now, yes, we have not won as many games as we would like as fans, but we have not been made to look terrible by any team in the league.
We have made defensive and attacking errors on the pitch. How many times last season could you say that we lost or drew a game that we should have won on the performance? Maybe 3 times? Possibly more. This season we can’t say that so much. And we are drawing games that we would have lost last during the last campaign. How can people not see this as a step in the right direction?
The club was never going to set the world alight this season straight away, it takes time and the right foundations have to be brought into the place which the Danish owners Alexander and Christoffer Reedtz seem to be done quietly.
It’s a simple fact that the club and the players need more time. We have a competitive side now, where players will have to fight for a place because of quality signings breathing down necks – rather than the usual quantity transfers the club has brought in during the previous regimes.
For me, 2 players know they are getting picked every game at the minute, Michael Doyle and Enzio Boldewijn. I think Ardley may bring in another centre back with the departure of Sheffield United youngster Sam Graham due to injury, but a part from that I think the squad is sorted with the arrival of Kyle Wootton upfront.
The National League is tough; anyone can beat anyone on their day. The league could be turned up-side down by February. Who would have said this campaign would have started so badly? I thought they would be up there, but this league is brutal.
There is still some mess behind the scenes being sorted out, and Ardley is a massive part of that. He stood by us when he had nothing and we nearly had no club, maybe we should stand by him a little more? It’s a simple fact, this season will not see a quick fix, it takes time. We must be happy to accept that a positive outcome this year is survival? Not scraping the results by, but doing so comfortably. Then next season with a proper budget and a full pre-season, Notts County can then push.
However, I'll say it now, there is a long way in this league with a lot more games to play. We could still push for the playoffs this season. It will be tough, but us fans will have a big part in this I feel. In the meantime, let's all just enjoy our club, enjoy the fact we are still in existence, unlike what has recently happened to Bury FC, and we still get to go to the best stadium in Non-League!
We are Notts County! All Notts aren't we?
This is my opinion. I'm entitled to it. Tear me down if you want to, but I stand by it!