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Chris
Pride of Nottingham returns with the 'Opposition View' prior to the game against Swindon Town, We've taken the time to ask a series of questions to medievalmikey. Notts have found a good string of form in away games, Saturday may prove to be a challenge. Swindon Town come into the game having previously beaten Yeovil 2-0 and narrowly losing to Brentford before that. As the season dwindles all games begin to be play there part, hopefully we can get something out of the game! Who knows if Judgey will score the winner again?

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

I am 67 years old, mainly retired and have followed Swindon Town for many years. I recall my grandad taking me to watch 3rd Division South matches when I was 7 or 8 but watched local Southern League football in 60s and early 70s. I began watching Swindon seriously around early 80s and have held a season ticket for around 30 years.

Can you tell us your opinion on the Di Canio saga and how did you feel about his departing from Swindon Town?

Paolo DiCanio was very strong on the family ethos and had the vision that the club was an extended, loyal family. Both his parents died last season on the eve of our Plymouth matches and this seemed to tighten that bond. Despite this he has a fiercely individual persona and I felt that his standards were so exacting that our club would be too small a stage: his early departure seemed inevitable. Such a pity it was so abrupt and unpleasant. Under Paolo there always seemed to be a problem. Kevin MacDonald is much more pragmatic.

The clubs debt sent a shock-wave around League One, I myself was surprised to hear such news. How is this going and are you any closer to a potential takeover?

The debt appears to be internal and came to light because Andrew Black, the majority shareholder, seemed to have had enough of running the club in the style of the manager. He decided to sell up in a hurry and sell Matt Ritchie which led to all the well publicised events. We do have new owners but are still subject to a Football League embargo. Things are generally uncomfortable just now.

Do you think Swindon Town can climb back into one of the top two positions?

We are currently 3rd after another excellent away result so a top two finish is still on but it is very tight. We cannot be relegated!

Please share a little about your clubs progress in the past 3 years, do you have a special memory from this period?

The last three years have been like a roller coaster ride: wooden spoon, championship and losing appearances at Wembley. I guess the special memory would have to be the appointment of Paolo DiCanio and his team because this led to the on field excitement over the last 2 seasons.

How long have you been following Swindon Town and do you travel to away games?

I have watched Swindon Town off and on for close to 60 years but have done so regularly for around 30. I do not tend to travel to away games: home matches involve a 65 mile round trip.

Matt Richie, an ex Notts County loanee departed for league one rivals Bournemouth. How much of a loss was this?

I do not think that Matt Ritchie's loss was of major significance so far as the playng side was concerned and Kevin MacDonald can't miss what he never had. The political effect of Matt's move was cataclysmic.

How important has James Collins been for you and at the age of 22, he must be gaining some attention from other clubs, how do you see Swindon Town handling any possible offers?

James Collins is something of an enigma in that he seems to promise more than he has achieved yet has scored a lot of goals including 4 as a second half substitute. He appeared to be afraid of making a mistake because Paolo would have no hesitation in subbing him in the first 20 minutes. Many of our players seem to have suffered from that phobia. I think we must accept the fact that we will become a selling club especially since Kevin MacDonald's appointment. he is already giving youth players a taste of first team involvement.

Which Notts County players would you consider to be a threat and which of your defenders is most likely going to be made aware of them?

I must admit to knowing little of Notts County's strengths. Our defence is well marshalled by Darren Ward and Wes Foderingham is our best goalkeeper for years. Our strength is teamwork: we have no star player.

Can you tell us which Swindon Town players are most likely to be lively?

Nathan Thompson has been a revelation this season and has seamlessly replaced Paul Caddis. Darren Ward is a great leader and Alan McCormack is hurting oppsition with his strong runs now he is back in midfield. Simon Ferry is our best ball player. Andy Williams has pace and control but finishing is not great. James Collins and Adam Rooney are beginning to score more regularly.

Please tell us about the facilities around County Ground and anything which our travelling fans may find useful?

There are a few fast food oulets close to County Ground and various pubs although I don't know which are away fan friendly. Our friends from Walsall meet up for a drink in the cricket club which adjoins the County Ground. There are Pay and Display car parks within easy walking distance.

Lastly could you tell Pride of Nottingham about your all time footballing hero?

My all time footballing hero is Brian Clough an immense footballing talent whose career was cut short by injury. He then became a very successful and charismatic manager. I was fortunate to see him play against Sweden at Wembley in 1959. I turned up and paid at the turnstile!

We would like to Thank medievalmikey for taking the time to answer our questions, also for taking the time register and join us. Any members reading this who haven't already please consider saying hello to his introduction.
Chris

PoN on One - #2

By Chris, in Media,

Pride of Nottingham returns with their 'PoN on One' feature. We take one community member and find a fan from any of the English leagues, asking both a series of 6 questions. The original trial went down very well, which saw Dan vs 2Piesonmyshirt. This time we've asked Daz who's main side is Nottingham Forest, we put him against our very own MuddyPatchPie. We hope you enjoy reading this feature, if you would like to take part please get in touch. Now let's find out who our winner of the PoN on One #2 is!! Best of luck to both contestants.

Q-Which team did Notts beat in the 1894 FA cup final and what was the score

Daz: Bolton 3-1 I think

Muddy: Notts beat Bolton in the 1894 FA Cup Final, I believe the score was 4 1.

A-Bolton Wanderers-4-1

Q-What were Notts nicknamed before becoming The Magpies.

Daz: Not sure on the nickname, County?

Muddy: Our original nickname was 'The Lambs'. I think we were named after a gang of Nottingham thugs!

A-The Lambs-Apparently named after a notorious gang of Nottingham thugs.

Q-Which team plays at Glanford Park.

Daz: I think Glanford Park is Scunthorpe

Muddy: Scunthorpe United play at Glanford Park. I've been there twice to watch Notts. On my last visit, Judgey broke a light fitting in the away stand during the pre match warm up and the stewards tried to cordon the area off with tape, which we then had to climb over every time we left our seats. Think we were more in danger from the tape than the light fitting dropping on our heads!!

A-Scunthorpe United.

Q-Name 2 teams who play or have played at a ground called The Racecourse Ground (not the same ground)

Daz: Wrexham for sure, I don't no who else plays at the racecorse ground

Muddy: Well Wrexham is the obvious one. I think i'm going to go for Derby County as I believe they played at the Cricket Ground known as the Racecourse Ground before they moved to the Baseball Ground.

A-Wrexham play at one now And Derby County played on one before moving to The Baseball Ground.

Q-Which player scored 6 goals in a FA cuptie but finished on the losing side.

Daz: Dennis law

Muddy: Denis Law scored 6 goals for Manchester City against Luton. The match was abandoned and they lost the replay.

A-Denis Law-Man City were beating Luton but the match was abandoned after 70 minutes.Luton won the replay 3-1.

Q-Which team is known as The Glovers.

Daz: Yeovil

Muddy: Yeovil Town are known as The Glovers, something to do with the town's links with glove making.

A-Yeovil Town.

Another well thought contest between two knowledgeable football fans, lets see who wins.

Daz: 2.5 Point

Muddy: 5 Points

(Daz very narrowly missed out on 1.5 points, MuddyPatchPie very impressive!!)

Pride of Nottingham would like to Thank both Daz (Forest Fan - Boooo!, He likes all locals teams in truth) and @MuddyPatchPie for taking the time to answer, feature and be part of this. Thank you very much!
Chris
Over the years I've followed football I have witnessed some very special events though I haven't seen Notts County in the highest English division or seen England win a major international trophy. I have witnessed things I hold dear to my heart, so growing up as a Notts County fan never really held me back. I was never bothered during Junior school about what people said about Notts County, I was always proud, more importantly, when you have someone who inspires you, well nothing can make it seem as bad for following your heart.

When I was in year 5, I switched school as the one I was attending wasn't very supportive. I recall being told stories about how rough the school was, little did I know it would become a place where I felt I could be me,to do the things I wanted and not listen to what people thought of me.

My first day went very quickly, it was a hot topic when people found out who I supported. I recall being asked why, although nobody really judged me – It was all friendly.

I recall the majority supporting either Nottingham Forest, Manchester United or Liverpool. My best school years was the year and a half I spent there, I made so many friends and got to know them pretty well. It was during break time or dinner, when it became fun. Playing football and being the only County fan who would voice it, I think that brought me a lot of respect and my attendance and learning all become a very positive thing.

One lad, a forest fan, used to put himself across a bit like Paul Gascoigne, a practical joker but also very weird. He was alright though, I used to enjoy listening to his antics and my class probably had the most natural mix of people.

The first time I was given the nod to play for the school, I honestly didn't see myself making the side. I was talented but I allowed my confidence to become an issue, 5-a-side was the first competition I entered and I excelled in the smaller space. Rival players started having to take me out, I recall the last game being subbed because two lads had sandwiched me into this thick plastic divider, pushing me straight into it.

I can't really say I ever played well on a normal pitch, I never really settled and it's much harder than people realize. By this point in my senior year, I was into playing football all the time and any chance I got I would do so. The ball was never too far from my feet, naturally I liked to be the player who shone when I did. I never really shined when I was around people equal or better, which is a shame.

Some interesting moments towards the final years, if there's enough interest I will touch upon these more. I only really intended to talk about my earlier days, then start mentioning my work. I got a little side tracked remembering a fond period of my life, one I often wished I could re-live.

Out of school, I didn't play much football. I went straight into working pretty much, I got a job very quickly thanks to my brother and it was going well.

During that time, I had met the Australian cricket team which included stars like Shane Warne. They actually got me into trouble and were very unprofessional, although later on one of them apologised to me. I didn't know who he was, I just pretended.

A couple of other famous people stayed at the hotel I worked, although it was on the decline to be honest and I started working mainly mornings and functions. I got quickly noticed for being a hard worker, which ended up getting more responsibilities. It was pretty cool, laid back and if it wasn't for the chef, well it would have been a totally different story.

From there, I moved onto helping to look after my mum who had become fairly ill. It wasn't really until Kate was expecting that I managed to find work again. It was very rewarding, yet was a stressful place to work.

I came across and met more famous people during my time there, it was pretty cool for that. Nottingham Forest's opposition would generally stay, especially if it was long distant. I recall Watford booking the upstairs function room for their meals and a couple of players spoke to me, again I didn't know who they were.

The highlights for me was when Notts County actually were taken over by Munto, although now it's not the best thing, it was exciting for me then.

Peter Trembling, Sven-Göran Eriksson and Sol Campbell etc. All people I met and spoke to, although I never really liked Peter, he was very flashy and a little snappy. Sven was amazing, he made a fuss of me for wearing an England shirt (I always did back then). He stopped, politely asked me if I supported England, I laughed a little, then realizing who it was I became tongue tied.

He then asked me 'Do you follow local football or support a premier league side?'. I responded nervously, local. He quickly smiled and rather passionately said 'I (long pause) like that very much', adding 'Are you a Notts Forest or Nottingham County fan'. I smiled, responded 'Notts County of course'.

I then showed him my wallet and keys, which both had the Notts County badge on. He gave me a brief, very slight hug and then put his hand out. I didn't expect him to be so friendly! He was a real gent. I had the pleasure of seeing him very frequently, he would always visit for a meal at the weekend and become a figure who would be in attendance in events upstairs.

However my surprise was going into work and the bar manager, then (a friend of mine) told me that 'you know who' was upstairs and he turned it into a game as to 'who' they were meeting, I didn't really know and guessed.

I had a very strict briefing from the general manager, a women I despise to the tallest order. I was then asked by the events manager to go into the function room located upstairs, to collect some things behind the bar, while the shutters were actually down (which was odd).

A faint voice (Peter Trembling) kept saying 'We can offer you a very good package, we want you to be a part of this' his voice quietened down. I then heard a laugh, then the same person asked a question which I didn't hear properly.

Peter responded to the question 'Your Sol Campbell, we don't need to say any-more. We need iconic signings and the people behind the takeover are fully prepared to bring other top players into the club'.

It was this point I really needed to stop being nosy, so I rushed to collect a few items I was asked to fetch. In the process I knocked into this plastic bottle bin and made a very loud noise.

This didn't go down well, although nothing came of it. We were under strict orders to keep the area private, however, since I was asked by a manager it was resolved without my head being on the line, for this time at least.

I have more stories like this, although I have gone on enough. Like I touched on before, if there's interest I will write more of these and I'll share some of my insights. I would prefer to write up about my previous job, as I found it the most rewarding without benefits such as meeting famous people.

Working in the care industry is like a breath of fresh air, if you're prepared to try and make a difference and actually care. The job is the most rewarding and I spent a lot of my free time doing things with the residents who I dearly miss. I took a few to Notts matches, one is related to some very loyal fans who I also think a lot of, as does Jake.

The amazing memories I have of the place, all for speaking to the residents as people and listening. I feel I became a vital part of the home and given a different chance, I would have welcomed to stay on, but things aren't so simple in life.
Chris

Introducing Hayley Rice

By Chris, in Media,

In 10 days time Notts County fan Hayley Rice will be taking centre stage live at Meadow Lane in support of raising funds for Cancer Research UK. Pride of Nottingham is always keen to help highlight charities and worthy causes such as this.As a small fan site right now we pride ourselves on the support we gain. It's only right that we support Hayley and her worthy charity, It's also one I'd like to strongly back myself since my Grandfather passed away from cancer, such a big loss for me and most people will have a similar experience with a loved one.

Hayley a singer/songwriter from Nottingham first approached our fan site on the 28th of February, telling our community about her upcoming event.

The event will see her début single 'In their eye's' released. The song is inspired by the legacy which is left behind when a loved one is lost. They still live on through their families, we still see them in their eyes.

On the night Hayley will be joined by a pianist and a raffle will also take place with some fantastic prizes which includes a signed Notts County football. The single will then be officially released to buy on cd and available to download on Itunes. To celebrate there's also a live band which will get everyone in a lively spirit.

The entry fee is a mere £5, the dress code is of course Black and White.

Good Friday 29th March doors open at 7pm, tickets are available in the club shop.

Pride of Nottingham would like to ask fans to get behind Hayley Rice, as this will be a fun and entertaining evening and all for a worthy cause. Why not have a nice enjoyable evening and see a live act, whilst supporting a charity?

We would also like to wish Hayley all the best for her career and future.

In the future who knows when Notts fans will see the return of Hayley Rice singing at Meadow Lane? Only time will tell what the singers future holds, although we hope to keep updated and in contact.with this rising star in the Nottingham music scene.
http://youtu.be/wyY1I1ynm8k
Chris

View of our upcoming games

By Chris, in News,

Pride of Nottingham reflects on the upcoming games that Notts County have to the remainder of the season. On paper the ties could prove to be a difficult task of collecting points, which includes a trip to the current top of the league, Doncaster Rovers and 2nd place Brentford. The only exception is Colchester United, although nobody can rule this one to be an easy game as football isn't so predictable and neither are they. Notts County will be required to step up if they want to finish around the position we did the following year, come on you pies!

Our first upcoming game at Swindon Town this coming Saturday on the 23rd, will see us play a team who could have very well been in the running for the first place, had they have beaten Brentford, Walsall which they draw 2-2 to the play-off chasing side and the shock loss to Bury. This could also include, like us, Preston North End where they ended up drawing 1-1 which is a shame we narrowly lost.

Friday the 29th Notts County face Brentford away, this will probably be one of the games to watch right now. Brentford are making steady progress in securing one of the top two positions and if the worst, for them happens, they will most likely fall into the Play-offs in which they have good chances of winning in my opinion. Brentford have won their past two games (which includes a 2-1 win over Swindon Town). Prior to this they had lost two games.

Notts County will then face Yeovil Town on Monday the 1st of April, this will be my chance to finally witness the growing star that is Paddy Madden! Yeovil have drawn their two previous games 2-2 and 0-0. They enjoyed a narrow win over Tranmere Rovers and lost to Colchester, proving they are no under dogs to be dismissed.

On the 6th of April Notts County play Bournemouth away, a game which newly joined Fergio79 will be hoping to attend. We hope that any of the travelling readers warmly welcomes the return of this Juventus and Notts fan. Bournemouth previously had a five game losing streak! Turning it around at Stevenage 1-0 and then following up with a win against Oldham, another 1-0 win.

Notts County will be at home against Colchester United on Saturday 13th of April, our 2nd from last home league tie and one I hope fans come flocking to attend. Colchester's form has been a little patchy, although it's improved in their last four games which has seen them beat Bury 2-1, draw, lose and draw to struggling Hartlepool United.

On Saturday the 20th of April, Notts will travel to Doncaster Rovers. This is another game which Pride of Nottingham members will be looking to attend, as we look to take a small group. Doncaster who sit 1st currently are the side I most want Notts to beat (I can hope). Portsmouth drew to them 1-1, a game their manager openly questioned the second half performance which they put in. They previously beat Bournemouth 2-1, lost to MK Dons and beat Hartlepool United 3-0.

Our very last game of the season will take place at Meadow Lane against Coventry, the game which falls on Saturday the 27th of April. Coventry fans will be hoping by this point that they are securely inside the play-offs and it will be down to us to make sure we end the season with a good performance and result. Coventry previously beat Hartlepool 1-0, they drew to Colchester and they beat Scunthrope United 2-1. Swindon Town were the last team to take all 3 points by beating them 2-1.

A couple of good performances in any of the above games, a few wins and our season may end a little more positively. If we build now, next season might hopefully be very different but all the weight will ultimately fall down onto the players.

For a season which started off so promisingly, the twist and turns haven't made life dull. We all hoped to make the play-offs, this sadly looks very unlikely but there's still a glimmer of hope.

Pride of Nottingham is looking forward to sharing a full season with Notts fans and we hope to grow together, through the good and disappointing times, as fans we can voice our thoughts constructively.

Come On You Pies!
Chris
My highlight prior to any home games is to buy a programme, I read these with my son and my grandfather used to collect them. Over the years we've seen so many different changes, for myself the thing I most look forward to his reading Mr Trews notes. There's many other interesting pieces within #themag but none more so than the 'Chairman's Notes'. It's a privilege for us at Pride of Nottingham to be able to carry the notes to the fans who may or not have read them, it makes interesting reading to recap or share to brand new readers.

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Meadow Lane for this npower League 1 game against Scunthorpe United.

Let’s not shirk the main issue of the week, Tuesday night’s performance simply wasn’t good enough. I have seen a lot of the comments in the wake of that defeat to Preston and whilst I do not agree with them all obviously, I can empathise with the supporters.

There is a general acceptance that our hopes of reaching the play-offs this season have all but been extinguished, but if there is anyone in the employment of this club who thinks that this is a reason to stop trying, to give anything less than 100% until the very last kick of the very last game, then they are very much mistaken.

Anyone who is happy to take a wage from this football club, taking money out of the pockets of our supporters, should be prepared to go above and beyond expectations in everything that they do in the name of Notts County, it is the very minimum that I expect from my staff in all of my businesses.

You can’t always perform to your best, for one reason or another, I accept that, but to not try, to not give your all, is quite simply unforgivable and I won’t stand for it, from anyone.

Our supporters and our commercial partners deserve better. Our history deserves better. Our very existence as a professional football club deserves better.

I have my own views on where the problems lie and I will look to put things right, but I would like to thank everyone who has turned out today for their continued support, it means a lot to me personally and to the club as a whole.

That only leaves for me to welcome the players, officials and supporters of Scunthorpe United to Meadow Lane this afternoon, I hope that you enjoy the hospitality on offer but face a challenge worthy of the World’s Oldest Football League Club.

Onwards and upwards
Ray Trew
Chairman
Joe Jones
Notts scraped a crucial, morale-boosting win against struggling Scunthorpe United at Meadow Lane today. Dean Leacock's first goal for the club, following good work from Jeff Hughes and Neal Bishop, saw Notts earn their second win in five. Reeling from their poor performance against Preston in midweek, the Magpies were boosted by the return of Leacock and Alan Judge. Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Manny Smith were dropped, while Yoann Arquin was preferred to Francois Zoko up front alongside Enoch Showunmi.

The game started with Scunthorpe on the attack, and within the first minute, Iron skipper Paul Reid's effort was blocked by Haydn Hollis and resulted in a corner, which came to nothing.

Two minutes later, Hughes found Judge, but the ensuing shot was skied well over, and not long after, another Notts break was halted for offside.

Notts kept pushing forward in these initial stages, and a cross by Arquin from the left wing flew towards the Iron goal, but was easily caught by keeper Eirik Johansen.

On nine minutes, Scunthorpe split the Notts defence open, courtesy of Mark Duffy's ball, but Akpo Sodje was denied by Bartosz Bialkowski.

Scunthorpe pushed forward in the ensuing period, but the Notts defence was in good shape and form, in particularly the reinstated Leacock whose powerful headers kept the ball away from causing too much trouble.

As a whole, the team seemed very composed in the opening twenty minutes, with a lot more cohesion than on Tuesday, but up front there were still issues.

On 21 minutes, a Scunthorpe backpass wasn't penalised, to the chagrin of the Notts crowd, and from the ensuing counter-attack the Iron nearly scored, but Hollis' good clearance ensured it came to nothing.

Two minutes late, a seemingly speculative long ball from Alan Sheehan found Hughes, who held the ball up against the Scunthorpe defenders and got a shot in, but stifled as he was, he got no real power on it and was dealt with easily by Johansen.

On the half hour mark, Showunmi held up the ball well and passed to Hughes, the Northern Irishman's through-ball just a tad too heavy for Arquin.

For the other side, the former Notts player Karl Hawley broke clean through, but was given offside on 32 minutes.

As the trumpet entertained the Kop supporters with a rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Notts were finally given a free-kick, which Judge took but came to nothing.

Notts kept soaking up the Scunthorpe pressure, as attacks kept coming their way, but the defence was up to the challenge.

On 38 minutes, a crunching Reid challenge saw a cacophony of boos ring throughout the stands and the Iron skipper booked.

As the half wound down to a close, Notts had some brilliant chances, as a Sheehan free kick was headed on by Johansen. Not long after, Arquin headed just wide, gasps and applause the reaction of the Meadow Lane faithful.

On 40 minutes, Arquin once again tried his luck, but his volley went high above the goal.

Hawley, for Scunthorpe, then had another chance but was once again well wide, while for Notts, Hughes curled his shot wide after a good ball by Andre Boucaud.

After the half-time break, Notts were first on the attack, but Arquin didn't connect well with Hughes' cross, his header flashing well wide.

For Scunthorpe, Michael Collins played Sodje through on 48 minutes, but his shot was skied.

Judge, reinstated to the team after his injury, raised the roof with his crunching tackle, but got booked for his troubles.

On 53, Arquin beat his marker, but his cross was incredibly wayward and was greeted by howls of disbelief by the Notts crowd, while a minute later, the same reaction greeted Showunmi as he tried (and failed) to batter through the Iron defence when he could have played a long ball to Bish.

Karl Hawley then missed several more chances for Scunthorpe, as a very risky and miscued interaction between Bart and defence led to the former Notts player firing wide from about five yards, while just two minutes later, the keeper rushed out of his goal too soon to thwart an Iron chance, but once again Hawley miscued his lob and there was no danger.

On 70 minutes, the ineffective Arquin was replaced by Zoko, and a Sheehan corner was headed over by Leacock. Better from Notts, and a sign of things to come.

Finally, Notts managed to breach the Scunthorpe defence and went a goal up, courtesy of Zoko's fiery run and hold-up play on the left wing, which was deflected for a corner. Judge's set piece was very deep, but it was nodded back towards goal, Bishop got a touch and it fell to Leacock, who blasted from six yards.

The last ten minutes saw two Academy players come on. Greg Tempest made his debut, coming on in the place of Andre Boucaud, and the wild-haired youngster made an immediate contribution, his cross on 84 being deflected for a corner.

Meanwhile, Showunmi, who played a very good game, was given a standing ovation as he came off for Tyrell Waite.

Scunthorpe desperately tried to push forward in a bid to try and get something from the game, but Notts remained disciplined and never looked like conceding in the final few minutes. In fact, the Magpies nearly grabbed a second, as a beautifully rudimental "route one" saw Waite connect on Bart's long goal kick, but Johansen was first to it.

The final whistle was greeted with relief and cheers, as Notts fans felt redeemed after the dire display on Tuesday.

Truth be told, the play-offs seem a tad out of reach at the moment, given that we're six points behind the top six, and the fifth and sixth-ranked teams, Swindon and Yeovil, and the teams immediately below us, MK Dons and Crawley, each have two games in hand, but you never know what might happen. Notts sit in 11th place with 57 points.
Chris
On Tuesday the 12th of March 2013, Notts County put in another less than desired performance as they lost 1-0 to Preston North End. The echo's of discontent from fans rained down from the kop stand, as cries for more passion were clearly being heard. Notts now have to prepare themselves for Scunthorpe United who sit in the 20th position, so many fans will again want to see the desire in our play and the players will have to show a level of passion themselves, pride and dedication, just a sign that we can do much better!

Scunthorpe come into the game having lost two out of three, although they managed to hold off Stevenage to a 1-0 win prior to the two defeats. They narrowly lost to Coventry City 2-1 on the 9th of March 2013, so they can certainly show character.

The return of Dean Leacock will no doubt see interesting changes to the back of the pack, although it would be a shame to cost young Haydn Hollis his place as he been pretty reliable. Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Alan Judge are doubtful to play a part in the game, so we can only speculate that a start is now on the cards for young Curtis Thompson.

Brian Laws has confirmed that there are no fresh injury concerns. He is also set to start his recent loan signing Anthony Forde, who joins them on loan from Wolves. Also, this may come as a surprise to some of our fans, Scunthorpe leading goal scorer Karl Hawley is likely to make his return for the away side at Meadow Lane on Saturday.

The form of both sides seems very much hit and miss If Notts County can keep their heads high and play free flowing, passing football and work on trying to get on the end of chances then we could very well walk away with the 3 points, I certainly hope the fans can help give them a boost and chant, as no doubt they will, but our support can be the light to the recent results, showing we are behind the club regardless of disappointment.

A couple of good showings, improved work rates and possible victories right now would go along way to reward the fans and bring players own morale up, it could also raise interest for next season.

Please help us share our work, we 'pride' ourselves on trying to represent the fans. Thank you for taking the time to read and support us! COYP!
SlockNCFC1991
Watching Nottingham Forest when you could be watching Notts County. Surely every Magpie’s worst nightmare? Well, that was my experience on the 2nd of March. The Reds were coming to Hillsborough and as I live and work in Sheffield, and as both my sisters’ other halves were coming up to experience the Sheffield pub and club scene and watch the Reds, I was asked if I wanted to go along. I liked the pub sounding element, but watching the Reds? A day watching Forest at considerable expense while Notts were playing at Meadow Lane the same day?

As things transpired, partly out of family favour and partly as it would be much easier and cheaper to stay with them if I just went to the match, I went to the Hillsborough away end, and paid £28 for the pleasure. Fortunately Notts had already triumphed at home beforehand, beating Carlisle with an Alan Judge winner, (something I both enjoyed on the pub via Sky Sports News and later learned was a pretty un-entertaining match) so with this in mind I felt I could tolerate the upcoming events much better. The pre pub drinking and food was certainly pleasant and very reasonably priced owing to Sheffield’s impressive range of drinking establishments. However, we cabbed it to Hillsborough and suddenly my worst football nightmares were being realised; I was in an away end full of Forest fans who were singing the songs of the club I enjoy watching lose the most.

The game was actually pretty entertaining. Wednesday reminded me of when Notts turned up a few years ago and won 1-0, a game I also attended – aimless, desperate and essentially playing hoofball. I rather enjoyed making Luke, one of the lads in our group, feel nervous by referring to forest as ‘Forest’ and ‘them’, as I naturally had no desire to refer to Forest as ‘us’. I suspect he was worried too that I’d do what some of my Notts fan mates wanted me to do as well and take off my hoodie to reveal myself to be showing off my proud black and white stripes, but I was either too sensible or too cowardly to oblige. Forest, meanwhile, as much as I would never want to admit it, were brilliant. On the pitch their players passed neatly, Majewski was pure class (for which he was rewarded by a song from the Forest fans seemingly suggesting that the Wednesday fans employ him to ensure their cars remained clean) and ought to have been more than 1 up before withstanding a late Wednesday rally. Billy Davies certainly seems to fit Forest and get them playing brilliantly; at least, except where play offs are concerned (a trait I hope continues). The banter between the fans was fun too – I must admit I joined in the anti-Wednesday and anti-Yorkshire chants, while remaining silent during the Forest songs. The Forest fans singing about “keeping the Red Flag flying high” made me imagine I was actually in a crowd full of communist protesters, which was entertaining for a short time but then I remembered that it’s Forest fans and that they were unlikely to be able to understand such political systems. (I know, cheap dig.)

As an experience though I must confess that I have never felt quite so much an individual in a crowd as I did during this game. I stood (along with all the Forest fans who never seemed to sit down) and smiled ruefully as the admittedly quite impressive noise from the massed Reds was expounded around me. I felt like a spy in a Cold War enemy nation. The one more entertaining aspect was the Forest fan in the row in front who had snuck in a bottle of vodka and was getting progressively more drunk whilst (at least I think it was him) periodically releasing noxious gas that had everyone around us wincing. Other than that it was pretty much just watching the team I always want to see losing beat a team I don’t really like either. The pre and post match experience, however, was much more fun. On this basis I would certainly recommend nights out in Sheffield, both to pubs and clubs. Hopefully Super Notts can do their bit and get promoted and have games at Hillsborough themselves, as well as, of course, games with the other team involved in this match.

To conclude then; unless like me you have a good reason to be there, I would advise wholly embracing the presumably overwhelming feeling that seeing Forest play in a match that does not feature our black and white heroes is something to simply not be done. As A Notts fan I found that however entertaining the match and however good the atmosphere, you are still going to be stood there feeling like Dr Who in a Cyberman parade. And as that image happens to portray me as a lone hero who can think for himself in a large crowd of mindless automatons I am going to use it to bring to a close this piece of writing on what I would consider a snappy ending!
Chris

The Importance of Youth

By Chris, in Media,

The success to any football club isn't an exact science, although having the right balance of skill and desire is usually a good thing for any lower league team. The importance of the youth academy is one of the most desired areas, commonly over-looked and under appreciated. Many successful football clubs make use of this system, keeping the star youngsters and letting go the youth players who sadly do not make the cut. This is no more different at Notts County, where we have seen many good prospects emerge to almost starting 11.

Under the dynamic and inspiring Michael Johnson, he first took the task of managing the reformation of the Notts County youth academy back in 2008.

With his watchful eye, care, and passion for the game many prospects appeared to be coming through the ranks, which is a great achievement in such a short space of time and the volume would give any Notts County manager the task of deciding who deserves a professional contract.

Liam Mitchell, Curtis Thompson, Fabian Speiss, Jake Wholey, Greg Tempest and Hayden Hollis are prime examples of the success of having a youth academy, with many more coming through the system.

Hayden Hollis is a player who is currently the hot topic of discussion for Notts fans, his return to competitive football has seen some great performances from the young man. At the age of 20, he is showing great signs and rightly deserves his chance to cement a starting position.

What's it like coming through the ranks in the academy at Notts County and how does it vary from being a professional?

"Coming through the ranks at notts is a massive achievement as many young lads have failed. Its a massive honour for me to represent notts as a local lad."

After completing a two-year scholarship with us, he signed a one-year professional contract. It wasn't long before he would experience life as a footballer, as he was loaned to Barrow in order to gain experience, where he scored on his début.

You scored on your début at Barrow, how did this feel?

"Scoring for Barrow on my début is also another achievment of mine that I am very proud of. I have massive respect for the club and the manager as they were the ones to take a chance on me and give me my first games in profesional football."

He later returned to Notts County after making 3 appearances, where he then made his league début on the 2nd of January 2012, playing a full 90 minutes against Huddersfield Town. This meant young Hayden Hollis would become the first player to progress from the club's Centre of Excellence to a first-team start since its re-opening in 2008. In the same year as his league début he was loaned out again to Darlington, where he would make a further 9 appearances.

What were your loan spells like and how did it feel to go straight into playing competitive football?

"It was the best feeling ever. Thats all I wanted to do is play football. I enjoyed both loan spells at Barrow and Darlington. The experience I got from both loan spells was vital."

With the absence of Dean Leacock due to suspension, Hollis has continued to make appearances at the club and for myself he has been very impressive. His reading and understanding of the game seems to show that he is exactly what we need at the back, having him able to pair with Manny or Deano is only going to enhance his experience and such a promising sign that the youth system is vital to our own development as a squad.

It's a great pleasure for Pride of Nottingham to be able to speak to someone inspiring, we wish Haydn Hollis the best for the reminder of the season and beyond. Many thanks to him for agreeing to take time out to answer our questions! Thanks Haydn!!

Could you tell us what club you support?

"I always keep my eye out for local teams such as Mansfield and Notts but my main team is Portsmouth. I have followed them for years before playing. I traveled to Europe in 2008 when we got into the uefa cup. I never missed a game."

What was it like working along side Michael Johnson who also started his career at Notts County whilst a young lad?

"There's so much I could say about Michael Johnson. the amount of respect I have for him is out of this world. he made me the player I am today. he is still available now if I needed a chat or any advice. I couldn’t have learned the game off anybody else better in my opinion. he was different class to work with day in day out."

Your recent performances have seen you claim Man of the Match on an impressive return to starting football, How important is this to you as a young player?

"As a young player getting games is vital. Getting man of the match for me was a proud achievement. I still think there is more to come from me so hopefully I will pick up a few more man of the match awards for this football club. When you get the man of the match award as a young player it fills you with so much confidence."
Joe Jones
Arguably Notts County's worst game this season, the Magpies lost this crucial game against Preston 1-0, the Lilywhites bad-tempered and the home team just bad, in a performance which disheartened, frustrated and enraged fans. Chris Kiwomya began the game in a 4-5-1 formation. The team was again somewhat depleted, given the absence of Dean Leacock and Alan Judge. Notts threatened first, as Francois Zoko won the team a corner in the second minute, which however didn't come to much. A decent signal of intent, however.

Just two minutes later, Chris Beavon was denied by Manny Smith as Preston won their first corner of the game, and six minutes later, Beavon broke through and took a shot which deflected out for another corner.

The action in the first quarter of an hour, save for the corners, was largely scrappy and dour, until the fourteenth minute when Joe Garner fed through the lively Beavon, whose powerful shot was again blocked by Smith.

Four minutes later, Notts were once again under the cosh, as a headed clearance by Haydn Hollis was met on the volley by Lee Holmes, which flew just wide of the post.

Jamal Campbell-Ryce was then subbed off as an early injury called time to his game, the winger being replaced by youngster Curtis Thompson.

Notts' display was uninspiring and two-dimensional, and the fans in the Kop were genuinely heartened when Notts won a free kick midway through the first half, but before anything could happen after Sheehan's delivery, the whistle blew and the free kick was then given the other way. Cue groans from the Magpies faithful.

To make matters worse, Preston then took the lead through an own goal from the young Hollis. William Hayhurst was given room, too much room, to cross the ball into the Notts six yard box, and the young defender saw the ball ricochet off his thigh into the net. A farcical own goal befitting a farcical display.

More sloppy play from Notts very nearly saw the Lilywhites make it two, as Nicky Wroe's free kick met Holmes, who got two chances to cross, but first Gary Liddle cleared, then for the latter attempt, Bailey Wright couldn't get his header on target.

As the half drew to a close, Holmes and Beavon continued to harass and torment the Notts defence, and the home team, amazingly, nearly found themselves drawing level as sub Thompson was played through by Jeff Hughes, but Declan Rudd saved.

Hughes followed the save up with a volley which bounced off the crossbar, before Zoko brought the whole affair to an anticlimactic end by firing the effort high into the Kop.

There was still time for Preston to nearly score one final time before the half-time whistle, as Beavon latched onto a clearance and, were it not for imperfect control and Bartosz Bialkowski's skill, would have made it 2-0. As it is, Notts were extremely fortunate to go in only a goal down.

The second half began with intent, the young Thompson proving a handful on the wing with some dangerous crosses. Bishop and Showunmi caused havoc courtesy of his assists and very nearly pulled a goal back.

More tedium followed before a classic route one hoof out of the Preston defence saw Beavon beat Smith before smashing the ball towards goal. Bialkowski proved once again the difference between a bad scoreline and a terrible one.

Chris Kiwomya shifted his formation to 4-4-2 as Arquin replaced the lukewarm Zoko. The Frenchman got an early contribution in as he tested Rudd with a powerful volley.

The rest of the game proved testing viewing for the Notts fans to say the least, as the home side couldn't penetrate the Preston defence and ended up playing what some have dubbed the "crab", that is playing the ball side to side.

There was one final chance for Preston to rub salt into the Notts wound as Bialkowski joined the melee that was an injury time corner. Wroe claimed back the ball and attempted a long-range chip, but missed.

The whistle blew to the sounds of boos and the atmosphere of displeasure and bemusement. This abject display of football, combined with the scoreline, means that the play-offs are all but gone. The season can't end soon enough now for the Magpies, given we have eight games left and nine points to make up.

The sole positives to be taken from the game, aside from Bialkowski once again proving to be far too good for this division, is Curtis Thompson's promising, committed debut.
Chris
Firstly, Pride of Nottingham would like to extend our own thoughts regarding the loss of Notts Fan Joy Sharpe, our thoughts are with her family. It's such a sad sorrow to learn about this, I personally will always remember Joy as a fun, smiling individual. The match report will follow a little later, in the meantime you can read Mr Trews notes below from yesterday edition of #themag. Thank you for taking the time to visit our site, please do re-visit us and take a moment to reflect on Joy. R.I.P a true Notts Fan who inspired!

Good evening everyone and welcome to Meadow Lane for this npower League 1 game against Preston North End, our last scheduled evening game of the season.

With just eight games left after tonight, it’s make or break time in terms of who will be involved in the end of season play-offs. We’ve got our work cut out to make it into the top six, but it’s still possible so has to remain our target.

We have, of course, already started putting some plans in place ahead of next season, but we have to focus on the current campaign, so some decisions will have to wait for now.

One thing remains in no doubt though, and that is my commitment to moving this club forwards, both on and off the pitch. I like to think that the club has come a long way in the past three years, but there is still a lot of hard work to be done and I am relishing the challenges that lie ahead.

There is a real challenge facing our side this evening in the shape of a resurgent Preston North End team. I would like to welcome the players, officials and supporters of our guests to Meadow Lane this evening.

I must end my notes this evening on a sad note, following the tragic passing last week of a lifelong supporter and one of the most ardent commercial sponsors that the club has been lucky enough to have over the years, Joy Sharpe.

Although I only had the pleasure of knowing Joy for a short time, the impact that she has had on Notts County will never be forgotten. A true stalwart of the club, who was always ready to help in any way she could, Joy will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her and everyone associated with Notts County Football Club.

RIP Joy.

Ray Trew
Chairman

Pride of Nottingham would like to thank Mr Trew and the Media Team for these notes.
Chris
Preston who sit 17th in League One, find themselves facing Notts County at Meadow Lane. The tie originally scheduled to fall in December, which was postponed, is a game against two sides who's fans will be saying 'What if?'. Notts County 10th, still have an outside bet of reaching the playoffs but it will be games like this which ultimately seal our fate. We've taken the time to speak with two Preston fans and we sincerely hope you enjoy this feature. We appreciate your time reading, sharing and inspiring us.

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

James: I'm James Shuttleworth, a 20 year-old Literature student at Bangor University. Born in Preston, live in the town of Leyland when not at University. I've been a North Ender since the age of 7 due to my Dad being a fan of many years before me.

Ben: I am a 17 year old college student who is a season ticket holder, and has been since the age of 6, however my first game was at the age of 3, a 3-0 win over Ford United in the F.A Cup in 1998.

Simon Grayson were on the lips of many Notts County fans to replace Keith Curle, How happy are you with the appointment and who did the majority of Preston fans want?

James: I'm very pleased with the appointment of Simon Grayson. With the track record of 3 promotions with 3 clubs from this division, who wouldn't be happy? A few of the more deluded fans wanted Nigel Adkins, others touting Owen Coyle. Simon was the favourite pretty much from the off, though.

Ben: Most fans are delighted with Simon as the new manager, he has a proven track record in this league, and most have seen through his past allegiances with 'that lot down the road' and welcomed him as manager. Most fans wanted Grayson as soon as the odds came out, some wanted Owen Coyle but would be way out of our price range, whilst some wanted the local lad, Gareth Ainsworth in.

Who at the start of the season did you see getting promoted?

James: For me, it was hard to look past the force that is always Sheffield United. I'm not a huge lover of them (to say the least), but they're always good. I'd also thought Doncaster and Bournemouth would be up there, so they'd probably have been my 3.

Ben: For me, it would have to be Sheffield United and Doncaster automatically, and Bournemouth through the play-offs. Both the Yorkshire clubs had the players to succeed in this divison with lots of experience throughout both line-ups, whilst Bournemouth spent a lot in the summer to create their squad.

Start of the season Preston were looking like strong contenders for promotion, where did the season go wrong?

James: Westley's constant switching up of the team certainly did us no favours. A couple of injuries here and there and a drop in home form (resulting in a lack of confidence) added to the pressure.

Ben: Graham Westley. That's where it went wrong. The season did start well, Carling Cup wins over Huddersfield and Crystal Palace, big wins in the league over Swindon, Doncaster and Hartlepool, however, and somewhat coincidentally, the slide started after the reverse of this upcoming fixture, at Deepdale. Both of our full-backs, Keith Keane, and more notoriously, Scott Laird, were ruled out for some time and we never looked the same after that. We went on a run of 8 league games after that before we could find a win, then another 5 games without a win in the league, and the collapse at Coventry in the Johnstones Paint Trophy was especially hard to take. It's an understatement to say that some of the players didn't get on with Westley and did not agree with his methods. In the end, he had to go, he had lost the dressing room. It's no surprise to see once he had gone, we haven't lost since.

What's your hopes for the rest of the remaining season?

James: My hopes for the rest of our season are to consolidate, pick up a few home wins and finish in the top 14. It would be good if Simon could continue what he's done in the first few games - keep a steady starting XI and let them work out any issues with their play. From experience, I like to think that consistency breeds success in a football club.

Ben: Get a good run of results, steer away from the relegation zone and play attractive, winning football. On the basis of what I have seen so far of the post-Westley era, i'm convinced Grayson is the right man for the job. However, we will need to see in the summer what moves he makes in regards to transfers.

Please share a memory from your earliar days of supporting Preston North End?

James: The earliest memory I have is of a home game against Grimsby. 'Super' Jonny Macken scored after 17 seconds. We proceeded to lose 2-1. That season was brilliant - we were newly promoted, beat Birmingham in the play-off semi-final and went to the Millennium Stadium. We got thumped 3-0 by Bolton Wanderers, but we won't dwell on that too much.

Ben: The 2000/2001 Championship play-off semi-final 2nd leg, which was at Deepdale, we hosted Birmingham City, trailing 1-0 from the first leg at St.Andrews, if I remember correctly, Nicky Eaden got the goal. We had a great start in the second leg, leveling the tie through David Healy, but Geoff Horsfield restored the Blues lead in the second half. The normally level-headed Graham Alexander crashed a penalty against the bar after this, which shocked the majority of the crowd, he was a penalty expert. We thought it was all over when Lazardis rounded David Lucas in the 89th minute, but somehow, his shot from a tight angle trickled all the way across the goal without going in, and the counter attack started, and was put in at the other end by Mark Rankine, who wasn't known for his attacking prowess. We survived several scares in extra time, and subsequently won the penalty shootout, despite Trevor Francis' protests at the penalty kicks not being taken at the empty end which was once the Town End, instead they were taken infront of the vocal North Ens fans in the Bill Shankly Kop. We did go on to lose the final in Cardiff to Bolton Wanderers, but it wasn't bad for a team who'd just come off a promotion from League One.

How is Scott Laird's recovery going?

James: Scott has tweeted recently about his recovery. He got back to running lightly a couple of weeks ago, so he's steadily coming back. The club has hopes to get him fit to take a decent part in pre-season and be ready for the start of next season.

Ben: He's started running again in training, although won't be fully fit until pre-season. It was a shame to lose him as he was by far our best and most consistent player before the injury, and i'm still a bit bitter to this day as I feel it changed our season for the worse. We just hope he returns the same player he was before the injury.

How much of a loss his Scott's absence to your starting line up?

James: Losing Scotty was a huge blow. He was, at the time, easily our most influential player. Solid in defence, quick up and down the wing and a great attacking threat. Also, he was top of our assists charts at the time! We have David Buchanan who has deputised well, but he's not the same player.

Ben: For the first few months he was a major loss. We missed his attacking presence down the left. We thought we had a very able replacement in David Buchanan, who was Tranmere's player of the season last year, but things weren't going right for him, and towards the end of Westley's tenure, Buchanan was replaced by youth team player Ben Davies. Since Westley has gone, Buchanan admitted that he and the ex-gaffer didn't see eye to eye, and his performances have sky-rocketed since.

Which Notts County players do you consider to poise a threat to your defence and why?

James: I see Francois Zoko as a threat, simply because he reputedly 'nearly' signed for us during the summer but opted for Notts instead. Also, I'd consider Alan Judge to be a tricky customer. Our defence has shored up reasonably well recently though, and the lads will arrive with a clean sheet under their belts. It should be a tight affair.

Ben: We know all about Francois Zoko, he destroyed us at Deepdale in his Carlisle days on Boxing Day 2011, we also know Alan Judge is a very creative threat from midfield, he can do anything.

Can you tell us which Preston players we should be aware of and who is your key player?

James: The wingers. Lee Holmes and Will Hayhurst. Lee is a classy player for this level - if it weren't for injury then he'd be a Championship player. Sweet left foot on him. Young Will has scored 3 goals in 3 games from the left flank, so he's a massive threat too. The likes of Stuart Beavon and Nicky Wroe also can't be overlooked - Beavs has picked up a few goals and Nicky chipped in with a hat-trick at Scunthorpe earlier in the season.

Ben: Stuart Beavon is an absolute workhorse upfront and runs himself into the ground for the team, whilst also scoring goals, 10 this season he's tallied so far, but he would have liked to have more. It's hard to look past our wing wizards at this stage, with Lee Holmes putting in some dazzling performances, but Will Hayhurst has been taking the plaudits as of late. The 19 year old who suffered two leg breaks in his youth team days, has grown in stature since some tame performances in the first few months of the season, and has netted 3 goals in his last 3 games, and if he carries on, clubs from the higher echelons will start to notice his talents. Even better that he's a local lad, supported PNE as a boy and will give it all for the club.

Do you have a favourite away day and who were you not looking forward to visiting this season?

James: Due to being away from home, I haven't made it to many games this season - but surprisingly, made it to a few away games! I enjoyed the trip to Hartlepool on New Years Day. Without meaning to offend Pools, it was a quaint trip to an older style ground. I also made it to the Ricoh Arena twice in a couple of weeks - including the JTP Northern semi-final on my birthday, where Steve Simonsen forgetting how to use his hands cost us dearly. So I'd have to say, Coventry holds the worst away day feeling for me at the moment!

Ben: I'd have to say Bury was my favourite away day. We outnumbered the home support, taking close to 3,000 fans to Gigg Lane, and won 2-1 thanks to goals from Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and Akpo Sodje, who have both departed the club, SCS only on loan. I wasn't looking forward to visiting Colchester as we never seem to get a result in the deep heart of Essex, and we didn't, losing 1-0. I would like Blackpool to be relegated this season though, it'd be nice to have a closer game seeing as Bury is our local derby being 45 minutes away!

Please tell us about your current favourite player and your all-time hero?

James: My current favourite player has to be Scott Laird. Driving force, passionate about the game and very talented. Otherwise, I've a soft spot for our (currently) sub keeper Thorsten Stuckmann. Pulls off some blinders, full of passion and a generally nice lad.

All-time hero - Graham Alexander. A real-life Roy of the Rovers.

Ben: My current favourite player is Stuart Beavon, who like I said works his socks off for the benefit of the team. My all-time hero would be Sean Gregan. He lifted our last trophy when we won League One in 2000, and gave many good performances before being sold to West Bromwich Albion in 2002. We called him 'God' for a reason!

Pride of Nottingham would like to Thank James (check out his band) and Ben (PrestonPlumber) for taking the time to answer our question. We would like to throw a special mention to our own WeymouthPie who helped locating James when we thought this feature would be lost.
Joe Jones
In the lower reaches of the Football League, the turnaround of players at football clubs is generally quite high.
Contracts tend to be one or two year deals, and players who fail to make the grade are shipped out or let go before long, while better players are more inclined to make the step up to bigger clubs in higher divisions who can offer better wages and challenge for honours. 
Mike Edwards, however, bucks that trend. Over two spells, the combative defender has been on the books of Notts County for a combined total of over ten years, becoming club captain and playing over 300 games for the Magpies in the process.
Born in Hessle, a town near Hull, on 25 April 1980, the Yorkshireman began his career at Hull City, joining the club as a trainee. He made his debut in December 1997 away at Rotherham United and turned professional at the end of the season.
Edwards is loved by the Hull fans because, aside from making over 200 appearances for the club, he was the last East Riding protege to be raised and discovered locally and to work through the schoolboy and apprentice ranks to become a fully-fledged first team player.
He was part of the famous Great Escape team of 1998/9, which survived relegation from the Football League after being rooted at the bottom of the table for much of the season, and continued to thrive under managers Brian Little and Jan Molby before suffering a cruciate injury. Peter Taylor arrived and, sadly for Edwards, decided to release him just as he was restoring his fitness.
A short spell at Colchester United in 2003 was followed by a season at Grimsby Town, and in the 03/04 close season, he was signed by then Notts manager Gary Mills on a free transfer.
He quickly established himself in the heart of defence for the Magpies, relegated from the Second Division the season before, but just ten games into the season, a cruciate ligament injury suffered against West Ham in the League Cup ruled him out for six months.
As Mills was replaced by Gudjon Thordarson, the defender recovered and was back in the first team by the time the 2005/06 campaign began. A versatile and committed player, Edwards played all 50 league and cup games during the troubled season, both in central defence and central midfield, and did enough to earn a new two-year deal.
The following season, his consistency, talent and commitment to the cause saw Notts finish the season comfortably in mid-table, a massive improvement on the year before, as well as embarking on a great League Cup run which saw them defeat Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Southampton (against whom he scored). His reward was the Player of the Season award and the club captaincy.
In a cruel turn of events, Edwards then suffered another long-term injury in the 07/08 pre-season. A dislocated right ankle, fractures to both bones in his lower leg and ligament damage meant he was ruled out until the end of January.
Notts missed him terribly, only surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth in the last two games of the season, and the club recognised his importance by offering him a new deal, the player more than happy to repay the faith showed to him by the club in the face of his injury problems.
"Steady Eddy" was ever-present in 08/09, playing 43 league games as Notts, aided by points deductions to several teams in the league, survived another season in the Football League.

Then came the oddity that was the 09/10 season and everything that came with it, as Notts were taken over by the enigmatic entity that was Munto.
A season that began on a high, with promises of investment and marquee players and staff coming to Meadow Lane, soon became a confusing and anxious mess as the takeover turned out to be fraudulent, but luckily there was a happy ending as the club finished top of the league and the ownership and financial issues were resolved.
Despite all the uncertainty, Edwards played 40 league games and scored 5 goals as Notts were promoted with 93 points, and for his efforts was awarded another new two-year deal.
Back in League One, Edwards initially lost his first-team place to the pairing of Graeme Lee and Krystian Pearce, but soon, unsurprisingly perhaps, won his place back, and played a total of 39 league games as Notts consolidated their position in the third tier. He also captained his side, and played his 500th professional game, in the fixtures against eventual FA Cup winners and future champions of England, Manchester City.
The 2011/12 season saw Steady Eddy become one of a select few to play 300 games for the Magpies, reaching the milestone against Scunthorpe United in March, and also played against Juventus in the historic first game at the Juventus Stadium.
When Edwards was only offered a one-year deal at the end of the season, he decided to up sticks for a more secure contract, joining Carlisle United, and it looked like the love affair between Notts and him would be consigned to history.
Like all good love stories, however, this also came with a happy ending because, two years later, he returned to Meadow Lane as a coach, and also registered as a player to help the team out in times of need.
As it turned out, Edwards played a total of 21 games in his first season back in black and white, scoring three goals in the process, and in 2015/16 he upped his game considerably, bagging FIVE goals in just 17 games - the kind of rate you could expect from an attacking midfielder - including TWO braces.
In 2016/17 he was used much more sparingly, but still appeared twice from the bench against Cambridge United and Barnet in November, and this season, with the club under a new lease of life under Alan Hardy, he has been able to get on properly with his coaching role at last, although he is also registered as a player and can be called upon if need be.
Mike Edwards' statistics speak for themselves. He has played or otherwise worked under TWENTY-FOUR different managers or caretakers at Notts - Gary Mills, Ian Richardson, Gudjon Thordarson, Steve Thompson, Ian McParland, Michael Johnson, Hans Backe, Dave Kevan, Steve Cotterill, Craig Short, Paul Ince, Carl Heggs, Martin Allen, Keith Curle, Shaun Derry, Paul Hart, Mick Halsall, Ricardo Moniz, Richard Dryden, Jamie Fullarton, Mark Cooper, John Sheridan, Alan Smith and now Kevin Nolan (hopefully the list stops there for at least a couple of years).
He was a figure of stability, professionalism and consistency over one of the most turbulent eras at the club and is still giving his all for Notts now that stability is back.
For all this and more, Steady Eddy will forever be remembered as one of Notts County Football Club's all-time greats.
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Joe Jones
Notts County were lucky today against Crawley. Very very lucky. The amount of times they got out of jail today, you could write another series of Prison Break. Both teams were very attack-minded and got plenty of shots in, but some instances of slack defending by Notts would have surely seen Crawley pick up maximum points as they edged the Magpies on the attacking front. The referee, however, was very lenient, and you cannot blame the Crawley players and fans for feeling aggrieved when no penalty was given for Manny Smith handling the ball in the Notts box in injury time.

The Notts team sheet was surprising to say the least. With Dean Leacock suspended and Alan Judge picking up a knock against Orient, the replacements came in the form of Smith and Hamza Bencherif. However, Francois Zoko, Yoann Arquin and John Cofie were all benched, with the untested Jacob Blyth the lone frontman in a 4-5-1 formation.

The game began in a lively manner, Haydn Hollis facing up against Jamie Proctor early on and coming off best. Within five minutes, Neal Bishop released Jamal Campbell-Ryce early on and the winger won a corner, taken by Sheehan but easily cleared.

Although Blyth was officially the lone forward, he was supported up front by JCR and Bencherif, the youngster serving a kind of support role for the others by knocking on headers thanks to his strong aerial presence.

First proper chance of the game came to Proctor, whose strong effort from outside the box was tipped round the post by Bartosz Bialkowski.

JCR, criticised in recent weeks for below-par displays, was on great form again today, the winger threatening down the wing with his swerving runs and decent crosses, and on ten minutes, even attemped to chip the keeper like Judge did against Carlisle, but Paul Jones wasn't beaten.

Unlike the grittier displays of the last few games, Notts were very cohesive and played a strong passing possession game, to the point that the travelling fans began chanting "Ole!". However, Crawley also threatened, Matt Sparrow coming very close several times, but Bialkowski was in top form again.

Half an hour in, a good run by JCR saw him find Boucaud, who then set up Hughes for a good effort which was tipped wide.

The first half soon became very physical, as Hughes found himself both giving and receiving fouls, before Gary Liddle upended Nicky Adams for a yellow card. He also received a retaliatory foul later on for his troubles.

The first half finished 0-0, both sides putting in a strong display and having several good chances on goal.

After the food/drink/toilet/cigarette break, the 458 travelling Notts fans saw their team shoot towards their end, and the Magpies came at Crawley straight away, Bishop getting a shot in on goal, but the ref had already blown as Bencherif, ineffective in the first half, had fouled Jones.

Ten minutes into the second half, Blyth's ball penetrated the Crawley defence on the counter-attack, but JCR couldn't connect. Just a few minutes later, Bishop went for a very ambitious effort from over 30 years out.

The attack-minded Magpies were at times exposed in defence, and Adams was given way too much space outside the Notts box on 62 minutes, though he couldn't convert.

Five minutes later, Adams was just a tap-in away from giving Crawley the lead, but Liddle did just enough to knock it out of play. Predictably, the first substitution of the day for Notts saw Bencherif replaced by Zoko.

More get-out-of-jail antics ensued on 70 minutes as Hollis hit the ball against his own bar, Notts fans' hearts in mouths.

Blyth was the next to go, Showunmi replacing the on-loan Leicester player, and his impact was immediate, testing Jones with two good attempts on goal.

The final quarter of an hour was frantic, with both sides going all out for the win. Hollis made up for his earlier mistake with some sturdy defending, bailing out Boucaud and making some great tackles in the box to deny Crawley.

JCR was the last player to make way for a benched team-mate, coming off for John Cofie. The loanee made a mistake soon after coming on, losing the ball and allowing Crawley to break, but luckily that came to nothing.

The home team kept threatening, but they seemed to be suffering from the same problems as Notts up front, ie plenty of chances but nobody to convert into goals.

Proctor flashed a header past the Notts goal but Liddle cleared.

The last few minutes saw both teams huff and puff, but the whistle finally blew on a 0-0 draw which, in all fairness, seemed about right, but not before the controversial penalty appeal.

In the grand scheme of things, another draw isn't the ideal result if we're to push for the play-offs, but the travelling Notts fans can be pleased with the boys' performance as a whole, especially Hollis, who surely seems to have made a first-team place his, and really, we were very lucky to survive the waves of Crawley attacks and escape with a point.

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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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