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  1. 3 points
    Received a reminder of this, this morning. Had totally forgotten about it to be fair and, for a millisecond, considered cashing in now, but no. Hope springs eternal.
  2. 2 points
    After having no kit and no players, Notts County have a shot at redemption Gregor Robertson talks to manager Neal Ardley about an extraordinary couple of years before their big clash with Harrogate Gregor Robertson Saturday August 01 2020, 12.00am, The Times Ardley was in charge when the club dropped out of the Football League last season but has turned them around in just over 12 months PA Just over a year ago, Notts County could not even afford to pay for a new set of strips. England’s oldest Football League club had just lost that famous status after suffering a painful relegation from League Two. Funding had dried up and the club was on the brink. Players and staff had not been paid for two months. A fourth hearing in as many months at the High Court over unpaid tax was approaching. The club’s plight was raised in parliament by MP for Nottingham South, Lilian Greenwood. Greenwood was even moved to ask Juventus, who County furnished with those famous black-and-white striped shirts in 1903, if they would consider returning the favour. Oh, and the new season was little more than a week away. SPONSORED The people fooling facial recognition software The secret of the SMEs that are emerging stronger than ever Fast-forward 12 months and victory in tomorrow’s National League play-off final at Wembley, where Notts meet Harrogate Town for a place in the Football League, would complete a remarkable turnaround. “From where we were last year, how broken we felt the place was, my message to the players has been how proud I am of them to have come so far in a short space of time,” Neal Ardley, the manager, says. “They’ve brought the club together, back to feeling like a proper football club again. If they can put the cherry on top on Sunday, then great.” Ardley has more than played his part in dissipating the cloud which had engulfed the 158-year-old club. Green shoots of hope finally appeared on July 26, 2019, when Danish brothers Christoffer and Alexander Reedtz — owners of Football Radar, a football analysis company — bought the club and their calm, discreet and professional approach has been most welcome after the tragicomedy that unfurled towards the end of Alan Hardy’s tenure. Hardy, the former owner, was never far from front and centre when the cameras were rolling, and a prominent voice on Twitter until, you may recall, he accidentally uploaded a rather intimate picture in January 2019 when Notts were staring at the abyss. Hardy had boldly claimed that Notts would be challenging Nottingham Forest, their neighbours across the River Trent, in the Championship within five years and labelled manager Kevin Nolan, who led County to the 2017-18 League Two play-offs, a “future England manager”. Nolan was sacked five games into the following season and his successor, Harry Kewell, was hired and fired within 74 days. When Ardley arrived, in November 2018, he found a club saddled with a squad of 38 players, filled with passengers, and a £3 million wage bill. “I’m quite an honest guy, quite a proud guy,” Ardley says, reflecting on relegation at Swindon Town on the final day of last season. “I want to go into a club and make it better. So when I came in to do a job — albeit a tough job with loads of different things I was firefighting — and you don’t achieve that, you feel like you’ve failed. To stand in front of people in tears in the crowd, crying because it’s the first time they’ve experienced [relegation from the Football League], you feel like a failure. “It took me a while to get over it. And I did think I might not get the opportunity to [continue]: 25 managers in 20 years at Notts — you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know the likely outcome. But here we are now, and hopefully there’s a story there.” The Reedtz brothers paid staff within days, cleared debts and, once a transfer embargo was lifted, helped Ardley sign 13 players in the space of a “mad” two weeks. “We had to act quickly,” Ardley, the former AFC Wimbledon player and manager, says. “I think we had 14 games in the first 54 days of the season. And any players we were bringing in hadn’t had a pre-season. We were literally trying to get them fit as the season was going on, and trying to bring a group of players together.” The Reedtz company, which has offices in London, Liverpool and Bulgaria, provides analysis to betting companies and has access to in-depth data from leagues around the world. “They’re very knowledgeable,” Ardley says. “We’ve put together a recruitment structure, which I’ve never had before. I’ve always had to do the recruitment myself. But between us we funnel through a pool of players to see who would improve us, and how. “I could see a player I like, we go through it, we analyse it, and if it’s not one the owners feel is going to improve us after looking at the data and the stats, then we don’t do it,” Ardley says. “On the flip side, they’ll put forward some that look strong, but if I don’t like them, we move on and find another one. When everybody is part of that process and everyone says, ‘Yes, this is someone who can improve us’, then it’s great, because we’re all in it together.” Ardley cites Kyle Wootton and Callum Roberts as two examples of the success of their approach. Wootton, 23, joined from Scunthorpe United and is the club’s leading scorer with 13 goals, while Roberts, also 23, scored a wonderfully nimble-footed goal in County’s 2-0 win against Barnet in the semi-final last week. The former Newcastle United winger, plucked from Blyth Spartans in January, has been a revelation. Ardley is also quick to praise the value of experienced pros such as Michael Doyle, Ben Turner and Jim O’Brien who drove standards relentlessly after a start in which County won only two of their opening ten games. O'Brien has provided experience, which has been key for County LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/GETTY IMAGES “The club’s come so far in a short period of time,” O’Brien, the former Barnsley and Coventry City midfielder, says. “I was out of contract, the club weren’t in a position to offer anything, but I came back for pre-season, because I wanted to be at the club. It was tough. We were having meetings with the staff, the office staff, the chefs, the ground staff, everybody — and we got to know what people were going through. I think having that togetherness, in the long run, has helped us. “Then when the owners came in we had a get-together, a barbecue. They made a speech, very brief, thanking us for sticking with it through some tough times, talking about how they want to move the club forward. You could see the relief on people’s faces. Everyone could finally take a deep breath, and get on with their jobs. “There’s definitely a feeling of ‘let’s right the wrongs of last season and get us back up’, and hopefully all will be forgotten with the supporters. The club have really engaged with the fans this season though and it’s been a great atmosphere. I really hope we can get it over the line for them.” Harrogate, who finished second, a place and three points ahead of Notts when the season was curtailed, stand between Notts and an immediate return but have their own bit of history to create. “There are two really good stories here,” Ardley admits. “Harrogate have never played a League game, and are trying to get there for the first time; and Notts County, as the oldest football league club previously, are trying to get [that status] back at the first attempt. “For us to get that [status], which means so much to the club, back would be fantastic. To give the owners the success they deserve in their first year at the club would be fantastic. And after all the adversity we’ve had to overcome in the last 18 months, a celebration would be fantastic.” ● Harrogate Town v Notts County. Tomorrow, 3pm, BT Sport
  3. 2 points
    Will it help to cover the cost of that bike you've purchased mate? That's a nice little return.
  4. 1 point
    I'm going to go with @Piethagoram @Elite_pie on this one, I too thought Rose was better then Doyle and O'Brien. It simply just didn't work with O'Brien on the wing this time and I thought the game just passed Doyle by too much. Rose covered more ground and at least tried to have a more positive influence on the game. I agree with pretty much your ratings as well, I thought Wootton did well, especially when most the time the service we were giving him was all over the place. He was having to sprint to win headers and bring balls down with a CB always right on him, shame we couldn't get a bit closer to profit from him.
  5. 1 point
    Harking back to school days, with the question "Compare and contrast" and how different are @Elite_pieand @Feral Fox @Chris ratings over Rose? I have to go with my own initial thoughts, that Rose did put in at least a performance..though if the rumours are correct that he is being chased by EFL L1 clubs, then the thoughts need to go to see whether Bishop or O'Connor or a similar younger "King Pin" midfielder fulfills that role? An interesting final comment by @Elite_pieover the manager's capabilities. The breaking of the best central defensive partnership we have had for some time, Rawlinson and Lacey cost us in the end. This rests solely on Ardley's shoulders. Also too, the midfield was found wanting..Notts couldn't match the fitness and pressing game of the Harrogate players..and their free kick deliveries around the box (though some questionable ref decisions for fouls seem to go against us) The failure by Doyle and co to close down Stead, to make that incisive pass that led to Harrogate's third, still rankles. The lock down has allowed me to see some Premier League matches for the full 90 minutes. Southampton's energy against Manchester City was so evident. The movement to hunt down the ball..Harrogate had that in abundance. The ability to block shots too...anyone else think a sliding block by Turner would have prevented the first goal, as he tamely stood up and let the guy get his shot in? Final thoughts, may have over rated Lacey and Roberts scores in hindsight.. I would say 6.5 and 7 ; perhaps my gut feeling of wanting them to stay overruled my initial thoughts
  6. 1 point
    I don’t think we need to meltdown. Losing is always difficult, even more so at Wembley after this season, but strangely, I’m upset, but ok with it. I suppose not being there today makes it even more surreal. I do think fresh blood and younger blood is now needed though. As you said above, Crawford in the middle with a workhorse maybe? Turner was all over the place, but we have Rawlinson. I’m not a fan of Brindley and today did nothing to help that opinion.. I think Doyle and Rose as a pairing are finished now. I expect Wes Thomas to be done too. but... I see all of that as an opportunity for us to build securely. The lads have done superbly and credit goes to the owners and Ardley for throwing a squad together as short notice this time last year. Now we need to implement more of the sensible plans such as the Cal Roberts signing etc...Ardley knows what he’s doing and I’ve got faith in him bringing us back stronger.
  7. 1 point
    Hi Pies, Sheffield United fan just popping in to wish you good luck. Been keeping an eye out for you all season and am so glad you've got to the playoff final (even though it's behind closed doors... bloody corona). I didn't think you'd have the potential to bounce back so quickly and I hope you win and go on to "do a Luton". Pretty much every other Blade is wanting Harrogate to win because of Jon Stead- will you have any hard feelings against him if he scores the winner?
  8. 1 point
  9. 1 point
    It's the big day!! Let's do this Notts, I think the game will finish 2-1, although I really would hope that we can avoid conceding. If it goes to penalties, I really don't know if I could take that. Right now, I still don't have any nerves or worries. Very much quietly confident.
  10. 1 point
    @Feral Fox You could always put a few quid on the opposition so that you make a profit either way. Not quite as loyal, I know...
  11. 1 point
    I bet you're thankful you can't lose the slip behind your sofa, if things go right tomorrow
  12. 1 point
    drinks will be on @Feral Fox after the game, he's buying!
  13. 1 point
    Tomorrow's game could be a decisive point in our history. It's certainly far too important to leave to chance. Will any of you be deploying lucky rituals before the match? Will lucky underpants or shirts be worn? Will pets or children be sacrificed to the Football Gods? Let us know! I don't have any lucky items of clothing myself, but I sincerely hope the players aren't forced to wear white shorts tomorrow as there lies doom and certain defeat. Two magpies live opposite my house. I hope that both of them will pay me a visit - and if only one shows up, it will be greeted. Better safe than sorry!
  14. 1 point
  15. 1 point
    At times, especially in the past I have but I'm more in a routine these days so things like this go out of the window. My youngest daughter hasn't seen Notts lose at Meadow Lane though, we won some big games in our relegation season with her and when watching under no hope managers. I know people who will wear certain shirts for good luck too.
  16. 1 point
    I was a talentless, very right-footed, defensive right back. I sometimes played as centre half until everyone realised that I couldn't head the ball! I'm also very right-handed - I even hold my fork in my right hand when I eat. The other way round just seems unnatural.
  17. 1 point
    By now we all know that Neal Ardley doesn't automatically pick an unchanged team just because we won the last game. That could work to our advantage this time - we'll keep Harrogate guessing until an hour before kick-off. I think he'll pick JOB ahead of Enzio, I've always had a feeling that he'd be our man at Wembley. Enzio has been given the nod a lot this season as our unpredictable creative firecracker, but now Roberts offers that too. It's a great problem to have though. You're so right Mr Fox, it's weird. I wasn't there for the Warnock promotions, but I was there for Bradford in 1996 - and I remember it vividly (and it's curious that Mark Stallard will be our co-commentator this time after scoring Bradford's second that year - hopefully he'll be on the winning side again). I've been desperate to return to Wembley since then and put it right. At this stage we'd be talking about tickets, where we were all sitting, travel arrangements, and we'd all have a sleepless night knowing we'd be getting up early to head down the M1. Then there'd be Wembley Way, old men selling giant rosettes (at least they did in the 90s) and outrageous drinks prices to moan about. But it is what it is, and frankly I never thought we'd even get the chance. So tomorrow my in-laws are coming over to celebrate Eid (which mostly seems to entail eating lots) and I'll have my earphones in, listening to it all unfolding on the radio. It just feels a bit unreal.
  18. 1 point
    It’s a really weird one for me. I’ve been lucky enough to attend all the Wembley games before and loved the build up as well as the day itself. This time seems a little downbeat? As Chris said above, I was quite nervous going into the Barnet game and it was always there approaching on the calendar. The final is just sort of upon us imo. Hope we play to the best of our ability and get out of the blocks quickly. Vital to have a go at them and let them know we mean business. Difficult team selection though. Most would have Enzio any day of the week at a Wembley game, but after last week and JoBs performance? Tough call for Neil. Hopefully writing this will get me more excited about it. Such a shame that the first trip to Wembley for donkeys years has been snatched away from all the younger supporters, but the situation is as it is. Football is just a game. Covid-19 is a life changer for some families.
  19. 1 point
    Like a few on here, it would’ve been my first opportunity to see Notts at Wembley. It’s bittersweet in a way, as moments like this are what being a fan is all about. Who knows maybe we’ll get a chance to go with the FA Vase *desperately clutches at straws*. As for the team, I expect at least one-surprise to it. Enzio back in? Thomas/Wilson upfront for more pace? Maybe. I’ve full confidence in whatever the team and tactics NA picks and it won’t be through lack of planning, effort or desire if we don’t win. I don't want to tempt fate by predicting the score, I know what I hope the score will be… Both teams are pretty closely matched I think there’ll only be a goal in it. Anyone know if it goes to extra-time or straight to pens? I think with our squad/subs extra-time would favour us. Straight to pens would be unbearable...
  20. 1 point
  21. 1 point
    Hard to give ratings from a computer screen, but this is what I saw: Slocombe 7 - only one save to make, but it was a good one. Brindley 7 - got into some good forward positions and solid defensively. Lacey 7.5 - looks a class above this level. Turner 7 - the Turner we saw before his injury. Just does his job well. Bagan 7 - a potent forward threat first half, good defensively in the second. Roberts 7 - took a while to get into the game, but when he did he showed his class. Rose 7.5 - showed his value today. Won loads of challenges and helped us win the midfield battle. Doyle 7 - used his experience to the max. Nothing spectacular, but just what we needed. O'Brien 7.5* - always involved, created the first and just about shaded MOM. Wootton - 6.5 - led the line well but didn't make the most of his chances on goal. Dennis 6.5 - a bit out of the game for spells, but did what he's best at in poaching a goal. Enzio 6 - struggled to get involved, but a great option to bring off the bench at this level. Thomas 6 - no time to make an impact, but looked lively. Good to be able to do these ratings again even if it is only via the telly. A good all round team performance, and credit to the manager for getting his selection and formation right. Let's just hope that everyone can repeat it next weekend.
  22. 1 point
  23. 1 point
    I've seen it all now. Their owner is well-intentioned but utterly clueless - the bit where he agonises for ages before bidding millions for Will Grigg (against the manager's wishes) are comedy gold. It was very clear that he's out of his depth. And his enforcer (forgot his name) is just an obnoxios blowhard. Another series starring Rodders and Branston would make fascinating viewing, but Sunderland appear to be on the verge of another takeover. If the new owners have any sense, they won't stay in their posts for long.
  24. 1 point
    Slocombe 7 - Did what he had to do when called upon. Always looked assured, Quality save Brindley 8 - Battled and hassled really well. Got forward to support. Lacey 8 - Makes it look so easy. One pass out of defence across the pitch to Bagan in the first half was exquisite. Turner 8 - First game since December I think and he looked at ease. Dealt with Paul McCallum really well. Put the yards in Bagan 9 - Looked so comfortable on the ball, got forward well and has a dangerous left foot. Played years above his age Roberts 9 - Pure magic Rose 7 - Kept the cogs turning in midfield and he and Doyle got through the work with reward Doyle 8 - Used his experience and his range of passing to full effect. Warrior O'Brien 9 - Energy, commitment and creativity. All defined his performance. Stopped any chance of Barnet using their width to an advantage and tucked in when attacking to allow Bagan to support Wootton 8 - Held up the ball when he got the chance and linked it up nicely with Dennis and Roberts Dennis 8 - Put himself about and scored a goal now known as a Kristian Dennis special Boldewijn 6 - Helped us run the time down and gained some match fitness and sharpness in the process Thomas 6 - Not much of note. Just helped us run down the time and again gained some sharpness
  25. 1 point
    Slocombe 7 -He did well, nothing else really to do bar the one save which he coped with. Brindley 8 - One of his best performances, he looked very eager to get invovled. Lacey 8 - Solid at the back, mindful and alert. He did very well. Turner 8.5 - He fitted in well and ran himself into the ground to protect our goal. Amazing return to action by him. Bagan 8 - Looked great going forward, wise play and careful passing. Roberts 8 - Good goal, basic involvement in parts but did what he needed to do. Rose 6.5 - Kept slipping, wasn't great with his passing and although he tried - he looked like a weak link. Doyle 7.5 - Good mind, he used it well and protected the defence with his passing. O'Brien 10 - Solid, energy to boot and just that passion which the club has been lacking for ages. Wootton 7 - He did very well, a little isolated at times but he worked himself into the ground. Dennis 7 - Some neat touches but just like Wootton, the service wasn't quite there [due to the conditions]. Good taken goal and he made himself known. Enzio 7 - Did what he needed to do in order to run down time, he looked like he wanted to do much more than the time allowed for. Thomas 6 - He didn't really get much chance to do anything, but a 6 seems a fair rating for me.
  26. 1 point
    Will send a donation over right now, good luck.
  27. 1 point
  28. 1 point
    Slocombe - 8 -Didn't have a deal to do, but did everything he needed to; that one save, plus claiming crosses. Brindley - 7.5 - Was good defensively. Going forward he sometimes slowed things down a bit when a bit more throttle could've been important. Lacey - 8 - Very good defensively, didn't give Barnet too much chance to impose themselves. Calm and collected on the ball. Turner - 8 - Won most in the air and quite a lot on the ground. At times exposed when neat balls are placed behind him; his lack of pace can be exposed. Bagan - 7 - For the most part good defensively and going forward neat, couple of decent crosses. However, there was more than one occasion when his positional naivety was on show and a couple of risky passes that didn't need to be played in dangerous areas near our own box. I fear Harrogate may target him. Roberts - 8.5 - Simply magnificent with the ball at his feet. Every time he has the ball with a bit of space, you know something is going to happen. Probably a bit disappointed not to have another goal from the attempt in the first half. Rose - 7 - Offers athleticism in the middle of the park next to Doyle. Covered the ground to ensure that we were the dominant force in the middle of the park. Sometimes, though, he is an accident waiting to happen. Wayward passes are a feature of his game, you know there's gonna be 2 or 3 a game. We weren't punished today. Doyle - 8 - Knows exactly when to close down, where to position himself. Provides that link to play-out from the back. Captain fantastic. O'Brien - 8.5 - At first I thought he looked leggy on the wing, that his lack of pace would be exposed by their fullback. It did happen a couple of times, but that extra quality for the assist and other key passes made the difference. Sometimes dives into challenges when it's not needed. Wootton - 7.5 - Did a good job of holding up the ball and bringing in others into play. Dribbling with the ball wasn't really working for him today, but stuck to his task. Dennis - 7.5 - Didn't notice him apart from the goal. Typical Dennis. Enzio - 7 - Some moments of promise. Thomas - N/A Ardley - 8.5 - Tactics spot on. COYP. Already nervous for Sunday.
  29. 1 point
    Slocombe 7.5 Does his job well, one great save when it really mattered Brindley 6.5 Solid defensively Lacey 8 Really hope he stays, looks a class above and reads the game well Turner 7 Surprised to see him picked ahead of Rawlinson, did well Bagan 7.5 Good defensively but good going forward Roberts 7.5 The Geordie Messi does it again. Should have scored in 1st half with a better chance. This is why we need to go up now, otherwise he could be lost Rose 6 Normally aligned with @Elite_pie but Rose when targeted, gets caught in possession..yes some good work but I never feel truly comfortable with this aspect of his play Doyle 7 An experienced head, keeps the shape, barks the orders, job done O'Brien 7.5 Good feet and delivered a great cross for Dennis, though the Barnet FB should have done better. Ardley's tactical game changer to play instead of Enzio Wootton - 6.5 Leads the line but was missing the killer instinct today Dennis 7.5 Has this knack of reading the cross that centre backs miss. Class finisher in those positions Enzio 6.5 From the bench, just take the ball, run down the clock, did the job Thomas 6 Experienced head to bring on
  30. 1 point
    I wish mate. Unfortunately not. I’ve loved foxes for many a year. This beauty is a melanistic Fox. Ridiculously rare now days. Hardly ever seen. A lucky photographer got a few shots of one. Beautiful. lovely eyes. Not an issue mate. Just made sense to tie up all my online names into one wrapped up package. Easier that way! http://www.successlifelounge.com/mozilla-firefox-found-photographer-captures-pics-of-a-majestic-cross-fox-that-is-partly-orange-partly-black/
  31. 1 point
  32. 1 point
    Head, nail, hit. it is incredibly selfish. The scenes on Saturday make a total mockery of all the weeks we’ve spent in isolation. Totally inept handling of the whole thing. Then to turn in the news to hear Johnson blaming care homes for not following the rules and it’s their fault for all the deaths. Disgusting.
  33. 1 point
    thank you for supporting the donation drive @magpiejue.
  34. 1 point
    With some major cities already having headed back into lockdown measures, it shows how serious this pandemic is because it won't be beaten unless everyone plays their parts. I think re-opening pubs is a massive mistake, people from Leicester are already finding their way into Nottingham pubs, I can't help but feel it's incredibly selfish.
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