Jump to content

Son of Berti

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Son of Berti's Achievements


Apprentice (3/14)

  • Reacting Well
  • Conversation Starter
  • First Post
  • Week One Done
  • One Month Later

Recent Badges



  1. When the season’s calendar was first released, I bet that I wasn’t the only Notts fan to think that we had an easy opening two months ahead of us and an opportunity to gain a fearsome reputation by the end of September as nailed-on ‘hard to beat’ promotion candidates. Now, just five matches into the season, I suspect that every team that hasn’t yet played us wishes that they could do before the end of this month – such have been our results! Well all I can say to them is “Be careful what you wish for” because, from what I have seen so far, it looks to me as if we are very close to clicking as a unit and going on to fulfil our pre-season potential. Last season, pre-November, we were winning, but winning ugly and I can remember thinking to myself that if we could win matches even though we were playing badly, sooner or later we would start hammering teams. But, as the records will show, things went from bad to wurst as they say in Germany, but I’m sure you get my drift. When the early season loanees returned to their parent clubs, we never replaced them with players of a similar quality and the rest is history. I remember that my immediate post-match reaction after each disappointing result became a mix of anger and bitter disappointment at the poor quality of football that we were playing. Diminishing attendance figures at Meadow Lane told their own story. The inspired 2013-14 loan signings of saviours Callum McGregor and Jack Grealish weren’t to be repeated and we swirled down the plug-hole of despair aka relegation to League Two. So why the optimism after our visit to Morecambe last weekend? Normally, I am a glass half-empty sort of bloke but right now I’m watching the barmaid fill my glass to over-flowing! And my three reasons for being cheerful are: Number 1 The stats will show that if we had converted just one quarter of our shots against Morecambe, we would have scored 5 goals. Their first two goals were clinically executed and were scored totally against the run of play. Their conversion rate of shots to goals was the key factor in their win. I think they scored from 4 of their total of 5 shots that were on target. That is an enviable conversion rate but one which I feel sure we can emulate with the talent that we have available. Number 2 The football we play is thrilling to watch and the number of crosses we had during the course of recent matches would have put Pontius Pilate to shame. I left the Morecambe game not feeling angry or disappointed but bemused and emotionally stunned because the lads had entertained us, had some great passages of play, had put cross after cross into the box, and should have won based on their domination of the game. But it wasn’t our day and I couldn’t quite understand just how we had managed to lose that game. However, with the passing of each successive match, it is clear that the level of understanding between players is improving. With that gelling, will come success. Number 3 Everyone says that our Achilles heel is our defence. But our lists of suspensions and injuries have severely affected the effectiveness of our back four and defensive mid-fielders. Even with just half of the absentees back, I feel sure that Ricardo will be able to sort out this weakness, and then prove that attack is indeed the best form of defence. The best is yet to come; of that I am sure. Just keep the faith!
  2. I was attached to the Italian Forces in Herat, West-Afghanistan, when Sol played his, er, sole match for us in Morecombe. Mrs HeratGazza did however go to the match. When she reported back about her impressions afterwards, all I can say is that she was singularly unimpressed by his performance (and I'm putting it kindly!). No amount of games played in the Premiership and indeed for your country can prepare players for the harsh realities of fourth-tier football where no quarter is given, reputation doesn't earn respect as much as a solid tackle does, and where, it seems, referees can't wait to get your trophy name in their book! Always gets you a few pints bought in your local pub afterwards. And there are echoes of that syndrome right now with some of the players who have joined us from top-flight football in their own countries. This is (often quite literally) crunch time for players whose speediest days are behind them. They have to adapt their game quite rapidly or just call it a day. Those that have the natural instinct and ability, as well as the mental resolve, come good and I can think of no finer example in recent years that when Lee Hughes came to us. Patience and understanding are the qualities which the fans can best bring to the game right now. Under Big Sam, it took quite some time for his team to get it together but, when they did, boy did we enjoy ourselves.
  3. Next up Accrington Stanley, Morecombe, and Crawley in the league. All three matches are winable and if the squad was high on both confidence and results right now, they would be bankers. The great concern for me now is that there will be players low on confidence given the performances and results over the last 180 minutes (plus stoppage time!) and they will not be at their best. Some players looked at times like they had been caught like rabbits in headlights on the pitch against Mansfield and Oxford. Now is the time for a cleverly crafted team of old-head experience, leaders of men, and the fearlessness of youthful inexperience. I don't think that RM has actually identified the best blend yet, hampered as he has been by suspensions and injuries. But with such a large squad, it MUST be possible for him to find the right formula for success. Success depends on two things: wise transfer market activity and then the skill of the manager in getting the right blend of players working effectively as a team. While I have a teeny question mark of concern at the very back of my mind (RM's last head coaching venture at 1860 Munchen was terminated very prematurely after a dreadful start to their season), I am hopeful that he and Dave Kevan will come up trumps with the right 11 players over the next three matches. Then he just has to decide whether the tactics he wants to play suit football at this level. We saw last year in Div One that a team as star-studded as Leyton Orient was (and still is) just couldn't perform successfully largely because the tactics did not suit the division. Ian Hendon has brought the team back together playing a brand of football which suits the players and the division. Hopefully, we will be emulating them before long. And, as always, we the fans can play a big part in getting things turned around by encouraging the team especially when things are going against them. I know just how hard it is as a fan to contain disappointment and anger when things are going badly on the pitch, but the players do look like they care, so we must do our best to support them. To show them our disappointment will only serve to demoralise them further and that won't help anyone. Let's give the team the next three league matches to get things moving in an upward direction. By the middle of September we will be in a much better position to know how things are going to pan out. And Keeganesque, wouldn't you just love it if we **** Mansfield in the paint-drying Trophy, in the process!!!
  4. Son of Berti

    Noisy Neighbours

    Anyone who kept an eye on League Two last season will have deduced that it is almost impossible for a Club to sustain a high performance level allied to a top league position for the duration of a long exhausting 46 match season in a league which takes no prisoners. Chairmen and Managers who make the strategic decision to invest heavily in a compact squad of just 16 or so (relatively) costly players may well see their Club jockeying for a top seven position up until Christmas only to find that injuries, suspensions and heavy pitches begin to take their toll in January. As a consequence they are forced to bring both youth team players through the ranks quicker than is wise and loan players in what turns out to be more often than not a desperate but vain attempt to maintain league position. They watch their hopes of promotion fade quicker than the February sun. And in their position, you have to ask yourself whether you really want to further jeopardise your chances of promotion by increasing the risk of injury or suspension, by committing your top players to FA Cup, Carling Cup, and Johnson’s Paint Trophy games on top of the 46-game gruelling league campaign. When Big Sam Allardyce managed Notts County, he made no secret of the fact that he had absolutely no interest in Cup competitions, as his focus was solely on achieving promotion. At least his honesty saved fans a few quid as only the die-hards were willing to part with their hard-earned cash to watch a half-hearted effort on the pitch. As I write this article on the coach travelling to Huddersfield for our Carling Cup match, I have to confess that I don’t have any idea what Ricardo Moniz’ cup ‘policy’ is going to be. Will he want to give his ideal starting eleven another competitive 90 plus minutes to continue the gelling process? Will he want to give those ‘fringe’ players who are knocking on the door a chance to impress him that they should be in the starting eleven for the next league game? Will he want to give those players who have been injured some valuable rehab game minutes? Or will he send out a blend of youth players, second-stringers, and those he wants to put in the shop window in the hope that a watching scout will see a potential loan target and reduce our wage bill by a few pennies? (See after-game comment at the end of this article.) Neither the Carling Cup (in its early rounds at least) and certainly not the JP Trophy games will attract large enough crowds to swell Clubs’ income levels significantly. Many season ticket holders stay away from these matches on principle, not understanding why their outlay at the beginning of the season shouldn’t include Cup games. And the FA Cup matches won’t generate a dream, money-spinning, tie against Premiership opposition until the third round, at the very earliest. So all that is left to generate any big interest in the early rounds of all three cup competitions is the prospect of a tasty local derby to draw in crowds looking to savour a crunch game. Which brings us to this year’s opening round of the Johnsons Paintdrying Trophy, when Notts host their noisy neighbours, Mansfield Town. When I first heard news of the draw, I just thought: What a pity. The two teams will have already played each other earlier in the month in a league match and Mansfield are hardly a ‘glamour’ team. But, thinking on, I realised that this tie actually has the prospect of generating added commitment on the pitch as well as enthusiasm in the stands because, unless the league game results in a draw, the losing side and its fans will be out for revenge and, quite possibly, there will be one or two individual scores to be settled on the pitch as well. So what at first seemed (to Notts fans, at least) a disappointing 1st round JPT draw, may well turn out to be quite a feisty confrontation. I, for one, am looking forward to it! (After-game comment: As we all now know, RM sent out his strongest team at Huddersfield and what a brilliant display of commitment, vision, and ability we were treated to! I consider myself privileged to have been there to witness it.)
  5. Son of Berti

    What lies ahead?

    What a great pre-season it has been! I’ve been to every match and, frankly, I don’t want pre-season to end. With the bitter reflections of last season still fresh in my mind, I have been thrilled by the passing and movement that RM is keen to instil, and that is rapidly becoming this team’s trademark. The early matches amply demonstrated the skills of the new players while also showing that Jimmy Spencer is back to his best although he still has a tendency to drop his head when things aren’t going his way, which has a negative effect on both his own game, and that of his team-mates. To be at his best, he has to turn this force into a desire to do better. Jon Stead caught the eye immediately at Arnold Town and he is definitely ‘a class above’. We can count ourselves lucky to have him. Without exception, the Dutch players have great skills and love to be on the ball. When ‘The Nobster’ comes on, he looks a different player to the hothead that got himself into so much trouble last season. He seems to have leashed those gremlins in his head and instead, his vision and accuracy of long-ball passing must surely now mark him out as a player who hasn’t yet reached his full potential. Sport is as much in the head as it is in natural ability. If any sportsman (or woman) gets his head together, he will perform at his best. It is the difference between being demoralised when things are going wrong, and having the right mindset to understand what needs to change to put them right. As they say in Holland ….. Door wilskracht sterk! (strength through willpower). If LN has truly got his head together now, he is destined to play at a much higher level. He has natural ability and vision in abundance. The team is very attack-minded and as thrilling as this is to watch, fans have become very aware that when we lose possession to a high-pressing team, what is our Achilles heel at present will be quickly and ruthlessly exploited. We haven’t shown the same urgency to track back and form a second line of defence quick enough, thus leaving the back four vulnerable and without support under counter-attack. We hear that RM is still keen to recruit 3 more players. One or preferably two of them must be centre-backs. Alan Smith has started all matches in this position and he brings his uncompromising style to quick effect. But he is no longer the strongest of players and will surely pick up injuries playing the way he does. I am a little concerned that he lacks the discipline to pick out his man quickly enough and close him out. Scot Bennett is very capable of playing the ball out of defence but we will be exposed if he has to miss a game. I am perplexed by Haydn Hollis’ performances. Two seasons ago – to me he was a stand-out player and seemed destined for stardom. But something has gone wrong. He isn’t playing his natural game and his long-distant passing is only marginally more accurate than mine! He can pick a pass out and has good vision, only in the execution is he lacking. I have a feeling that giving him the captain’s arm-band for a period last season was his undoing. Any fool can pick faults, and I’m among the best of them! The clever ones can see what needs to be done to turn things around and I really am at a loss to see what it is that HH has to do to get back to his best. Perhaps put himself under less pressure; just relax and enjoy it, maybe? And, if we need two big strong brutes for centre-backs, who should the third person be? Well my choice would be Steve McLaughlin who looks like he is being ushered to the door marked ‘Exit’ across the river. That man is inventive and is capable of producing magical assists. Mystic Meg I am not and I can’t predict what the season ahead holds for us. Promotion is potential ours but there are some big ifs. If we can shore up the defence. If we gel quick enough to get traction. If we get more protection from referees to allow our natural talent to shine. If we can avoid getting too many injuries in what will surely be a war of attrition over a long, long season. and, If we, the fans, get behind the team, and turn up in numbers to support the lads even (or especially) when things aren’t going our way. Samen, door wilskracht sterk.
  6. FIFA, the global body that controls this beautiful game we know as football, are being investigated for bribery and corruption and it seems that the villains of the piece might be close to the very top echelons of the organisation. If the allegations are proved to be correct, then you have to think the unthinkable and wonder how far down the chain of football administration, the stench of graft will seep. Heaven forbid that we will eventually find that even the administration of our own national game is tainted. There is a well known proverb: “Where there’s muck, there’s brass”. With so much brass swilling about in football now, the scope and opportunity for money to change hands for less than honest purposes is certainly there. Turning the saying around, we could find in FIFA’s case that “Where there’s brass, there’s muck”. Now I’m not suggesting for one moment that evidence of match-fixing will be uncovered although I must admit that last season there were a number of decisions made by match officials that tested my own grasp of reality. The trouble is that an incident on the pitch can look different depending on the angle that it is seen from. Something seen from behind a goal can look quite different to how it is seen from the side-line. I remember one sending off at ML when our player was deemed to have led by the elbow while going up to head a ball. Seen from the view that the referee had, his red card decision was understandable. However when the incident was seen from the side, the referee’s blind side, it was clear that the opposing player had in fact maliciously thudded into the back of our player leading with his own elbow. And with such force, that our player had to throw his arms back to try in vain to keep his balance. A curious case of the aggrieved being deemed guilty. And you have to question what, if any, assistance the referee got from his assistant who would have surely seen things differently. And more recently if the referee had been stood next to, instead of in front of, Laura Bassett when she received an elbow in the face from a French player in the Womens’ World Cup, she would have had no choice but to send off the aggressor. Instead, play continued unchecked, Laura finished up with a real shiner, and the aggressor got off scot-free for an act of aggression which, had it happened in any other public place, would have seen her arrested for assault. So what I’m leading up to is to suggest that if the administrators of our game want the job of the referee to be made easier, then those running the line should be expected to exercise their full responsibilities as assistant referees. They should do exactly what it says on the tin, and assist the referee, telling him (or her) what they are seeing in the game. I find it incredulous that in this, the age of communication, there seems to be precious little communication between not only match officials during a game but also between the referee and the spectators, either during or after a game. I am not a rugby fan but there is one thing about that sport which I really admire and that is the level of communication between the match official and the paying public. The referee explains his rationale over the public address system and, by doing so, takes away a lot of controversy. Not only that but if he is in any doubt, he can call upon video technology to review an incident before he makes his decision to help minimise any doubt. Subsequently the quality of the decision-making in professional rugby is extremely high; much higher than it is in association football. Detractors say that if this level of support was introduced to football, it would slow the game down. But which is the lesser of the two evils? To be forced to suffer bad decisions through a lack of communication, or to have informed decision-making as a result of better communication? I know which I would prefer and I feel sure that referees would not be so vilified if they were encouraged to give their reasons for making controversial decisions. All of which makes me want to question why it is that FIFA refuse to countenance any use of video technology to help referees, or why it is that they do not permit the referees to speak to the press or the public about their decision-making. What is it that prevents FIFA from wanting to give the game greater transparency?
  7. I have a confession to make. I feel sorry for Forest fans. They so desperately want the Cloughie years to return; to be European Champions again. But the facts of the matter are that those days will never be repeated – so long as money falls from the Sky into the lake of professional football to make the big clubs richer, the small clubs poorer, and the gap filled by the ‘also-ran’ clubs, which currently seems to stretch from the middle of the Premiership into the top half of League One, bigger. But let’s leave the fans from across the Trent to dream their impossible dream and, instead ask ourselves a more realistic question. One which can only be both asked, and answered, with rose-tinted specs removed and after swallowing a course of medication prescribed to cure UES (Unrealistic Expectation Syndrome). Are Notts County an ‘also ran’ club or now consigned to become a small club? The last two or three seasons have shown conclusively that to be successful in League One, and then hold head above water in the Championship, the primary requirement of any football club is to have either an oligarch as owner with an ego only slightly smaller than his bank balance, or the income generated by regular 5-figure home-match attendance figures. Preferably both. Members of the jury, as evidence, I lay before you AFC Bournemouth. It is now 20 years since I first moved to Nottingham and became a Pie-head. In that time I have seen the Club fall from second-tier grace and then since zebedee between the third and forth tiers. Sadly, in the same period of time, I have also seen average Meadow Lane attendance figures fall from five figures to lower-half four figures. Sadly, his profligacy has not been supported by a growth in turnstile income and, until fans start returning to watch Notts in greater numbers, I rather fear that our once great football club may well not yet have reached the depths of its descent because even Mr Trew’s apparent willingness to fritter away his money will come to an end if attendances at home matches don’t start to grow. Being cynical – if the expectation of seeing a return on his investment disappears, he will surely call it a day and quit while he shows no sign of winning. While I understand that football is an entertainments business and that the fans will decided whether the entertainment on offer represents a worthy return on their money, I can’t help wondering whether, if the absent fans had attended more than just the last away match of each of the previous two seasons, the Club would still have found itself back in the basement division once again? All the signs, pre-season, are that Ray Trew understands that the fans want to be entertained. To be able to leave Meadow Lane on a Saturday evening feeling buoyed up and thrilled; wanting more. He has chucked what could turn out to be the last throw of his dice by putting up a substantial playing budget and investing in a manager who wants to play a thrilling brand of football that gets bums off seats, let alone on them. We hope that the close-season player dealings will turn out to be astute and that we have a successful season ahead. But….. the final, vital, piece to complete this jig-saw of success is now in the pockets of us, the Notts County fans. If we truly want our club to be successful, then we have to pay our part in making it so. It won’t happen in an empty stadium. Corrupting the final lines of a quite brilliant set of lyrics: “If you want to make Meadow Lane a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change”! Only when we return in numbers to Meadow Lane will our football club start to climb up the league again. The blame game has to stop here. It’s up to us now. So let’s do this Club proud and support it in the truest sense of the word.
  8. Just wanted to say how impressed I am with the latest PONcast. Football is dominated by opinions - some which we agree with, some we disagree with. Some are borne out of ignorance, while others are informed. Regardless, part of the fun of football is reading, listening to, and considering others' opinions. I have to say that in my, er, opinion, the views expressed by the PONcast presenters are valid and well worth considering. I also like the way that even left-of-field opinions expressed by subscribers are spoken about, and treated, with dignity and respect. Keep up the great work, guys. Our football team might be plying its trade in League Two next season, but the PONcasts are, at the very least, of Championship quality.
  9. Just back from watching Mansfield lose 1-4 at home to Bury. Certainly cheered me up after Saturday's game! They are really struggling and it won't surprise me if they drop back into the Conference next season. But what really took me by surprise was some very heavy-handed stewarding with the stewards just looking for people to eject among their own fans, for the slightest reason. In the end, they homed in on their drummer allegedly for making an obscene gesture. We were sat near them as they decided to target him and to make sure that his drum was ejected with him!!!! Clearly the home fans aren't encouraged to create an atmosphere at Field Mill.
  10. Son of Berti

    The Match Officials

    This is a really good addition to the site .... I only wish that we had the twitter account details for the ref who did such an appalling job when we were home to Bristol City and the foul on Gary Liddle went unpunished!!!

About PON

Pride of Nottingham

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.

Support PON

Enjoy our content? Want to help us grow? Your donation will go a long way towards improving the site!


Meet the Team

Chris Chris Administrators
ARLukomski ARLukomski Administrators
super_ram super_ram Global Moderators
DangerousSausage DangerousSausage Global Moderators
Super_Danny_Allsopp Super_Danny_Allsopp Global Moderators

Social Media

  • Create New...

Important Information

Pride of Nottingham uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. To approve, simply continue using the site or click 'I accept' Terms of Use.