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Jamie Barlow

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  1. Notts County have pulled off an audacious raid on Huddersfield Town by fending off much competition to snap up Jon Stead. Stead’s arrival at Notts sends out a clear message to the rest of the division - that Notts are serious about promotion- with the attacker penning a two-year deal at Meadow Lane following his release by Huddersfield Town. Manager Ricardo Moniz wants his new side to be ruthless in front of goal next season and expects 60 goals from his front line. Moniz has turned his attention to the former England Under 21 international to spearhead the Magpies’ promotion push, and the former Terriers’ striker is keen to repay his new manager’s faith in him. “After speaking to the manager, he sees me as a part of the project of getting the club on the right track and it is brilliant to feel wanted like that”, Stead said. Stead had an almighty season whilst on loan at Bradford City last campaign where he helped the Bantrams to reach the FA Cup semi-finals. Bradford sank Premier League champions Chelsea in the competition and the side were desperate to retain Stead’s services. But in a dramatic turn of events the much-travelled Stead has instead opted for a move to Notts- admitting that it was the ambition shown by Guy Branston, the club’s head if recruitment, which convinced him to join the East Midlands outfit. “The move came through a lot of pestering from Guy Branston. I remember him as a player and didn’t want to let him down. “Guy told me about the project and the club moving forward, first of all getting back into League 1 and kicking on from there. “And speaking to the manager (Ricardo Moniz) and hearing his philosophy, I’m interested to see how things pan out”, he added. The dynamic forward will add muscle to Notts’ attacking armoury and will hope to make Moniz’s hopes a reality by helping Notts to make an immediate return to League 1 next season. Jamie tweets @JBarlow95_
  2. Notts County have this afternoon confirmed the signing of Belgium international Gill Swerts with the player penning a two- year deal at Meadow Lane. The capture of the defensive midfielder is a major statement of intent by Notts- who aim to put an end to last season's misery and make an immediate return to League 1. The educated midfielder has made the trip across Europe and joined Notts on a free transfer from NAC Breda. The 32-year-old's class speaks for itself with the player arriving at Notts on the back of representing his former employers, AZ Alkmaar, in the UEFA Champions League. The player has also represented his native Belgium 17 times at international level. It is testament to County boss Ricardo Moniz's ambitious plans that he has managed to lure the player to Meadow Lane and the shrewdest example of the Dutchman's European contacts- with the player knowing the County gaffer from his time in Holland. The player can also operate comfortably at right- back and has faced numerous elite attackers- with the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Patrick Kluivert having crossed swords with Swerts. Swerts will also plough his much acquired experience and skill into working closely with Notts' academy set- up. The news come just a day after the Magpies secured the club's record shirt sponsorship deal with Ladbrokes, and the arrival of Swerts will add to the excitement generated around Meadow Lane. Jamie tweets @JBarlow95_
  3. Notts County have today made history by securing the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in the club’s history. Ladbrokes, one of the world’s pioneering betting company’s, has agreed to sponsor the Magpies’ kit for two seasons- earmarked as the most lucrative sponsorship deal in the clubs 153- year history. Plans have been drawn up to open a new Ladbrokes retail outlet at Meadow Lane as part of the agreement. Notts County chairman, Ray Trew, told the club’s website: “This is an exciting day for Notts County Football Club and all our supporters, I have been in positive communication with Ladbrokes since they sponsored our Carling Cup Tie against Liverpool in 2013 and I am glad after many months of negotiating to have personally secured this deal”. The obviously delighted Trew added: “We are obviously delighted that a huge Global Brand such as Ladbrokes have put pen to paper in association with us as we enter a new era both on and off the field”. For those that fancy a flutter, the betting company has priced County at 18/1 to become champions of League 2 whilst offering odds of 9/2 for the Magpies to secure promotion to League 1. Jamie tweets @JBarlow95_
  4. Jack Grealish, the former Notts County impresser made the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week when the youthful playmaker was spotted appearing drunkenly sprawled on the streets of Tenerife whilst on holiday with friends. A photo of Grealish emerged on Twitter a week last Sunday which soon went viral as the general public lapped up the news of the highly-rated prospect snapped worse for wear, unconscious on the road by a fellow holiday-maker. Grealish ultimately fell foul to what the journalism industry calls ‘citizen journalism’. This has become prominent since the explosion onto the scene of the social networking websites which allows members of the public to communicate eyewitness video footage and images to the internet, often on the device of a smartphone, which can be hard to distinguish from the objective and somewhat observational journalism of the professional media. It was Grealish then who epitomised this relatively new trend when pictured in a befuddled state, seemingly unconscious after a heavy night partying. Whilst it is the norm for footballers to take to the strip in the close season- the news of the intoxicated antics of Villa’s prized possession will not be what the fans wanted to hear following a season of turmoil which saw the Villains narrowly avoid the drop to the Championship. Grealish was the shining light towards the latter stages of last term following the appointment of the former Spurs boss, Tim Sherwood, by Randy Lerner to succeed Paul Lambert in February, tasked with the duty of fending off relegation to the second tier of English football. Sherwood did just that by nurturing the best out of the Belgian hitman, Christian Benteke, and taking a punt on Grealish- subject to an international duty tug-of-war, with the midfielder yet to commit to either the English or Irish senior teams. The impact of Grealish on the big stage comes as no surprise to Notts’ fans who witnessed the midfielder sparkle whilst on loan during the 2013-2014 season. Grealish was a shrewd acquisition by ex- Magpies gaffer, Shaun Derry, who turned to the rough diamond to escape relegation to League Two just 12 months ago. Whilst the outburst has sent the footballing world into frenzy with fans divided in sympathising with the naïve midfielder’s behaviour and other’s incensed, the reality is that Grealish’s conduct was unprofessional and merits disciplinary action. Despite his tender age of 19, Grealish is an ambassador for one of the biggest football club’s in England and a role model for football fans alike. In any other occupation Grealish would have been unduly disciplined, and as a ‘professional’ footballer there should be no exception. Grealish has ultimately learned the hard way for celebrating wildly and erratically as a result of alcohol abuse which his body was simply not used to tolerating after months of conditioning and dieting designed to maximise his performances at Villa Park. Grealish now faces a meeting with gaffer Tim Sherwood amid the turmoil. It is now up to Grealish to make amends to his manager and fans on the pitch and kick-on from his promising performances evidenced this season. Grealish has recently been the subject of interest from Premier League big boys and money barons, Manchester City and Liverpool, who are looking to profit from the Villa man’s misdemeanours. Grealish is clearly a young player with bags of potential- a major attraction to Liverpool should they lose their own home grown talent, in Raheem Sterling. It is critical that Grealish now remains grounded and produces the goods on the pitch to fulfil his potential and prove his critics wrong. Jamie tweets @JBarlow95_
  5. Guys, Thank you very much for your kind words and in making me feel welcome. I have actually changed my Twitter handle to, @JBarlow95_. The reason is to make my Twitter account seem more professional and not because I've stopped supporting Forest! I have written an article on the ex-Magpies loanee, Jack Grealish, which is due to be uploaded tomorrow! Thanks again, Jamie
  6. Notts County are said to be interested in the former Newcastle United striker Adam Campbell. The Nottingham Post reported on Friday that the Magpies may be willing to offer the 20-year-old forward a lifeline following his release by the Tyneside club. Campbell was once held in high regard by United but failed to make the grade with the Premier League outfit and was let go by the Magpies at the end of the season. Campbell had a fleeting career at St James’ Park which was limited to just five appearances after the striker was shipped out on loan to Carlisle United, St Mirren, Fleetwood Town, Hartlepool United and Gateshead to aid his development. Campbell spent time of loan with Gateshead last term but still managed to bag 12 goals in 30 appearances for United’s under 21s setup and the Geordie-born attacker’s form caught the eye of Premier League rivals, West Bromwich Albion. Albion offered the former England youth international a trial back in April but the striker failed to make a lasting impression on the Baggies who opted against pursuing their interest in the player. However the news of Campbell’s release has alerted the attention of County boss Ricardo Moniz who is keen to bolster his attacking armoury amid the injuries to Ronan Murray and Colby Bishop. It remains to be seen whether Campbell’s ex- Newcastle colleague, Alan Smith, will persuade Moniz to offer the striker a route back into football following the striker’s fledgling career, with the forward yet to live up to his early promise. @JBarlow95_

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