- Be sure to share your views with us - by doing so you'll help support the site!
- 7 brand new exclusive Notts County mobile wallpapers
- Notts Season in Focus: 1997-98
- ARLukomski's verdict on Notts County's win over Eastleigh
- Faces of PON: Notts County vs Eastleigh
- Notts Player in Focus: Kyle Wootton
- ARLukomski on Notts County vs Aveley - Through to the last four
- Notts County vs Woking - Not a day for decision making
- ARLukomski's verdict on Notts County's FA Trophy win at Yeovil
- Faces of PON: Notts County vs Chesterfield
- Second half dominance: ARLukomski on Notts County v Chesterfield
1st. Wolves 2nd. MK Dons ------------------------------------ 3rd. Peterborough 4th. Bristol City 5th. Preston 6th. Brentford ------------------------------------ 7th. Sheffield United 8th. Bradford 9th. Notts County 10th Crewe 11th. Gillingham 12th Swindon 13th Coventry 14th Stevenage 15th Leyton Orient 16th Port Vale 17th Tranmere 18th Rotherham 19th Crawley 20th Walsall ------------------------------------ 21st Oldham 22nd Carlisle 23rd Colchester 24th Shrewsbury Please keep tuned for more! Compare | Notts-Joe - WeymouthPIE - Joe Jones - Super Ram - TonyHateley - Special Guest
If we couldn't do anything with arguably the best player in the division in Judge last season, how were we to fare without him and, yet worse, with very little cash to spend? The lack of transfer activity at the start of the summer heightened concern, particularly when a discarded Aston Villa trainee in Malcolm Melvin and an unwanted journeyman in Andy Haworth became our first two signings - and the only two for a while. But suddenly things changed. The arrival of striker Danny Haynes, and the belief Kiwomya and the fans have in him to go and do the business and be that missing marksman we so desired last term, had a lot to do with it. But moreover, impressive performances in difficult pre-season fixtures against Galatasaray, Rayo Vallecano and Ipswich Town shifted lots of the gloom. As did the immediate scoring form of Haynes and more surprisingly Yoann Arquin. He who couldn't be arsed last season has returned from international duty on fire, scoring two absolute belters in his two pre-season appearances to earn draws with Vallecano and Ipswich. Fellow new boys Mark Fotheringham, Mustapha Dumbuya and David Bell have looked assured, while the likes of Bartosz Bialkowski, Dean Leacock and Gary Liddle have picked up where they left off last season - in resolute mode. Suddenly our first eleven - which for the season's opener with Sheffield United should, for me, consist Bialkowski; Dumbuya, LIddle, Leacock, Sheehan; Labadie, Boucaud; Arquin, Campbell-Ryce, Bell; Haynes - looks a decent bet for a play-off push. And suddenly Kiwomya's work in the transfer market commands respect. Especially if he can continue to get out of Arquin the talent he clearly has on a regular basis. Now everyone is looking at the Blades encounter - which has brought even greater excitement as it opens the entire new football season live on Sky Sports on Friday evening - with great optimism. It seems everyone thinks we will win. I, too, am convinced we can get something at Bramall Lane - though most likely a point, which will definitely be a good one. They are under new management, an untested, untried one at that, and will have suffered from great cutbacks after a second successive play-off failure. But the Blades are too big a club to be down for too long and they, along with Wolves, Peterborough, Preston, Bristol City and last season's surprise package Brentford will contest the promotion battle. I also fancy MK Dons to rejuvenate and make a push. As for Notts - I'm still not entirely sure. I've tried to work out an outcome during the course of this article but there are still too many question marks over many at the club. Kiwomya, despite impressing me with his summer business - not least bringing in Mick Jones and Andy Watson to the backroom staff - remains very unproven. It is difficult to know how he will fare with a full gruelling campaign and the notably thin patience of Notts supporters. Also, are the new boys going to be able to step up and replace proven senior players like Hughes, Judge and Bishop? Can Haynes handle the expectation of being the leading man for the first time in his career? There are more, not least how we will fare with one or two injuries as the back-up brigade certainly don't look up to it… in defence, Haydn Hollis, in midfield, Andy Haworth and up top, Enoch Showunmi and the woefully out of form Francois Zoko, inspire next to no confidence. So for once I will stave off a Notts prediction, only to say it will no doubt be fun and games once again.
Sadly now departed for pastures new, Lee Hughes became an icon while at Notts County and his goals in taking us to the League Two title and then keeping us up the following year, allied with his great character, earned him legendary status at Meadow Lane. And there is one game above all that stands out in terms of Hughes’ brilliance for me, and a day that is one of my more memorable supporting Notts. It came during that League Two title season of 2009/10, as the fabled number nine tore poor Burton Albion apart scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 win at the Pirelli Stadium. It took Hughes just nine minutes to leave his mark, with his treble coming within this time – albeit either side of the break. It was Notts’ first action for more than two weeks, coming on Monday, December 28, 2009 – the first action since what turned out to be the only home defeat of the season, against Accrington Stanley on December 12 – Hans Backe’s final act as Magpies boss. So Dave Kevan was in charge at the Pirelli, with Munto Finance long gone, Peter Trembling on the lookout for £25 million of investment, and fans wondering just where the season was heading. Hughes answered in some style bagging his third treble of the season after earlier efforts against Bradford City on debut, and then Northampton Town. I missed the first goal of this one though, along with many Magpies, due to the dreadful over-crowding and probably over-selling of the away end by Albion staff. Latecomers, such as myself due to being at a local pub and then grabbing some chips and mushy peas, were forced to grab what view they could from the walkthrough area at the back of the stand. The views were pitiful, and you could only see part of the pitch. Still, to hear the packed standing area go mad when Ricky Ravenhill struck the Magpies ahead on a bitterly cold afternoon with 13 minutes played was still worth it… and it turned out to be a beautiful volley by the often under-rated midfielder. Steve Kabba found an equaliser for the Brewers six minutes before half-time, beating Kasper Schmeichel, but Notts weren’t to be denied a half-time lead as Hughes grabbed his first in added-time before the break, pouncing on a Karl Hawley flick-on, holding off the defence and calmy finishing past Artur Krysiak. At half-time the rush for refreshments in the away end enabled us to get into the ground itself, and we had prime standing position for the second-half action, bang in the middle of the goal Notts would be attacking. It took just three minutes of the second-half for League Two’s leading goalscorer Hughes to get is 17th of the campaign at that point, taking Craig Westcarr’s past and finishing brilliantly past Krysiak, before rushing to do the ‘Hughesy’ in front of a packed away end – who promptly joined in. His hat-trick came after he rounded Krysiak and was brought down. At that point he was a reliable spot-kick taker and he duly dispatched from 12 yards, sparking more chaos in the away end as Notts fans rushed forward to acclaim their hero. The atmosphere was immense, Burton were shellshocked and the points were Notts’ – 4-1 up after 53 minutes. Hughes had been given stick by the home fans all game – arguably more so than at most places despite this being the norm – and he milked the applause of the travelling army, showing his fingers to illustrate how many goals he had scored to the Albion crowd. And when subbed for Luke Rodgers in the 76th minute, he took his time to wave to all sides of the ground mockingly, to show who was the boss. In truth, he has showed it already. Brilliant.
Keith Curle was on a hiding to nothing as Notts ventured to Portsmouth for the re-arranged League One encounter – and in spite of victory only more causes for concern returned to Nottingham. Pompey are a club in absolute crisis. Ahead of facing the Magpies for the third time this season, having lost in the return at Meadow Lane and in the FA Cup at Fratton Park, they had gone 15 games without a win. Twelve of those had been defeats with the most recent a 3-1 loss at home to the only side below them in the table, the equally woeful Hartlepool. Forget Pompey having been in the Premier League this time two years ago, forget them having won the FA Cup as recently as 2008, they are nothing short of an appalling football club at the minute – and you can only feel sorry for a very loyal group of fans, for it is the off-pitch finances that have crippled their once proud club. So much so that Curle knew he had to win at Fratton Park. He had to recover from Saturday’s first away defeat in his almost year-long tenure, losing 2-1 at Leyton Orient, and start another away run. This time with victory. Nothing else would do. Regardless of Notts’ own disappointing form which has seen the play-offs become a distant dream having figured in the top six for so much of the season, playing Pompey at the moment should result in just one thing – three points. And really by two or three goals. As it was, two came – but only just. It was agonising viewing and listening as the Magpies struggled to not only break down a Portsmouth side with several youth products and short-term contracted players. Not only that, but the hosts were the more threatening for long periods. Notts’ lack of striking options again showed its head as balls were fizzed across the box, and possession well kept, but nothing was showing up top. The almost constant need for a new striker again reared its head as Pompey dealt with the very little attacks mustered by Curle’s men with the ease of a side that had instead gone 15 games without losing. Passing was poor, albeit in difficult conditions, and optimism drained. Finally, Jeff Hughes eased the tension in the 81st minute, before Francois Zoko, at last, rounded things off. There was time for Neal Bishop to foolishly get sent off, incredibly Notts’ seventh dismissal of the season. But three points were secure. Nothing more than that though. It was the very least expected of Curle’s men. Trouble is, the length of time it took to get that first goal, the lack of a goal threat for much of the game and the trouble created by a terrible Portsmouth side in actual fact made this more like a defeat than a victory in some ways. Curle was on a hiding to nothing, and while he got the minimum required, far more questions have to be asked given such a poor performance against arguably the worst team this level has ever seen.