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This blog is personal, as a result it’s not your typical read on Notts County and I thought that I should warn potential readers before – if you prefer the regular variety of opinions be sure to have a read of our home page otherwise I would suggest clicking away from this blog. Towards the end of last season I decided to make changes, I wasn’t all that happy with things and as most fans (who know me) will have seen I started using my real name. It was more of a positive change than I had thought, but I was worried about trolls. Despite this I was actually pleased, as I made the change for the right reasons – some fans didn’t know if they should call me Joe or Chris and the confusion really started to impact how I felt inside. I’m not going to dwell on the mental side of my feelings, despite people claiming to understand depression – I find most don’t have the foggiest and take to judging rather than offering support which does help to heal. So, I cast my mind back to the remaining league home games – a point where I started to realise that the regular fans that I grew to enjoy speaking with, well, the numbers had dwindled despite the new ownership. I wanted things to be different, I wanted to feel happier and I realised at this point avoiding things only impacted how I felt. Those people who warned me about others, the idiots who would send me stupid messages and the likes of a certain fan who has received a lot of media attention for being the tool that he is – really take no bearing on me. I ended the 2016-2017 season promising myself that I would try harder to be more sociable, I mean I don’t avoid it but I tend to be busy. I’m not the biggest user of social media, I write my thoughts and feelings – rather than reforming to the standard form, popularity really doesn’t concern me. Yet I did want to try and break some of the anxiety that I felt inside. There’s people who only see the confident, fairly outgoing Chris – who don’t understand remotely why at times I find it hard to even speak. And again this comes back to the ‘judgemental’ side of things, though it is something I have been trying to tackle head on. In my private life, I try to occupy myself as the close season I have fewer things to do and this is the time I fall into traps about what I think about, and how I feel. My wife’s has been a great support, as we have made a lot of home improvements – and things feel homely. The house had been left in a very bad state by the former owners, plus teens and thieves who had vandalised the property and stole all the lead or mental in the house. It’s funny how little things, such as blinds or just having the kitchen in a more finished state changes how you see things – again this is something I felt I would take notice of with match days which is a good release for me. Though I wished my son would attend more games, there’s many who ask about him and it’s not the same but I do respect his decision. This season I feel I’ve been doing the right things, as I use Fridays to focus on my health and the weekend as a way to just to enjoy without the pressure of having to do things. That said, match days are extremely busy for me but if I wanted – I could make it easier. I’m hoping to get back on the road once things settle, I can’t justify spending money away from my family and I really do need to choose which away games I make carefully – fingers crossed I can get to Mansfield as I haven’t yet been to the One-Call Stadium.
The 2016-17 season has been a funny one for me, personal circumstances meant I missed a portion of the Notts County games which took place over late October to mid-January – despite all the on-goings at Meadow Lane and the dire performances I really missed this period. Yet the break was exactly what I needed at the time, but the lengthy spell did leave me feeling drained and worried about my mother. I had been saying throughout the majority of the 2015-16 season that I would get back on the road, whilst I seem to always remember Barnsley as being my last away day – in fact, it wasn’t. My last game prior to Newport was the opening game against Stevenage last term. As the season quickly unwounded, I find myself thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make an away trip this season. For that reason I really wanted to go to Newport despite being told by many opposition fans that it wasn’t ‘a very friendly place to visit’ I decided I would go. After asking JJ to pick me up the ticket, I was quite excited about the prospect of an away day. Sadly, I read some upsetting news on my Facebook feed late Tuesday night which totally flipped my mood but I still decided to go. It was only upon arriving at Monmouth where I actually felt a buzz, it’s a very peaceful location and I took to taking some pictures of the scenery – I will attach some below. Arriving at Newport I quickly got the match day buzz which I missed! After emptying my bag but luckily managing to sneak through security with a thermal bottle with water in (at the time I had forgotten about it), I took to taking some fan pictures. The match started very poorly, I could tell then that the game wouldn’t be one I’d remember for the right reasons. Between snapping further pictures and watching the other stand filled with travelling Notts fans sing amusing songs – I thankfully didn’t fall asleep but I found the first half very boring. Half time was more eventful than I thought it would be, after being asked to take a photo. A Notts fan slipped and his pint was flung straight onto me. After helping the fan up onto his feet, I was quickly asked by another group if I would take their picture but I found the whole event to be funny even if it was at my own expense. I expected the second half to be more lively but I couldn’t be more wrong, it was very similar to the first half in terms of performance. A Notts goal saw us play well for what 10-15 minutes? About the same time Jimmy had on screen in the last episode of ‘Better Call Saul’. I do have to admit, I felt when the chances came that we might actually be able to go ahead. Yet the banter between both sets of fans was funny, it added some much needed entertainment – as I really didn’t see much fight being shown on the pitch. I should also add that I wanted Hartlepool to survive, I enjoyed my two visits to see us play them despite the final results. Neither Newport nor us deserved to win; yet their final goal was class. The away day was enjoyable, yet mostly for the fact we Notts fans know how to have a good time and will make any occasion into something exciting. I’m already looking forward to the new season, I do believe it will be much better than the last three – yet stability will be the key. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for their amazing friendship and support, since dropping my Notts-Joe username things have been much more positive and I enjoy discussing things with people on both Facebook and Twitter. You Pies!
There was a time when I was encouraged to write personal blogs, yet new faces on the website never seemed to appreciate them – however with the minor change to my username I aim to mix things up. It’s a common recurrence that I get the urge to drop my ‘Notts-Joe’ persona, yet for one reason or another I just never did until now. I thought that it might confuse some members who don’t know me in person, yet it’s an never ending escape unless you apply the change and really, why would I want to continue calling myself by it? The little things seemed to mostly discourage me - I wasn’t keen on saying good bye to my old Twitter account, since some dearly lost friends are on it. Yet I have grown very tired of the username, along with the questions I frequently get about why I call myself it. It’s no mystery, it’s a nickname and it’s one which had been given to me at school (mostly due to a wrestler I liked). With the change having been made elsewhere for a number of months now, I felt it was time. Funnily enough my parents, who are a great support to the site(s) I run and the things I aim to do – have never been bothered by the fact I never used my birth name. So from here on, I am simply Chris.
Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest league 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.