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A couple of years ago, Notts County boasted a number of former Manchester United players in Alan Smith, Roy Carroll and Kevin Pilkington. Of those, only Smith is still at Meadow Lane, which has morphed into a bit of a "Newcastle United Old Boys Club" now. Smith also played at St James' Park, while Kevin Nolan and Shola Ameobi also donned the "other" black and white stripes up on Tyneside. Having former Premier League players, individuals whose careers continue to be held in high esteem, at Notts is a huge boost on three fronts - on the pitch, off the pitch, and in the marketing department. (And of course I can't omit Jon Stead from this, even though he's not a former Newcastle man - in fact he played for bitter rivals Sunderland - but he's also a distinguished former PL player with an illustrious career.) On the pitch, the former PL players can read the game fantastically, what with experience gained against playing for and against some of the top sides in England and some of the top players in the world. There is also the psychological boost of having players that have played at the top level that the opposition players will have grown up watching and, although some can step up their game accordingly, others will feel intimidated or perhaps even a bit starstruck. Off the pitch, these players will be a font of knowledge from their years at the top and, alongside ensuring that standards are as high as they can be, will also have a sharp and refined tactical awareness - and of course they can coach their teammates accordingly, as they will be learning from the best. And the final point, that of marketing, has always been quite important but never so much as the present day, when the explosion of social media ensures that millions, even billions, of people can discover and discuss the latest football information at the touch of a button. In this respect, having former Premier League players will generate interest from far beyond the NG postcode and even beyond Britain - the likes of Smith, Nolan, Ameobi and Stead will have fans from Man United, Newcastle, West Ham, Bolton, Blackburn and other big clubs eager to find out more about how they're doing at Notts. When Notts were drawn against Salford in the FA Cup, the game made it on terrestrial largely because of the narrative pitting the side owned by several players of the Class of 92 against a club boasting United alumni. By having an interesting back story, it generates interest and as such will be given the spotlight. Similarly, the club has featured a lot in the national press in recent months, with Nolan on Sky Sports and BBC Sport, Stead doing an interview in the Daily Mail and so on. Obviously the club has done a lot of media-worthy things for itself - the changing rooms for example - but that star element has elevated the club above a lot of other lower-league clubs in the media. In conclusion, the presence of players and coaches that once graced the Premier League has given Notts a massive boost on multiple fronts and, combined with the shrewd ownership and management of Alan Hardy, it's led to the club going upwards both in League Two and in the media spotlight. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
Notts County boss Kevin Nolan was one of the guests on BBC football show MOTD2 Extra on Sunday. Alongside host Garth Crooks, former Everton midfielder Leon Osman and New York Times journalist Rory Smith, he gave his thoughts on a number of football stories, including Manchester United's defeat at Huddersfield Town. On Jose Mourinho's post-match rant at the John Smith's Stadium "Mourinho was very angry with what happened. I'm sure he will have told the team what he was going to say on television. "When you are as big as Man United and results come that way he has a duty to tell the truth. Herrera said the same. They are well rehearsed. "Huddersfield was rocking before the game and the players were up for it. United's players have to realise what to expect. They have to take responsibility." On the Terriers beating United "It shows how much it meant that David Wagner said it was one of his proudest moments. "Huddersfield have set the stall out now. They have to stay at that level. If they do that they will find success. "Wagner will not have had to get his players up for that game. "I remember it when we got promoted with Bolton and beat Man United at Old Trafford. You remember everything you are told to do because you are so up for the game." On West Ham United striker - and former Newcastle United teammate - Andy Carroll "Andy Carroll is a good example of someone who trains differnt to how he plays in games. "He is around in games, 100mph, jumping into people in games but on a cold Monday morning on the training ground he has his hat on, huddling." On Tottenham Hotspur and England youngster Harry Winks "I watched Harry Winks a couple of seasons ago in a game against West Ham. He was a big part of helping Tottenham turn the game around. "Living down there, you hear a lot from Spurs fans who are excited about him. "We are League Two and we have to wait for all the business above us to be done. We get the lads on loan who have not been able to find a League One club. "When you get a gem like Winks, Pochettino has clearly realised he doesn't need to send him on loan and use him in the right way." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
Notts County manager Kevin Nolan has vowed to keep using Alan Smith up front rather than in midfield. The former England international came to prominence as both a striker and as a right-winger during his time at first club Leeds United. However, he was converted to midfield while he was on the books at Manchester United, where he's largely remained in terms of position since leaving Old Trafford. Despite his positional reshuffle, former Newcastle United teammate Nolan used him up front in the Checkatrade Trophy win against Everton Under-21s in midweek. He told the Nottingham Post: “He holds the ball up and he’s got a lovely touch. You can see when he gets into them holes, he can play them through balls fantastically well. “He’s a great lad, and everybody who knows him around the club knows how much it means to him to play games and I thought on Tuesday night it showed again that he was a big performer. “I thought him and Jonathan Forte caused Everton a lot of problems. I thought they linked up really well and in certain patches looked really good. “The goal was a great knock down by Smudge and a great turn and finish by Forte. I was really pleased with their output.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.