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Found 18 results

  1. The relationship between a great player and the football clubs he plays for is one of the most diverse aspects of football. Some players spend most or all of their career at one club - Jamie Carragher, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville come to mind. Some players will transfer between clubs multiple times, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Nicolas Anelka. And some are in between, who have played for just a few clubs but made enough of an impact at each of them to be loved by each set of fans. Michael Johnson is one such player. Born in Nottingham in 1973, Johnson played for the well-known Clifton All-Whites, a regional youth team whose alumni include Jermaine Jenas and Garry Birtles. In 1991, he made his debut for Notts County, away at Arsenal. It proved a baptism of fire for the then 18-year old, as a tough Gunners team containing stars such as Ian Wright and Tony Adams triumphed 2-0. Johnson also played against Coventry, Norwich, Sheffield United and Manchester City that season. Sadly, it was to be his only season with Notts in the top flight, as the Magpies were relegated that year. The 92/93 season, in the newly rebranded Division One, saw Johnson becoming a first-team regular, playing 37 league games as the Magpies finished 17th in a very tight league, just three points above the relegation zone. Despite being only nineteen, Johnson played with maturity and composure beyond his years, and never gave less than 100%. 93/94 saw Notts perform admirably and finish in seventh, just three points shy of the playoffs. Johnson was once again a permanent fixture in defence, playing 33 league games. The Magpies also made it all the way to the final of the Anglo-Italian Cup, where Johnson faced up to the mighty Gheorghe Hagi, the Romanian who would go on to lead his team to the quarter finals of the World Cup just a few months later. Sadly, the 17,185 inside Wembley saw Brescia lift the Cup after outplaying Notts and winning 1-0. 94/95 was a devastating season for Notts, as Mick Walker was sacked early on, and a succession of managers and unsettling off-pitch turmoil led to poor results on the pitch. Johnson played 27 league games but couldn't stop the team finishing rock bottom, though he did at least get his hands on some silverware by helping Notts win the Anglo-Italian Cup against Ascoli in March. The summer saw Johnson move to newly promoted Birmingham City for around £300,000, and his powerful, swift and committed defending saw the Blues consolidate their position in the First Division. From that first season, the team went from strength to strength each year, finishing higher and higher, as Johnson developed more as a player and added goalscoring to his repertoire. By 98/99, he was indispensable, having played in every league game that season and scoring five times as they made the playoffs, where they lost to eventual winners Watford. This year would also see Johnson earn the first of his twelve caps for Jamaica, coming on as a sub against Sweden in a friendly played in Stockholm on the 27th May. Johnson would experience play-off heartache twice more in successive years, before his team finally nailed it at the fourth time of asking by beating Norwich to finally reach the Premier League. Throughout that long, arduous and often deflating journey, Johnson was always a first team regular. Heartache of a different kind came as the second-tier team made it all the way to the League Cup final, playing in Cardiff against Liverpool. They took the Reds, who would finish the season with three trophies, all the way to penalties, where they sadly lost out in the most erratic and agonising of ways. In a bid to survive their first season back in the top flight, a spate of signings were made at Birmingham, which saw Johnson lose his first-team place. After playing just six games all season, he was allowed to leave, and, remaining local, he signed for Derby County. It didn't take long for him to win a place in the Rams' first team and the fans' hearts, as he played 39 games and scored once, helping Derby survive a tumultous season where they narrowly avoided relegation. Unlike his time at Birmingham, where each season was consistently good and saw the team finish in the top six, Derby were challenging for the play-offs one year and fighting relegation the next. Nevertheless, Johnson was consistently solid and reliable, becoming club captain in 2005/06. The following season, under new ownership and under the tutelage of Billy Davies, Derby cemented themselves into the promotion positions, leading for most of the season before a late drop in form saw them fall into the play-off zone. Johnson was in the first-team picture playing 29 times, although injury problems saw him miss the end of the season, including the winning play-off games which confirmed Derby's place into the Premier League. Another promotion, another set of hearts won over. Because of a change of management and new signings being made in the close season, Johnson found himself out of the first team. Anxious to find the right club at this late stage in his career, the then 34-year old opted for Sheffield Wednesday, joining the club on an initial one month loan in September. He instantly made an impact as he helped the Owls pick up the first points of the season against Hull on 22nd September. Such was his professionalism, class and commitment that his stay was extended to three months, the maximum possible term for emergency loans. Back at Derby, Johnson, in a bit of a limbo, nevertheless showed immense professionalism to do his best for the club, and when he came on for the Rams in a cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday, that rarest of occurrences took place: both teams cheered his appearance and were chanting his name and praising him, a testament to a great professional and great man. Sadly, despite improving the squad and winning the fans' hearts in just thirteen games, a permanent contract at Sheffield Wednesday wasn't to be, as the Owls opted to sign a young Mark Beevers instead. The Owls' loss was the Magpies' gain, and on 29th February 2008, Notts saw the prodigal son return to Meadow Lane. Initially on loan, Johnson slotted straight into the back four and played twelve times, scoring the winner against Rochdale and helping the team narrowly avoid relegation. His final season as a player was with his hometown club, as Notts signed the player on a permanent one year deal. Another tricky season for the club saw Johnson play 29 times, his experience helping the club survive another year in the Football League. His final game came against Dagenham and Redbridge on 25th April 2009. Earlier on in the year, he was offered the chance to become youth team manager the following season, which he duly took up. During the enigma that was the 09/10 season, he temporarily took over the first team reins with Dave Kevan, and during his two matches in charge, he won one and drew one. Sadly - and how many times have I found myself saying the word in this article - things didn't work out at Notts, he was dismissed when Paul Ince was relieved of his duties and replaced by Under 12s coach Brett Adams. Not one to be affected by setbacks, Johnson carried on studying for his coaching qualifications, and in June 2012, he qualified for the prestigious UEFA Pro Licence. In October, he rejoined Birmingham, taking charge of the Under-16s squad in the academy. A campaigner for equality in sport, he demonstrated his coaching techniques in a FA-funded scheme aimed at promoting coaches and managers from minority ethnic backgrounds in August 2012, and in November, he spoke to the BBC about the lack of opportunities for black and Asian coaches, drawing from his own experiences in the field. Johnson has also involved himself in several ambassadorial roles, which include Help Harry Help Others, a charity raising awareness of brain cancer, Birmingham Children's Hospital, and Real United Football Club, a Nottingham-based team set up to reduce substance misuse and related criminal activity amongst young people in Nottingham. In the last two years, Johnson has been an ambassador at Derby, where he carries out a wide variety of roles including coaching, mentoring, assisting corporate clients and media for in-house station Rams TV, as well as a board member at the League Managers Association and a founder member of On Board and Sports People's Think Tank, and his latest role - manager of Guyana. A tireless, inspirational man throughout his whole career in every venture he's been involved in, few players are as cherished and revered by so many different clubs, fans and people as Michael Johnson. What did you think of Michael Johnson when he was at Notts? Do you have any stand-out memories of him? Let Pride of Nottingham know by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  2. Over the years, Notts County have had some fantastic forwards on their books. From Tom Keetley in the early 30s to Mark Stallard in the 2000s via the likes of Jackie Sewell, Tommy Lawton, Tony Hateley and Les Bradd, every Notts fan you speak to will always have that one standout striker they remember bagging the goals for the Magpies. Without a doubt, the last of the great Notts strikers - as of 2017 - is Lee Hughes. In his four years at Meadow Lane, he elevated himself to cult status with an impressive goal return and also a trophy, a rarity in recent years for the club. Born on 22 May 1976 in Smethwick, West Midlands, Hughes was snapped up by West Bromwich Albion as a schoolboy from ages 11 to 15, although he was not offered a youth contract by the club. Despite suffering the disappointment of not being taken on, he did not give up on his dream - he was taken on by semi-professional outfit Kidderminster Harriers, who were playing in the Conference at the time. Nowadays, many clubs in the non-league are professional, but 20 years ago it was a rarity, so Hughes also held down a part-time job as a roofer as he juggled his ultimate goal with the need to pay the bills. As it turned out, Hughes was a sensation in the non-league, scoring 34 goals in the 1996/97 season and bagging 70 in 139 games overall for the Harriers. This led to West Brom, the club that had released him, eagerly taking him on board again, paying the Aggborough outfit an initial £200,000 - which rose to £380,000 after incentives - for his services. Hughes, a lifelong Albion fan, set about repaying the Baggies for taking another chance on him, and between 1997 and 2001, he scored 79 goals in 156 appearances, with the 1998/99 season yielding 32 goals which made him the country's top scorer and the 2000/01 season seeing his strike partnership with Jason Roberts fore the club to the Championship playoffs. In August 2001 Hughes was sold to Coventry City for a then club record transfer fee of £5,000,001 and he carried on his rich vein of form with 14 goals in 40 games, including a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Crewe Alexandra. However, in the season that he was away, West Brom won promotion to the Premier League, and the lure of his beloved club saw him return to the Hawthorns once again for £2.5m, giving him the chance to prove himself in the top flight. Hughes's third stint at West Brom proved mixed as he failed to score a single Premier League goal that season, the club tumbling back into the First Division, and he was also criticised by teammates who claimed he was not pulling his weight - he responded by scoring 12 goals in 36 games the following season to send the Baggies up again into the top flight. During the 2003/04 season, Hughes fell afoul of the law after he lost control of his car on 23 November and collided with another vehicle, leading to one death and two injured. Hughes and his passenger left the scene and turned themselves in to the police 36 hours later. On 9 August the following year, Hughes was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. His West Brom contract was immediately terminated, and Hughes would go on to serve three years of his sentence before being released. Upon leaving prison on 20 August 2007, Hughes issued a public apology, in which he said he made "dreadful mistakes and decisions that will live with me for the rest of my life." Hughes signed for League One club Oldham Athletic as he set about rebuilding his career, and during that time he scored 25 goals in 55 games, while he spent time on loan at Blackpool in 2009. At the end of the 2008/09 season he was released by the Latics, and his status as a free agent coincided with a remarkable turn of events at Notts, who snapped him up on a two-year contract on the same day that Sven-Goran Eriksson arrived at the club as director of football. Hughes's career at Meadow Lane got off to a flying start as he scored a hat-trick on his debut in a 5-0 win over Bradford City on the opening day of the season, and claimed two more three-goal hauls against Northampton Town in September and against Burton Albion in December. As the season went on, the initial euphoria at the club then turned to turmoil as the Munto takeover turned out not to be the incredible benefaction it purported to be. Hughes, however, kept his head down and ultimately saw Notts over the finishing line as League Two champions, his 30 league goals making him the first Magpies player to achieve that amount since Tommy Lawton 60 years prior. By the time the 2010/11 season began, Notts had a new owner and, with things seemingly more stable, Hughes signed a one-year extension to his contract that would see him at Meadow Lane until the summer of 2012. The Magpies successfully staved off relegation in 10/11, with Hughes contributing 16 goals in 37 appearances. Notts being Notts, there was to be another sterling moment coming up, as Juventus invited them to take part in a friendly to inaugurate their new stadium in September 2011, and became the first opposition player to score there as he grabbed County's goal in a 1-1 draw watched by the whole world. Sadly Hughes's time at Notts would come to an acrimonious end as then-manager Keith Curle opted not to keep him as first-choice, with Yoann Arquin preferred in the role instead. This meant that Hughes decided to up sticks in search of first-team football, and on 7 January 2013, his contract was terminated by mutual consent. Port Vale was his next port of call, signing a contract until the end of the season, and his goals helped the Valiants to promotion into League One, ensuring his deal would be extended until 2014. Hughes's later years as a professional footballer saw him also turn out for Forest Green Rovers, Ilkeston, Worcester City, AFC Telford United and former club Kidderminster. In 2017, he rocked up at Worcester as both player and joint-manager alongside John Snape, but at present he is back to just playing and the lucky club to have his services is Halesowen Town, having joined in March 2018. Notts County fans have not had much to smile about this century, it has to be said, but for one season, the Magpies were utterly sensational, and for that campaign, Lee Hughes was at the centre of it, which is why he is so highly revered by the Black and White Army. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni 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.
  3. Many notable players have turned out for Notts County over the years. Some, who turned out for the club in the decades following its creation have been virtually committed to folklore, with the occasional grainy black-and-white photo. The club's longest-ever serving player, early 20th century goalkeeper Albert Iremonger, falls into this category. Some, like post-war prodigy Tommy Lawton, may be remembered by the likes of our grandparents or parents. The further we go through the decades, the more likely it is that the younger generations may have a recollection of them, either through our older relatives or first-person. In terms of recent players, that is, those who have played for Notts County in the 21st century, there are few more lauded by fans than the man I'm writing about now. You ask a few dozen twenty-something and thirty-something Notts fans about who their favourite player is, and chances are, a sizeable amount will say "Mark Stallard". Stallard was born in Derby in October 1974, and began his career with local team Derby County, signing schoolboy terms in 1991. During those fledgling years, he made over 30 appearances for the Rams, as well as being sent out to gain experience at Fulham and Bradford City. He was on Derby’s books until January 1996, when the Baseball Ground outfit – the club moved to Pride Park the following year – accepted a bid from the Bantams in the region of £110,000 for the then 21-year-old striker. Stallard etched himself into the Bradford fans’ hearts when he scored the second goal in the club’s Second Division play-off final victory against Notts County of all teams, just four months after joining the Valley Parade outfit. With the Yorkshire club in the First Division, Stallard spent some time on loan at Preston North End, before being sold to Wycombe Wanderers, then of the Second Division, in March 1997. His time with the Chairboys was fruitful, netting on average a goal every three games in the league. Eventually came his move to the mighty Magpies in the spring of 1999 for the princely sum of £10,000, and though the club was going through some tumultuous times, Stallard remained a shining beacon of light throughout his entire spell at Meadow Lane, scoring 67 goals during his five years with Notts. His manager at Meadow Lane, Billy Dearden, said Stallard helped the club through some dark times. "We went into administration for 18 months, and it was only because of people like Stallard that we kept going," he told the BBC. "He was a top man to work with. He was a very good trainer, and most importantly, he was a goalscorer. He could have probably played at an even higher level." Stallard was rewarded for his exploits at Meadow Lane by being named the club’s player of the year and players' player of the year in 2003, after scoring 25 goals as Notts battled against relegation and financial adversity during the difficult 2002–03 season. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and so too did Stallard’s stay at Notts County, as he decided to up sticks and move to Barnsley. Things didn’t quite work out for the striker at Oakwell; after 15 appearances, he was allowed to go on loan to Chesterfield, before making a return to Meadow Lane in February 2005. After his second spell at Notts came to an end, Stallard moved to Shrewsbury Town at the start of the 2005-06 season, and stayed there for a year, before again upping sticks for another return to the East Midlands, this time with Lincoln City, where he hooked up with former youth teammate Adie Moses. His time at Sincil Bank was fruitful, the first few months yielding seven goals and yielding the striker the League Two Player of the Month award for September 2006. Stallard spent two years with the Imps, scoring 17 goals in 66 league appearances, but with his second season being affected by injuries and suspensions, he was let go by the club at the end of the 2007-08 season. He decided to remain in the East Midlands alongside Moses as they hooked up with Mansfield Town, and for a short period of time, the duo were made caretaker managers of the Conference club and maintained a 100% record of two wins in two games. Stallard then moved to Corby Town at the end of his contract with Mansfield, after being impressed by the club's ambition, but with the striker looking to forge a career in financial advising – a shrewd investment considering his footballing career was in its twilight he decided to leave the Northamptonshire outfit, citing an unwillingness to draw a wage from the club if he could no longer produce his best football for the team. It proved to be a gesture that drew praise from the Blue Square North side's manager Graham Drury, who said: "I wish I could work with more people as honest and professional as Mark Stallard.” And in one short sentence, Drury described Stallard’s career in a nutshell. An honest, hard-working, professional, skilled player, one who played his best football for Notts County and kept the club smiling during testing times. Luckily for the Notts faithful, Stallard continues to be heavily involved with the Magpies, co-commentating on the club's matches for BBC Radio Nottingham alongside Charlie Slater, having previously done so with the legendary Colin Slater, and regularly offering his footballing services for charity games linked with the club and around the East Midlands. His day job, meanwhile, sees him managing his own financial advice firm. Mark Stallard, you are a Notts County legend, and a proud inductee of Pride of Nottingham’s Notts Alumni! Discuss Mark Stallard's career and any memories you have of him by signing up to Pride of Nottingham, visiting the forum, and joining the conversation.
  4. Born in Kilmarnock on 28 December 1954, Iain McCulloch began his footballing journey by coming through the ranks at local club Hurlford United. He impressed with the Ford and in 1973 was scouted and signed by the big club in the region, Kilmarnock FC, where he spent five years. A versatile player who could play on the wing and up front, he made 115 appearances and scored 14 goals for Killie. In April 1978, McCulloch became Notts County's then record signing when the Magpies parted ways with £80,000 for his services. McCulloch's debut came against West Ham on August 19 that year and he made an immediate impact with two goals, though he couldn't prevent Notts from losing 5-2 at Upton Park. It wasn't a one-off - he would score 18 goals in his first two seasons with the club in the old Division Two and ended the 1979-80 campaign as the Magpies' top goalscorer. McCulloch formed a formidable partnership with Trevor Christie and together they fired Notts into Division One, Christie scoring 14 goals and McCulloch 11 goals. In their first game in Division One, Notts faced English champions Aston Villa at Villa Park. Despite the magnitude of the task, which included the Villans parading the trophy before the game, the Magpies went on to stun the champions in front of 30,097 fans, McCulloch scoring a superb goal in a 1-0 win. The Scot ended up scoring 16 goals from 40 appearances, including a hat-trick away at West Bromwich Albion on March 24, as Notts finished 15th in the standings. Notts continued their impressive spell in the top flight the following season with another 15th-placed finish, McCulloch scoring 10 goals from 34 appearances. The following season, however, proved to be McCulloch's last when he suffered a badly broken leg in a collision with Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Bailey, which sadly proved to be the end of his professional career. McCulloch was given a testimonial by Notts on October 23, 1985 and was presented with the Former Players’ Association Achievement Award at their 16th Annual Dinner in 2014. In total, McCulloch made a total of 215 league appearances for Notts, scoring a total of 51 goals, a superb tally both in terms of service to the club and goal return, for which we are proud to have him as one of Pride of Nottingham's Notts Alumni! Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni legends piece 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.
  5. Every remarkable Notts County team over the years has comprised of quality players in every position of the pitch, and as arguably the most important one in any squad, the goalkeeper slot has also been filled by some great names at Meadow Lane. From Albert Iremonger in the early 20th century to the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Bartosz Bialkowski in the 2010s, via Jimmy Sirrel's protege Raddy Avramovic in the early 80s, every generation of Notts fans will fondly remember at least one quality name in between the sticks. The man who occupied this role during County's last truly stellar period, in which they last graced the top flight, is Steve Cherry, a player and individual who remains loved by everyone involved with the Black and White Army. Born on 5 August 1960 in Nottingham, Cherry started his career across the A52 at Derby County, signing schoolboy forms as a 15-year-old. Three years later he put pen to paper on a professional contract and made 77 appearances for the Rams between 1978 and 1984, also spending a short time on loan at Port Vale between 1980 and 1981. While at the Baseball Ground, he was voted the club's player of the year in 1983. Cherry then enjoyed a two-year spell at Walsall, where he made 71 appearances, and Plymouth Argyle, where he played 73 times - and picked up the second player of the year award of his career, in 1988 - and while on the Pilgrims' books he also had a short stint on loan at Chesterfield. In January 1989, a little-known manager by the name of Neil Warnock joined Notts County, and one month into his tenure, his new side lost 3-0 at Chesterfield, who had Cherry in goal. Just a week later, the Nottingham-born goalkeeper's registration was sold from Plymouth to Notts, whose goalkeeper at the time, Mick Leonard, went to Saltergate. The fee to sign Cherry was £70,000, but Notts more than got their money's worth as the goalkeeper made the number 1 shirt his own, and his time at the club coincided with a meteoric rise through the leagues. County narrowly missed out on the Third Division playoffs that year, but put it right the following season, finishing third and going all the way to the final, where Cherry kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers at Wembley which took them into the second tier. The following year they repeated the feat, finishing fourth in the Second Division to qualify for the playoffs, and Cherry was once again impervious in goal as they saw off Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 in their second trip to Wembley in just as many years. 1991 also saw arguably Cherry's greatest ever game, putting in what was deemed a "heroic performance in a 1-0 win over top-flight Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup, a series of outstanding saves keeping the Citizens out as Gary Lund struck a winner for Notts late on. Despite the 1991-92 season not going according to plan for Notts, with relegation back to the second tier after just one year in the First Division, Cherry nonetheless impressed in between the sticks, and was named as the club's player of the year that season for his efforts - the third of his career. All in all, Cherry made 266 appearances for the Magpies - including two more games at Wembley, in the 1994 and 1995 Anglo-Italian Cup finals - by the time of his departure to Glenn Roeder's Watford in July 1995, where he made just four appearances as deputy to Kevin Miller before linking up with former club Plymouth, reuniting him with Warnock once again. That season, Cherry helped the Pilgrims reach the Third Division playoffs, and much like his time at Notts, he would once again find himself on the winning side at Wembley as the Devon club won promotion with a 1-0 win over Darlington, Cherry keeping another clean sheet at England's national stadium. The twilight of Cherry's professional career saw him turn out for Rotherham United and Rushden & Diamonds, before several brief non-contract spells at Mansfield Town, Stalybridge Celtic (on loan), Oldham Athletic, and Lincoln City. He then made several appearances for a number of non-league sides - Kettering, Stalybridge Celtic, Kidsgrove Athletic and Belper Town - before officially hanging up his boots (and gloves). Cherry went on to work for Lincoln and Macclesfield Town in a coaching capacity, but left the latter in May 2010 to undergo heart surgery, from which he thankfully recovered. A man whose contributions for Notts County are worthy of a place in the club's hall of fame, Steve Cherry is a true Magpie legend. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni piece 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.
  6. As we know all too well, a footballer's credentials for his club do not always translate into international recognition. And the England squad is littered with such examples over the years. Take Matt Le Tissier. One of the most talented players the nation has ever produced, he simply wasn't given the chance to do for the Three Lions what he did with Southampton. Likewise Chris Sutton, one half of the SAS strike partnership at Blackburn Rovers, was not really considered by England and only won one cap. And the same goes for managers - although praising Brian Clough is done so through gritted teeth on this here website, nobody can deny that he was overlooked by England as both a player (he was a prolific forward in his playing days) and as a manager. But in all fairness, this has been going on for the last century. Between 1905 and 1925, Notts County had on their books arguably the finest goalkeeper in the country, Albert Iremonger, but he never won a single England cap. Born in Wilford on 15 June 1884, he was one of three siblings, alongside older brother James and younger brother Harry. Needless to say, the Iremonger brothers were blessed genetically. All of them grew up to be around 6'5" in height, which is considered very tall even nowadays, never mind a century ago when people were considerably shorter. Indeed, they all became leading footballers of the time, with James playing 301 times for Forest, while Harry turned out 11 times for the Reds, and Albert and James also played cricket for Nottinghamshire. With regards to Albert, he began with local club Nottingham Jardines Athletic before signing for Notts in 1905 and making his debut against Sheffield Wednesday on April 1. Seen as a giant with "hands like the claws of a JCB", Iremonger's physique was effectively the template for many future goalkeepers to this day - tall, athletic, strong and imposing, if a little on the skinny side. Think Thibaut Courtois. And another common goalkeeping trait we see nowadays is temperament - they say you have to be crazy to be in goal, or at the very least display a bit of fire, and indeed, Iremonger was well known to be outspoken on the pitch. He would often leave his goalmouth to argue decisions made by match officials, sometimes heading all the way up to the centre circle to do so. If you think this would be a bit excessive nowadays, just imagine how he would have been deemed a century ago, in a much more gentlemanly era. Indeed, this fiery temperament is what supposedly stopped Iremonger from ever winning an England cap. The Arsenal goalkeeping great Bob Wilson recalled a story about Iremonger, as quoted in The Telegraph: "Iremonger took a penalty and the kick hit the crossbar with such force the ball went back over his head. Iremonger, a lanky stick insect, then raced back to retrieve the ball and in doing so struck a perfect shot into the top corner of his own goal." There is even an anecdote which claims that, in a 1912 game against Arsenal, he wasted time sitting on the ball in the middle of the game. The referee tried various things, the last hope was to scare him away with a firework (yes, you read that right) but it failed, and the game was abandoned. However, he also had a kindly side - another Telegraph article, which like the above picture, calls him Albert Ironmonger, claimed he "repelled opposing forwards simply by looking at them and then tossed dolly mixtures to kids in the crowd like a favourite uncle." But while personality and anecdotes are subjective, Iremonger's stats in the game are undisputable (well, for the most part, as you're about to read on). He was the Magpies' first-choice goalkeeper for 20 years, played a total of 601 games for them - a record unbroken to this day - and played in over 200 consecutive league and cup games (different sources specify different amounts, but the below cigarette card lists it as 204, so let's go with that). His exceptional performances earned him a Football League cap in 1912 (back in the days where you'd literally win a cap which could be placed on your head). When the First World War broke out, Iremonger served in the Footballer's Battalion, a colloquial term for the men who were contracted to football clubs - they were originally refused permission to join the Army but the clubs relented under media pressure - and fought under the badge of the Middlesex Regiment. Iremonger fought alongside brother Harry, and both brothers survived the war. In 1925, Iremonger's time at Meadow Lane came to an end, and a year later, the 42-year-old became Lincoln City's oldest ever player. Although he was a short-term signing, he impressed in his 35 appearances for the club until 1927, after which he retired from the game. Later in life, Iremonger became a landlord, first of the Cremorne in the Meadows and later the Ferry Inn in his native Wilford. Unfortunately, tragedy was to strike during the Second World War when his son, 1920-born Albert Harvey Iremonger, was killed in action in 1943 aged just 23. Iremonger's story ends on 9 March 1958, when he passed away aged 73, but his legacy carries on to this day - the road behind Meadow Lane is named after him. Sure, he may not have been able to make his mark with England, but let's face it - his place in Notts County and Nottinghamshire sporting history is 100 percent assured. He lived all his life in the region, and he will forever be remembered as a prodigal son of Nottinghamshire. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni feature article about Albert Iremonger 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.
  7. The word "legend" is bandied around all too lightly nowadays. But if you ask any Notts County fan to name one individual and one individual only who deserves the tag of "legend", chances are they will name Jimmy Sirrel. Born on 2 February 1922 in Glasgow, James Sirrel's professional football journey began when he was 24, when he joined Celtic in 1946. He made just 13 appearances in three years before joining Bradford Park Avenue in 1949, where again he found game time limited, playing just 12 matches. In 1951 Sirrel joined Brighton & Hove Albion, where he made 55 appearances before signing for Aldershot in 1954, and he retired from playing in 1957. Modest a footballing career as it may have been, Sirrel's coaching career would be anything but, as he moved to Brentford as trainer in 1965 before becoming caretaker manager in February 1967. After being appointed to the role full-time, Sirrel spent two full seasons at the helm of Brentford, but soon enough, he would up sticks to Nottingham, where his career would go to dizzying new heights. On 19 November 1969, Sirrel entered the Meadow Lane gates for the first time as he would become the manager of Notts County, a team struggling in the Fourth Division. From previous managers Jack Wheeler - who would serve as his assistant - and Billy Gray, Sirrel had inherited a team including Don Masson, David Needham, Bob Worthington and Les Bradd, and he set about reinvigorating the players and the team. Sirrel's first season in charge of the Magpies ended with a respectable seventh-placed finish, but this was only a precursor to what was to come as, the following season, the team stormed to the Fourth Division Championship. Notts boasted a mean defence which would concede just 36 goals that season, while up top, the front line scored an average of 2.47 goals per game. By no means had Notts reached their limit - the following season, promotion to the Second Division was missed by just three points, and even though 1972-73 began slowly for the Magpies, sititng 16th by the end of the year, they would lose just twice more en route to second place and a spot in the Second Division. Already Sirrel had transformed Notts from fourth-division strugglers to a side punching their weight in the second tier, and when he decided to try his luck at top-tier Sheffield United in 1975, his place as a Magpies legend was already assured. Unfortunately for Sirrel, the Blades role would not go to plan as they were relegated that season and, with little money to spend, was unable to stop the side mounting a promotion challenge - but he still made his mark by designing the United badge that's currently being used today. Eventually, Sirrel opted to return to Notts - who were struggling to avoid relegation back into Division Three - in 1977, and breathed new life into the club by saving them from the drop. It took a while to get Notts back up to scratch, but the crowning moment came in 1980-81 when a 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge gave the Magpies top-flight football for the first time since 1926. Finishing 15th in his first season, Sirrel inspired his team to emphatic wins over Aston Villa, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United. In 1982, Sirrel became general manager, with Wilkinson taking over as boss, but he was back in the dugout in 1985 with Notts on the brink of back-to-back relegations under Larry Lloyd. Unfortunately, he was unable to prevent the drop, but did manage to halt the free-fall that County were in by consolidating in the Third Division for two more seasons, before retiring at the end of the 1986-87 season, eighteen years after he arrived at the club, his name in the club's annals assured. Sirrel was a regular spectator at Meadow Lane beyond his retirement and had the County Road Stand named after him, which he described as "a bloody honour" upon receiving the call from Derek Pavis. He was even called back into the dressing room and onto the pitch to boost spirits when Notts nearly slipped out of the Football League in 2005, such was his esteem at the club. On 25 September 2008, Sirrel sadly passed away aged 86, which led to an outpouring of grief from the Notts community and beyond. His funeral, on 7 October, was attended by fans and fellow peers from the world of football, who turned out to pay their respects. Jimmy Sirrel is the epitome of a Notts County legend, and his name continues to be chanted by the Black and White Army today, testament to just how revered he is at NG2. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni 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.
  8. Since its inception, Notts Alumni has provided an interesting look at the careers of renowned football players who have at some point worn the black and white stripes of Notts County. Sometimes they’ve covered professionals who began or flourished at Meadow Lane and are currently still active (Kelvin Wilson, Kasper Schmeichel). Other examples regard veteran players who are in their professional twilights or even semi-retired (Mike Edwards), recent retirees (Mark Draper, Michael Johnson) or even legends from yesteryear (Tony Hateley, Raddy Avramovic, Les Bradd). Today's piece is provided for you with a heavy heart, because it relates to a former Notts player who is sadly no longer with us. Richard Butcher was born on the 22nd January 1981 in Northampton, and came through the youth ranks of his local club Northampton Town. Though he was promoted to the senior team in 1999, the manager who originally put him forward, Ian Atkins, was dismissed and replaced with Kevin Wilson early on in Butcher’s maiden season. The new head coach never picked him, and so the young midfielder left without making a single appearance. Staying in Northamptonshire, he signed for Brian Talbot’s Rushden and Diamonds, then of the Football Conference, but again, didn’t get a game, and so moved clubs again, this time to Kettering Town of the Southern League. Finally, he was gifted regular first-team football with the Poppies, who had been relegated from the Conference the season prior, and helped them back into the highest level of non-league football thanks to his 13 goals in 44 appearances, a great tally for a midfielder. His next move was a year later to fourth-tier Lincoln City, joining up with Keith Alexander’s Imps in November 2002. He helped the club reach three successive play-offs between 2003 and 2005, but sadly, Lincoln weren’t able to make the step up to the Second Division. All in all, Butcher made 104 appearances for the Midlands club, scoring a modest 11 goals in that time. Despite the Imps not being promoted, Butcher made the step up the leagues anyway, as he signed for third-tier Oldham Athletic. His time with the Latics was mixed, playing the majority of games in the 2005-06 season, but being sent on loan for a month back to Lincoln City, and leaving the Greater Manchester club at the end of the season. He reunited with Keith Alexander at Peterborough United; again, he played part in most of the team’s games in 2006-07 (43), and again he left after only one season. Then came his spell with Notts County. Snapped up by Ian McParland at the start of the 2007-08 season, the club had just come off a relatively decent season, finishing in 13th place in League Two and claiming three League Cup scalps in Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Southampton, and were looking to build on this after very nearly going extinct. As it was, the next two years would prove to be the most testing of the club’s history from a footballing point of view. They survived the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons by the skin of their teeth. However, Butch was a shining light in a pit of darkness. He was a great leader, physical and commanding, knew how to control the game, and helped out in defence. And on top of all that, he also scored some brilliant goals, and frequently; his tally of 18 goals in 80 games, or roughly a goal every four games, is better than some of the strikers we’ve had at the Lane in recent years. Were it not for him, we may be talking about a club that used to be called Notts County, which was relegated from the Football League and eventually wound up. It’s a shame that Butcher didn’t stick around for the silly season of Sol, Sven and Schmeichel, but he made the decision to return to his beloved Lincoln in the close season, signing a two-year deal at Sincil Bank. Sadly, as it often had been in his career, changes took place at the club, which destabilised things. This time round, manager Peter Jackson, who signed him, was replaced by former Blackburn Rovers striker Chris Sutton in the hotseat, and the Premier League winner seldom gave Butcher a game. Once again, it was time to up sticks and head off. Butcher’s final club, his eighth in 11 years, was Macclesfield Town. He signed for the Cheshire club in February 2010. Sadly, tragedy struck the Silkmen and the town when manager Keith Alexander, who had been such an influential figure in Butcher’s life and who had signed him several times, including for his most recent club, suddenly died of a brain aneurysm a month later. The midfielder signed a two-year deal with Macclesfield in May 2010 after the expiry of his Lincoln contract, joining up with the Silkmen squad as a bona fide permanent player in July. His final game was on the 3rd January 2011 against Rotherham United. Just a week later, Richard Butcher passed away at his home in Swinton, Salford. He was 29 years old. The death shocked the footballing community. Tributes came pouring in from people within the English game, as they were forced to come to terms with a second premature loss in the space of a year. The next match for Macclesfield Town, an away game at Burton Albion originally scheduled for the 15th January, was postponed in respect to Butcher and Macclesfield Town. Butcher's shirt number, 21, was retired as a mark of respect. On the 22nd January 2011, at Macclesfield's next home game, a minute's applause was heard before the game and 30 white doves were released, to represent Butcher's 30th birthday. Family, friends and fans paid tribute to Butcher at Lincoln City's Sincil Bank stadium on the 2nd February 2011. A private service was then held at Lincoln Crematorium service following the thanksgiving service at the stadium. A coroner's verdict delivered in June 2011 determined Butcher's death to have been caused by the heart condition cardiac arrhythmia. Similar cardiac issues have claimed the lives of a number of professional football players over the years, sometimes on the pitch during a game. A year on, bronze memorial plaques featuring Butcher and Alexander arm in arm were unveiled at Sincil Bank and Moss Rose. It’s been seven years this week since Richard Butcher passed away at the age of 29, but he will always be remembered by all who knew him or knew of him, as a Notts County player, as a professional footballer, and as a great person. Thanks for the memories Butch!
  9. Tommy Johnson, born in Gateshead on 15 January 1971, knew he wanted to play for Notts County from his first trial at the club as a teenager. In a 2013 interview at the annual Notts County Former Players' Association dinner, where he was presented with an Achievement award, he spoke of how he fell in love with the Magpies. “I was 13 and I came down for trials and the first training session was with Jimmy Sirrel and that was the sort of club it was,” he said. “All the players made you feel so welcome and, although my family wanted me to stay at home and play for Newcastle, I knew I wanted to play here and I’ve been here ever since. “My time here was great and I couldn’t have had a better start to my career.” Johnson joined Notts in 1987 as an apprentice after leaving school and such was his talent that he was a first-team regular by the end of the decade. His prolific goalscoring helped Notts climb from the third tier to the First Division between 1989 and 1991, and in total he scored 57 goals in 149 appearances. In 1992, Johnson left Meadow Lane and moved down a division to Derby County in a £1.3m deal. His time at the Rams was fruitful as he claimed 30 goals in 58 appearances, but two playoff defeats in three seasons later, he decided to up sticks again, joining Aston Villa in 1995 and making his debut in the Premier League. Johnson's future at the highest level looked promising as he scored four goals in 14 league games to help Villa stay in the Premier League. However, he found his first-team opportunities limited as manager Brian Little signed Serbian striker Savo Milosevic, and Dwight Yorke was converted from a winger to a striker. In 1996–97, Johnson was still unable to displace Yorke or Milosevic, managing just 20 league games and four goals, before he joined Scottish giants Celtic for £2.4mi on 27 March 1997 – transfer deadline day. Despite seeing his career at Parkhead plagued by injury, he enjoyed some success at the club, including scoring the goal that won the 2000–01 Scottish Premier League title, and scoring in the 2000 Scottish League Cup final win over Aberdeen. He had also collected a title medal in 1997–98. At Celtic, he played under managers Wim Jansen, Jozef Venglos, John Barnes, Kenny Dalglish and finally Martin O'Neill, but managed just 35 league games and scored 18 goals. During his time at Celtic, Johnson was briefly loaned out to Everton in the autumn of 1999, where he played three times in the Premier League but failed to score. A brief spell at Sheffield Wednesday followed before Johnson joined Kilmarnock and then Gillingham in December 2001. After two seasons at Gillingham, Johnson joined Sheffield United but only made one appearance there before moving on to Scunthorpe United. During his time at the Iron he was loaned out to Tamworth, finally joining them on a permanent contract and staying there until the summer of 2006, when he joined Midland Football Alliance club Rocester. After hanging up his boots, Johnson went into coaching and ended up rejoining Notts as part of the coaching staff under the management of Ian McParland on 1 November 2007, where he stayed until 2011. Following on from his coaching spell at Meadow Lane, he worked at the Irish Football Association as a scout between January 2012 and August 2013, before a spell as Senior Overseas Scout at Cardiff City. Johnson then became a coach educator for UEFA A and B licences at the IFA before taking a job as the head of player recruitment at Blackburn Rovers, where he continues to work today. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni feature on Tommy Johnson 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.
  10. Pedro Richards was born on 11 November 1956 in Edmonton, London, to a British father and a Spanish mother. When he was young, he was taken with his mother to live in the northern Spanish town of Laguardia until the age of 11, when they moved to Nottingham. Richards's footballing skills were noticed by the Notts County scouts and he was duly taken on as an apprentice by the club before signing professional papers in November 1974. His debut for the then-Second Division side came shortly after his birthday, on Saturday 23 November, under the tutelage of the great Jimmy Sirrel, though it proved a baptism of fire as Notts lost 3-0 away at Sunderland on that day. In total, Richards's first season saw him used sparingly, making seven appearances as the Magpies finished 14th in the second tier that season. The following season, Notts finished fifth in the table and also made it to the fifth round of the League Cup, with Richards now very much a first-team player with 32 league appearances under his belt, though the rise up the leagues would be put on hiatus following Sirrel's departure to Sheffield United. Richard continued to be utilised by the following man in the dugout, Ron Fenton, and the defender made 41 appearances in the league as the Magpies finished eighth in 76/77. Notts began the 77/78 season badly and Fenton was sacked in early October, while Sirrel hadn't had the best time at Bramall Lane, which led to the two reuniting and then, as we all know, the rest is history. Richards continued to star in the County backline in the ensuing years and, in 80/81, was a crucial component of the team that was promoted to the top flight, making 40 appearances in the league that season. Despite the leap to the top division of English football, Richards continued to impress for Notts as they enjoyed a three-year stint in the big time. Sadly things would not turn out well for Notts as they suffered back to back relegations and were back in the third tier for the 1985/86 season, Richards's last one at Meadow Lane. Richards made just 20 appearances in the league that season and was given a free transfer in December, although he was also granted a testimonal at Meadow Lane. Afterwards, he turned out for the likes of Boston United, Arnold Town, Oakham United, Rolls Royce Celtic and Corby Town on a semi-professional basis. All in all Richards made 485 appearances for Notts, his sole Football League club, in an illustrious career. Tragically, Richards died of a rare strain of pneumonia in 2001, just two days before Christmas, aged 45. Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral in The Meadows on New Year's Eve. Pedro Richards ticks all the boxes - he came through the ranks at Notts County, he spent his entire professional career with them, he helped them into the top flight and kept them there, he played against some of the best teams in the world, and he was a seriously nice person. Therefore Pride of Nottingham is delighted to honour him among our Notts Alumni. Rest in Peace Pedro. Share your memories of Pedro Richards 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.
  11. Born in Stockton-on-Tees, Neal Bishop's journey in football began with Middlesbrough, though he was released by the Teessiders as a teenager. From there, he joined Northern League club Billingham Town and had two spells there either side of a short tenure at Gateshead FC. While in his first spell at Billingham, Bishop once played in a game alongside his brother Craig and father Rob due to a run of eight matches in 15 days towards the end of the 2000-01 season. Bishop continued to ply his trade in the non-league but worked his way up the food chain as he earned the captain's armband at Scarborough, before joining York City and helping them to the Conference playoffs in 2007. In a show of ambition, he rejected a new deal at York and went on to fulfil a lifelong ambition of playing in the Football League by joining Barnet on a free transfer that year. Bishop didn't exactly make the best start at Underhill, being sent off for violent conduct in just his second match at the club, against Norwich City in the League Cup, but went on to make 47 appearances in the 2007-08 season. The following season, he initially handed a transfer request but went on to withdraw it and ended up becoming club captain after Ismail Yakubu was handed the role. In December, Bishop suffered a fractured jaw after being kicked in the face by Ricky Ravenhill, then of Darlington - fate would reunite the two players at Notts County later on in their careers. In May 2009, Bishop's Magpies journey began when he signed a pre-contract agreement to join the club, which was to undergo an adventure of its own in the shape of the Munto "takeover". On the pitch, Notts were a force to be reckoned with as they cruised to the League Two title, with Bishop's tenacious, never-give-up style and strong engine a crucial part of the setup as he made 43 league appearances that season. Despite the off-the-field uncertainty as Munto ended up being a con, the midfielder never let said issues bother him and, as matters were settled at boardroom level in the summer, he signed a two-year contract extension that would keep him at the club until 2012. In League One, Bishop continued to go from strength to strength as he helped Notts consolidate their place in the third tier, being rewarded with the captain's armband by Paul Ince and finishing the campaign with 51 appearances, two goals, the Player of the Year award, and a new two-year deal at the Lane. Bishop's finest display for Notts came in the fourth round of the 2010-11 FA Cup as the Magpies welcomed Manchester City to Meadow Lane. Just before the hour, he headed home the opener against the Citizens from Alan Gow's corner kick, and for a while, Notts fans were dreaming of a huge upset. Sadly, the match ended up as a 1-1 draw when Edin Dzeko struck a late equaliser, which meant a replay at the City of Manchester Stadium where the hosts upped their game and claimed a 5-0 win. Given that Man City's eventual FA Cup win marked their first trophy in 35 years and was followed up with a Premier League title win the following season, one can't help but wonder how the trajectory of English football may have differed had Bishop's goal been the winner. There was yet more time for a grandiose contribution from Bishop - he was County's captain when the team took on Juventus in their new stadium inauguration in September 2011, a season where the Magpies came within a whisker of making the League One playofs. The 2012-13 campaign would prove to be Bishop's most fruitful one from a scoring perspective, bagging seven goals, but sadly it would also be his final one at the Lane. In an interview with the official Notts site ahead of his departure by mutual consent in June 2013, he said: “It’s an emotional day. "This club has been a major part of my life for four years and I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing about my time here. It’s been the best part of my career. “The club are heading in a different direction and there are a number of changes this summer and it just seemed the right time. “I’ve had meetings with the Manager and the board and I’ve given my reasons and I’m really grateful to Jim Rodwell and the Trews who have been very understanding and helped me. “It’s been fantastic. From the rollercoaster of the first season, the cup runs, captaining the club at Juventus and leading the lads out everytime, representing the club was a massive honour. It’s probably my proudest moment in my life. “The fans have been absolutely fantastic with me. I’d like to wish them all the best and thank them. I can’t speak highly enough of them.” Bishop subsequently joined Blackpool, then in the Championship, in August of that year, penning a five-month contract that was extended to take him until the end of the 2013-14 season. Following his spell at Bloomfield Road, he joined newly promoted League One side Scunthorpe United in June 2014, where he continues to ply his trade today. We at PON are delighted to have had the privilege of seeing Neal Bishop in Notts colours at the peak of his powers and contributed countless quality moments to the team, which is why we are delighted to include him in our Notts Alumni list of illustrious Magpies of years gone by. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni 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. 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  12. As Notts County alumni go, David "Dave" Watson has to go down as one of the most well-travelled players with one of the most comprehensive careers to have donned the black and white stripes. Born in Stapleford on 5 October 1946, Watson worked as an electrician before getting his footballing break with the Magpies in 1966. Watson made 26 appearances for Notts over two seasons before being signed by Rotherham United, then under the management of future Scotland and Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty, in a player exchange deal which saw Keith Pring and £1,000 going from Millmoor to Meadow Lane. Watson was thrust into a relegation battle with the Millers in 1967–68 which was unsuccessful, and as Docherty left and Jim McAnearney came in, the then-22-year-old was made club captain and used both up front and in defence. After four seasons at Millmoor, making 141 appearances and scoring 21 goals, Watson caught the attention of Sunderland manager Alan Brown who paid £100,000 for his services in December 1970. Watson was initially used up front, but when Bob Stokoe took over in November 1972, the player was deployed at centre-back, a position which he would dominate throughout the remainder of his career. Sunderland ended up reaching the 1973 FA Cup final where they pulled off one of the biggest shocks of all time, beating First Division giants Leeds United - then one of the big English clubs - 1-0, and Watson was singled out for praise by Stokoe for his subduing of strike duo Allan Clarke and Mick Jones. Watson's performances for Sunderland saw him called up to the England team less than a year after the FA Cup win, making his debut in a friendly against Portugal in Lisbon at age 27. In the summer of 1975, Watson joined First Division side Manchester City for a fee of £175,000 in a deal which saw Jeff Clarke move the other way. The Citizens won the League Cup in 1976 beating Newcastle United 2–1, the defender playing on with blood pouring from a head wound and being interviewed in the dressing room afterwards while receiving stitches. All in all Watson spent four seasons at Maine Road, which saw Man City miss out on the title in 1976–77 by one point - his performances saw him voted player of the year that season. In 1979, Watson decided to have a go in a foreign league, joining Bundesliga side Werder Bremen, but his time at the German club was short due to incurring an eight-week ban for pushing an opposition player in just his second game. He was fined by his club and refused to travel to an away match against Schalke 04 because of an injury before turning up to play for England and, unsurprisingly, he returned to these shores by October, with Southampton signing him for £200,000. Watson played 31 games in 1979–80 and 44 games in 1980–81 as the Saints finished 8th and 6th respectively, and he lined up alongside five previous or future England captains - Mick Channon, Alan Ball, Kevin Keegan, Mick Mills, and Peter Shilton. In 1982, Watson moved to Stoke City, where he set a record of becoming the first man to make England international appearances while in the books of five different clubs. Up next were two spells in the United States with Vancouver Whitecaps, being voted into the NASL All Stat team of 83, and Fort Lauderdale Sun, who ended up as USL champions, either side of a season at Derby County. And eventually, Watson's career came full circle as, in 1984, he rejoined hometown club Notts County as a player/coach, 16 years after first departing Meadow Lane, and making 25 appearances for the Magpies in his second spell. That wasn't the end of his career just yet though - Watson made 14 appearances for Kettering Town in 85-86 before finally hanging up his boots. Alongside his club career, Watson was also a rock for England, making 65 appearances for the Three Lions and scoring 4 goals. In a cruel twist of fate, however, his England career coincided with one of the nation's most barren spells at international level - following the 1970 World Cup, the Three Lions did not reach another tournament until Euro 1980. Though Watson did at least get to represent his country in "Europa 80" in Italy - an eight-team tournament with two groups where the winner of each would be catapulted into the final - he missed out on the 1982 World Cup, with manager Ron Greenwood selecting only three specialist central defenders, Phil Thompson, Terry Butcher and Steve Foster. To this day, Watson remains the most-capped England player never to play in a World Cup finals match. After his footballing career, Watson started a marketing business in Nottingham, where he lives with his wife Penny, while their son Roger (aka Dj Hal) is a successful DJ, musician, and producer. A prodigal son of Nottingham and one of the best English defenders of his day, Dave Watson is one of the most distinguished Notts County alumni of all time. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni piece 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. 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  13. Football, as we all know, is the global game. From the beaches of Tahiti to the tundras of the Arctic circle, the language of football is understood everywhere. As a result, the number of air miles involved in the game is staggering, as players, teams and fans travel all around the world for the sake of football. A study by online moving platform Movinga ranked the footballers who have clocked up the most air miles in terms of transfers (and therefore, relocations), and a very familiar name for Notts County fans makes the top 10. Danny Allsopp, one of the Magpies' top strikers of the 21st century, is number six on the list, having registered a staggering 46,777 miles throughout his career. Born on 10 August 1978 in Melbourne, Allsopp began his journey (in more ways than one) in football with provincial club Monbulk Rangers in 1994 as a 16-year-old, competing in the Victorian Provisional League Division 1. He worked up the ranks of Australian football/soccer as he joined Croydon City Arrows in the Victorian State League Division 1 before joining then-NSL club South Melbourne in 1995. After two seasons there, Allsopp made the move across town to Carlton SC for the 1997 NSL season, before spending the 1998 Victorian Premier League season with Port Melbourne Sharks And then, his globetrotting began, as he travelled halfway round the world to England, for a trial with Manchester City. A long way just for a try-out, but he proved his quality to the Citizens, scoring in a pre-season friendly against Newquay and some reserve matches, and was duly snapped up for the 1998-99 season. At the time, Man City were not the force they are today - in fact, they had slipped to the Second Division, but Allsopp played a bit-part role in helping them claw themselves back up to the first, with four goals in 25 games. Ultimately, he struggled to find a regular place in the team during the 1999–2000 season, and was loaned out to Notts County. His first spell at Meadow Lane was short, scoring once in three appearances, and also spent time on loan at Wrexham and Bristol Rovers, but in 2000, another loan spell - this time more fruitful with four goals in three matches - saw him eventually snapped up for £300,000. During the 2000/01 season, Allsopp formed a formidable strike partnership with Mark Stallard, the former scoring 13 goals to complement the latter's 17 in the league (23 in all competitions) as the Magpies finished eighth in Division Two. The following season proved more of a struggle for Notts, finishing 19th in the league, just six points clear of relegation, but Allsopp once again impressed in front of goal, banging in 19 goals in the league and a further nine in cup competitions - most notably a hat-trick against Mansfield Town and a penalty against former club Man City - dethroning Stallard as top scorer for the club. In 2002/03, Allsopp did not quite reach the heights of the previous campaign, but still broke into double figures as the club finished 15th in the third tier. Sadly, that was to be the end of the road at Notts - in financial dire straits at that time - for Allsopp, as he upped sticks for a stint at fourth-tier Hull City. As it would turn out, the two clubs would switch places at the end of the 2003/04 season, Allsopp's 15 league goals (second top goalscorer behind future Notts alumni Ben Burgess, with 18) seeing the Tigers finish second in Division Three, while over in the Midlands, things unravelled as the Magpies finished 23rd in Division Two. In 2005, Allsopp would opt for a return to his hometown, penning a deal with Melbourne Victory and beginning a relationship with the A-League club that would see him become a cult hero at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (and sometimes the Docklands/Etihad Stadium). Though he struggled in his first season back Down Under, managing just three goals in 20 starts during the 2005/06 season, he got back into his stride the following year, finishing the season as the A-League's Golden Boot winner as Victory won the championship. His first stint at Victory would last until 2009, when he tried his luck in Qatar with Al-Rayyan and in the United States with Major League Soccer side DC United. However, Allsopp soon returned to the lure of home and signed again for Victory in 2010 after mutually agreeing to terminate his contract with DC, where he signed until 2013, but he shocked his teammates on 18 October 2012 when, after a training session, announced his retirement from professional football. Over the next few years, Allsopp would continue to play in the Australian lower leagues, with boyhood club Croydon City Arrows and two games as a guest player with Tasmanian side Launceston City. Since retirement, Allsopp has gone from the pitch to the office, his LinkedIn page listing him as working as a sales representative for Hospeco, a global leader in hygiene and commercial cleaning products, but continues to be involved in football from time to time. For his exploits both in England and in Australia, Danny Allsopp will always be fondly remembered as a quality striker - and let's hope he made use of an Air Miles card throughout his career! Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni 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.
  14. Much is being made recently of the Jamie Vardy phenomenon, that is looking at the non-league for players who are late bloomers and may just have what it takes to flourish at the top, but really it's something that has been going on for years and years. Take Andy Legg, for example. Born in Neath on 28 July 1966, he did not join the professional ranks until 1988, at the age of 22. As a teenager, Legg attended Glan Afan Comprehensive School in Port Talbot. After he left, he worked for the Forestry Commission and later took on a job as a supervisor in a shelving systems factory. Rather than go through the academy system, Legg played football for local youth side Baglan Boys Club, where his father was manager. He then joined Welsh League side Briton Ferry Athletic, where he attracted attention from several Football League clubs. Legg first joined Middlesbrough on trial, playing up front alongside Bernie Slaven for the club's reserve side. However, manager Bruce Rioch was unhappy with Legg's hair, describing him as "too scruffy", and told him to cut his hair or to not come back. He chose the latter. He was instead offered a trial at Manchester City and played for the reserve side, again as a forward, before being asked to return at the start of the following season for pre-season training in order for manager Mel Machin to assess him. After returning from Manchester, Legg was offered a trial with hometown club Swansea City, playing in a reserve fixture against Cardiff City and, in August 1988, was offered a professional contract by manager Terry Yorath. A stress fracture of his leg meant he was forced to wait for his professional debut, eventually making his first appearance in a 2–0 defeat to Bristol City. Legg went on to make 163 appearances for the Swans and helped the club win the Welsh Cup in 1989 and 1991 as well as featuring in the team's European Cup Winners' Cup campaigns, playing against Panathinaikos and AS Monaco. In July 1993, he was sold to Notts County for a fee of £275,000, and he soon became a fan favourite at Meadow Lane. Legg was very hard working, pacey and gifted with good acceleration, as well as being very skillful, with a good set piece and eye for goal.He was versatile in the way he played, being able to pick up the ball and direct the tempo. What really made Legg world-famous (literally) was his long throw, which made Rory Delap's missiles seem wimpy in comparison. He could regularly throw the ball over 30m and once held the world record with a distance of 44.6m! He was at Meadow Lane until 1996, during which he helped the club win the Anglo-Italian Cup, in 1994-95, and made 89 appearances in total, scoring nine goals. Along with Paul Devlin, Legg was sold to Birmingham City in February 1996, remaining there until 1998, and during this time he won the first of six caps for Wales, on 24 April 1996 in a defeat to Switzerland. A short spell at Reading followed, before he found the club where he would tally up the most appearances, Cardiff City. He joined in 1998 and stayed there until 2003, making 175 appearances and scoring 12 times. Legg's time at Ninian Park saw him initially hated by fans, due to his previous spell at Swansea, but he soon won them over, winning the club's player of the season award in 1999/00 and 2000/01. During this time, in 1999, his wife Lucy noticed a lump on his neck which was later diagnosed as a non-malignant tumour, which he had removed at the end of the season. Later on in Legg's life, the health issue arose again when at Peterborough United, a second lump appearing in his throat in 2005. This time, it was more serious, and though he initially decided to wait again until the end of the season, he was hit in the neck by an elbow from Neil Kilkenny and it began causing him pain for the first time, so he booked himself in for the operation in April 2005. The operation to remove it was successful, although he was forced to undergo a 28-session course of radiation therapy, and Legg was able to return to football, despite having believed that he would be forced to retire. Since then, Legg plied his trade in Wales as player, manager, or both - save for a season at Hucknall Town in 2006/07 - until 2012, when he hung up his boots and worked exclusively as a manager, though he has often returned to Nottingham to play in charity games. The next stage of Legg's career began on 6 July 2017, when he rejoined Cardiff City as part of their Under-23s lead coaching staff. A legend for two rival clubs and in the English Midlands, Andy Legg will always be welcome back at Meadow Lane. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni 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. We at Pride of Nottingham want you to enjoy all our content for free. If you fancy helping us provide even better content, however, please consider contributing to PON by clicking here!
  15. When it comes to what makes a certain player a club legend, there can be several reasons. You get those players who give years and years of service to a club, you get those who have elevated the club to dizzying heights in terms of success and silverware, and then you get those who are responsible for moments of magic which become immortalised within the club culture. "Sir" Charlie Palmer is arguably the latter. Although the defender enjoyed a fairly long stint at Notts County, turning out between 1989 and 1994, clocking up 182 appearances and helping the club enjoy one of the finest times in recent history, it is one particularly goal and the ensuing entry in the history books which have earned him a Magpie knighthood. Born in Aylesbury on 10 July 1963, Palmer came through the ranks at Watford, joining the Hertfordshire club as an apprentice at a time when Graham Taylor was manager there. He made his first-team debut in 1981 and played 18 matches in total for the Hornets, including four in the UEFA Cup. In 1984, he upped sticks and moved to Derby County and, under the tutelage of Arthur Cox, was part of the team for just under three years, helping them win the Second Division in 1986/87. Before the end of that season, however, he moved on again, this time to Hull City, for a transfer fee of £30,000, and remained there for two years before he was snapped up in February 1988 by a young manager called Neil Warnock to play for Notts County. It was here where Palmer would enjoy the finest moments of his career. He played 11 times as the Magpies secured a ninth-placed finish in Division Three, and he remained firmly in first-team contention the following season, playing 39 league games as Notts finished third and then navigated the playoffs up into Division Two. In 1990/91, Palmer went from strength to strength, making 42 league appearances as Notts finished fourth, and once again they had a chance to earn playoff promotion - which as we all know, took it with both hands to make the Magpies a top-flight club. Although County's First Division dream wouldn't last long, there would still be more opportunities for Palmer to etch his name into Notts folklore, and it came on 12 February 1994, when the Magpies hosted Nottingham Forest. A crowd of 18,655 crowd watched as Gary McSwegan put the Magpies ahead just before the hour, but it looked like it would end all square when Dave Phillips equalised in the 85th minute. But fortune would favour Notts that day as, just a minute later, Notts won a free-kick on the left which the referee ordered to be re-taken, Mark Draper swung it towards the back post, and Palmer leapt above Stuart Pearce to nod home. It was his first goal for two seasons and his first League strike since 1990, but undeniably his best known and most celebrated strike - especially given how it remains the last time Notts beat Forest in the league. Palmer would go on to leave Meadow Lane at the end of the season, but there was still time for one more Wembley appearance, taking on a Georghe Hagi-inspired Brescia in the final of the Anglo-Italian Cup. The latter years of his career would see him enjoy a two-year stint at Walsall before playing in the non-leagues with Burton Albion, Moor Green and Hinckley United. When Palmer retired from playing football, he became a social worker, but before long was back in the game, coaching at Mickleover Sports, where he was caretaker-boss for a while, and enjoying managerial stints at Long Eaton United and Belper Town. But no matter what club he is at, he will forever be remembered for his dramatic goal against the Reds and for his solid service at Meadow Lane - so arise "Sir" Charlie Palmer! Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni 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. We at Pride of Nottingham want you to enjoy all our content for free. If you fancy helping us provide even better content, however, please consider contributing to PON by clicking here!
  16. Every Notts fan, young and old, will know about, or at least have heard of, Jimmy Sirrel. The Glaswegian is undisputably the greatest manager in the history of Notts County. Once asked who was the best player in his legendary team of the early 1980s, he nominated his goalkeeper, giving the following reason: "In my opinion, the goalkeeper is the number one man in your team. You start with a point, and if he doesn't lose a goal, you get that. So if you score one, you've won." The goalkeeper he had in mind was a player he cared about deeply, spending a great deal of money on to bring him to England, as well as investing a lot of time and effort into making him feel welcome and appreciated, in turn becoming one of the top players in that great team. That player was Radojko "Raddy" Avramovic. Born in Sjenica, a small town in southwestern Serbia (then Yugoslavia), on the 29th November 1949, he began his career at FK Borac Čačak in 1969, before moving to NK Rijeka in 1974, where he established himself, playing 162 games in five years for the club. Meanwhile, in England, a decades-old rule about restricting the number of foreigners playing in the English league was about to come to an end. Previously, the FA had a rule in place whereby foreigners couldn't play professionally in England, with a couple of notable exceptions such as Bert Trautmann, who served time as a prisoner of war in England before playing for Manchester City. In 1978, the FA had to remove this rule, when the European Community deemed it contrary to the principles of free movement enshrined in the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Able to sign foreign players for the first time in 47 years, English clubs began scouting overseas, which saw the likes of Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa come to England. In Nottingham, Jimmy Sirrel, Notts' manager at the time, toured Europe for two weeks, and in that time spotted Avramovic playing for Rijeka. He reported back to then chairman Jack Dunnet saying he'd found "a goalie who would keep them in the Second Division", and persuaded Notts to part with £200,000 for the Yugoslav, a then record club fee. Sirrel would put a lot of faith and care into the keeper when he came over to England, aware of the potential issues such as homesickness and acclimatising that may have arisen. Raddy and his family stayed at Jimmy’s house at first until they bought a home of their own. At the beginning of the goalie’s career at Notts there was a social function at which Raddy bought all his new teammates a drink as a friendly gesture. A local Evening Post reporter who covered Notts saw this and wrote a piece about Raddy being a ‘boozer’ and a ‘big-time-Charlie’. The next time that reporter went to Meadow Lane, Jimmy physically got hold of him and had him thrown off the premises and banned from the ground. Avramovic made his competitive debut for Notts on Saturday 4th August 1979 in the Anglo-Scottish Cup qualifier against local rivals Mansfield, while his first league game was the 4-1 win against Cardiff City on the 18th August. In his first season, Notts' form was erratic and the club finished in 17th, but the following season was a completely different story, as the club exceeded all expectations to finish second in the league, behind a very strong West Ham side, to gain promotion to the First Division, the top echelon of English football. Avramovic was a key player, taking part in 38 out of 42 league fixtures and keeping sixteen clean sheets. Rather than finding himself out of his depth in the top flight, Avramovic excelled during the 81/82 season, playing all 42 league games as the club finished clear of relegation in the First Division and registered some impressive results, such as a 2-1 win against Arsenal in October and a 1-0 defeat of reigning champions Aston Villa. Such was his quality that Liverpool legend Ian Rush described how good he was in his autobiography when talking about their game against Notts in January '82. After maintaining his high standards of goalkeeping once again during the following season, helping Notts survive in the top flight for another year, Raddy left for Canada vith a view to play for Inter Montreal, but then-manager of Coventry Bobby Gould persuaded him to sign up for the Sky Blues, making his debut in a 2-1 home win over Leicester. He played a total of 24 games - 18 league games and a further six in cup competitions - in his brief spell for the West Midlands club, which saw him lose his first-team place after mistakes against Watford and Stoke, before he returned to Yugoslavia to finish his playing career with OFK Belgrade and to study law. Avramovic spent some time in Oman before becoming manager of Kuwait, leading The Blue to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and winning the West Asian Games in 2002. He then became manager of Singapore, where he enjoyed his most successful spell at the helm, winning the ASEAN Football Championship three times - becoming the most successful coach in the history of the competition - and overseeing the nation's progress to the group stages of the AFC Zone World Cup 2014 qualifiers, a first for the team. After departing from that role, Avramovic continued his adventure in international management by taking the helm of Myanmar, where he stayed until October 2015. Whatever his future may hold now, Notts County has always been close to his heart, and likewise, the Magpies fans and hierarchy will always remember him for being a cult hero during one of the club's brightest times led by the club's greatest manager. Share your thoughts and memories of Raddy Avramovic on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.
  17. When Don Masson was a child, he knew then that all he ever wanted to was to play football. Born on 26 August 1946 in the Aberdeenshire town of Banchory, he'd spend hours kicking a tennis ball against the wall and would refuse to go back to school if his mother did not play football with him when he came home for his lunch break. Masson's talent and hard work paid off when he was scouted by Middlesbrough, the 12-year-old kid impressing for his school football team. As he grew up he also opted to train as a painter and decorator if he didn't make it in the game or to have a trade after football. Whilst at Boro, Masson used to clean the boots of one Mr Brian Clough while he was still playing for the club, and when he was 18, he made his debut against Charlton Athletic. All in all, Masson made 53 appearances for Boro between 1964 and 1968, scoring six goals, but he jumped at the chance to join Notts County. In a 2012 interview with Left Lion, he said: "All I knew about Nottingham at the time was what I had watched on the TV when the cricket was being played. The camera would pan across to the City Ground and Meadow Lane and I remember thinking, “what a fantastic sporting city that looks. The people there are so lucky to have all that so close together”. I still think that now." At the time, Notts were a Fourth Division team, but the then-21-year-old Masson would prove to be part of the spine which would be playing in the First Division just over a decade later. In 1969, Jimmy Sirrel became manager and, with Jack Wheeler as his coach, Notts rose quickly up the leagues - with Masson pulling the strings from midfield and captaining the side. Such was Masson's talent and leadership that he captained Notts to three promotions - 1970-71 from the fourth tier to the third; 1972-73 from the third tier to the second; and 1980-81 into the top flight. Recognising his special talent, Notts supporters voted him their Player of the Year on three occasions: 1969, 1974 and 1980. No other player has been the outright winner of the award three times. Despite Masson wanting to be at Meadow Lane throughout his whole career, in 1974 he got given the news that he was being sold. He eventually moved to Queens Park Rangers, and he recalls the experience: "The last thing Jimmy said to me before we got to QPR was, “Don’t sign for them, because I’ve got something to tell you afterwards.” Well, QPR were such a talented team then; I had the medical, and then I signed. I told Jimmy and he said, “what did I tell you, little fella? Tommy Docherty and Man Utd wanted to sign you, and that Revie fella at Leeds. That’s why I told you not to sign.” However, QPR almost won the league the year after Masson signed, and it thrust him into international contention, going on to make his Scotland debut aged 29 and winning the 1976 Home Championships. After three seasons at QPR and one at Derby County, Masson then returned to Notts, chairman Jack Dunnett offering him a player-coach role, which he jumped at, and with a new system introduced by Howard Wilkinson, the Magpies would go on from strength to strength. As Masson explained: "We played a sweeper system that Howard Wilkinson introduced that was quite radical at the time with Pedro (Richards) in the role and Killer - Brian Kilcline - as the strong centre-half. It was when we went to Newcastle that season and played them off the park that I knew we would get promoted. "That was the best Notts team I ever played in and it was fitting that I finished my career helping get Notts back to the top division for the first time in more than fifty years." As football legends go, Don Masson is definitely one of those, especially for Notts County, a club which he continues to hold dear to this day. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni 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.
  18. Football is a sport of many styles, many methods, many tactics, many demographics. It’s one of the most inclusive sports in the world, which adds to its global appeal. You can carve out a career if you’re a skinny 5’5’’ tactician and you can become a star if you’re a 6’6’’ giant built like a brick outhouse. You can be elegant and refined, or you can be uncompromising and sturdy. Lionel Messi, Nobby Styles, Yaya Toure and Peter Crouch have all been capped multiple times for their respective international teams despite widely differing heights, builds and styles of play. Brian Kilcline, English centre-back and former Notts County and Coventry legend, was able to get his hands on top-level silverware and forged a highly successful career in the English game, thanks to his tough, uncompromising style, which spread to his appearance – his long hair and beard, combined with his demeanour and passion, ensured that opposition players knew he wasn’t one to mess with. Born on 7 May 1962, Kilcline began his footballing career with Notts County at the tender age of 16 after being scouted for South Notts Schoolboys, when he signed associate schoolboy forms in 1978. He got arguably the best birthday present a young aspiring footballer could hope for when he signed a professional contract in 1980, though he already had senior team experience by this point. He made his professional debut for Notts nine months earlier against Torquay United in the League Cup, before appearing in the league against Bristol Rovers a month later. Kilcline made 184 League and Cup appearances, and was a key player in the squad that took Notts into the First Division in 1981. A strong, uncompromising defender with a Neanderthalesque appearance, he was the bane of opposition frontlines. In the summer of 1984, Notts were relegated from the First Division, but Kilcline had the chance to remain in the top flight when Coventry City enquired about the tough tackler. The Sky Blues paid the Magpies £60,000 to secure Killer’s services, putting an end to his time at Meadow Lane. Over at Highfield Road, Kilcline showed the same commitment and skills that served him so well at NG2, and was eventually made captain of the side. Arguably his greatest moment in a Coventry jersey came 30 years ago, in 1987, when he led the Sky Blues out at Wembley in the FA Cup final, against highly fancied Tottenham Hotspur. During the game, which finished 2-2 in normal time, such was his eagerness and drive that he ended up receiving an injury after a tackle on opposition player Gary Mabbutt and had to be substituted before the end of the regulation 90 minutes. According to an interview, he ended up suffering from a blood clot in his leg and, despite it being a sunny day, he “watched extra-time through thick fog because I was sat beside our two doctors, who were chain smoking to calm their nerves”. Mabbutt then scored the winner… for Coventry, that is, as he kneed the ball into his own net in the 95th minute. The underdogs then weathered the subsequent Spurs attacks to secure a 3-2 win and, crucially, the fabled, precious FA Cup. Despite his injury, Kilcline was able to slowly hobble up the famous Wembley step to receive the trophy for the first time in Coventry's history. Killer recalled an amusing anecdote about the aftermath of the game to The Mirror, where he had to spend time in hospital and wasn’t able to celebrate the cup win. “We came back to Coventry, showed off the Cup, and I was straight out of the back door at the town hall and off to hospital. All the lads went on an end-of-season trip to Magaluf except me. “There was no get well-soon card, just a gloating phone call from Dave Bennett and Cyrille Regis to say what a brilliant time they were having. I thought: 'You jammy b******s, I'm not having this' - so I flew out three days later and did my own exhaustive research of Magaluf's licensed premises!” Oldham Athletic came in for Kilcline in the summer of 1991, paying Coventry a fee of £400,000. However, his time at Boundary Park didn’t work out, so he found himself upping sticks when former England legend Kevin Keegan, now manager of Newcastle United, enquired about his services. Killer duly became Kleine Kevin’s first signing with the (other) Magpies. During five years at St James' Park, he captained Newcastle to the First Division title in 1993. Keegan later remarked that Kilcline was the most important signing he had ever made for the club. This was echoed by fans, who considered him partially responsible for saving the club from relegation and possible bankruptcy. During the 1993-94 season, he briefly played for Swindon Town in the Premier -League, before returning to Nottinghamshire for a two-year spell with Mansfield Town, where he made 50 appearances. His final season was that of 1997-98, where he had a brief spell with eventual Conference champions Halifax Town, before hanging up his boots. According to The Mirror, Kilcline went backpacking around the world with his wife once his career wound down, then spent time with National Express as an ambassador and became involved in property renovation in Britain and overseas. With 2017 signaling the 30-year anniversary of Kilcline lifting the FA Cup, the tall, eccentric now-55-year-old was interviewed by the Guardian in March, where he divulged several new anecdotes, including living on a boat, getting married the day after the Swindon Town Christmas night out, where he was found worse for wear outside the town's train station, taking wedding pictures in a graveyard, arm-wrestling Kanu, and setting up home in Holmfirth where he lives with his wife Lynn. And in true Killer spirit, he shares the house with an eight-foot dragon and a mermaid. Share your thoughts about this Notts Alumni feature about Brian Kilcline 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.

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