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How good does it feel to be a Notts County fan right now? Kevin Nolan has masterminded an epic climb to the top of League Two, the foundations of the club appear steady from top to bottom, and every so often a nice little bit of PR in the form of, say Matt Tootle's goal celebration, gives the club exposure on a global scale. But it's still early days, and tonight, the Magpies will be given their harshest test, taking on previous fourth-tier leaders and current second-placed side Exeter City away at St James' Park. Ahead of tonight's clash, Pride of Nottingham has spoken to Grecians fan Nathan Smith (Twitter: @Nathanecfc) to get an insight on the opposition. About Nathan: I'm 16 years old, I started supporting Exeter when I was around 5 and I was taken to a game for my birthday and since then, I've been a fan! My all time favourite player would probably be Richard Logan as was one of those players that just scored the important goals. For example, the winner against Rotherham which sent us into League One. Q1- You had financial troubles in the mid-00's how did you overcome these? It all started in 2003 when the club was raided by police and took the chairman, his wife and the vice chairman in for questioning. This led to future chairman Dr David Treharne and other members of the trust going into Ivor Doble (who was the majority shareholder at the club) and paying £20,000 to purchase the club. Doble agreed and the deal was announced on the 5th of September. Despite the takeover, Exeter had to enter a CVA in order to reduce the £4.5 million debt left behind by the owners. A campaign called 'Red or Dead?' was started to help pay off the debts and the fans managed to raise £140,000. The 2005 FA cup games vs Manchester United meant that the clubs debts had been basically cleared due to the tv and ticket revenue. Q2- You famously have links to the Brazil team, how have you kept this link alive? The link between Exeter and Brazil obviously goes a long way back and most recently, the club went on a tour of Brazil in 2014. We played 3 different teams, including Fluminense at the same venue in which Exeter played Brazil back in 1914. Unfortunately, the tour did not go exactly to plan as some of the squad caught a illness which led to Tisdale having to name himself on the bench for the opening game! Q3- Tell us about your FA Cup matches with Manchester United in 2005? To be 100% honest, I didn't go as 3 year old me probably wasn't that keen! But, I do know that the games where huge for the club as they wiped off most of the clubs debts + getting a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford during Sir Alex Ferguson's reign is a huge achievement for a conference side. For the replay, we saw a young Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney take the stage and they ran out 2-0 winners. Q4- You were bottom of the League Two table last November, but you ended up making the play-offs. How did the turnaround come about? At the start of the season, we were absolutely awful at home, while our away form while not being great, kept us near the teams above us. The two reasons we ended up in the play offs was our fantastic away form, in which we broke our personal record for most away wins in a season, and we also changed the way we played at home. We were very guilty of keeping the ball for the sake of keeping the ball and teams with a bit of power would just bully us and roll us over. We became more direct, relying on the aerial strength of David Wheeler and we also became very hard to score against, as we went through a period in December/January of barely conceding. Q5- Who are your teams dangermen? Reuben Reid is the top goalscorer in the league with 7 goals which makes him our biggest danger man. He is a clinical finisher in front of goal with great strength and decent pace. Lee Holmes is another danger man as despite not having a lot of pace, the winger is comfortable on both sides of the pitch and can easily take on the opposition full back. We have one of the better centre back pairs in the league but captain Jordan Moore-Taylor picked up a knock vs Coventry so I'm not sure whether he will play. The other half of the pair, Troy Brown is one of Tisdale's success stories as he arrived slightly overweight after two straight relegations with two different clubs. He has become a strong centre half with a powerful header and he is physically great. I'd also watch out for 16 year old Jack Sparkes who can make an impact if selected. Q6- What do you think the score and goalscorers will be? I'm going to go with a 1-1 draw with Jayden Stockley getting our goal. Share your thoughts about this Opposition View 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.
This week, we have a surprise for you on Pride of Nottingham - we have not one but two Opposition Views for this weekend's League Two clash between Notts County and Lincoln City. Alongside our chat with Luke Kempson, we have also spoken to 20-year-old Andrew Bruce (@andrewbruce97), who has given PON another great insight into life as an Imps supporter. About Andrew: Truth be told, I’ve only been watching City since 2015, and I’d describe myself as being a fan since late 2016. I got into the club after moving to Lincoln in September 2015 to study at the university and have regularly watched games ever since. As I have only supported City for a short time I don’t have a huge array of players to pick from, but it is a tough pick between Sean Raggett and Alex Woodyard. As Raggs has actually moved on now (but is back on loan from Norwich) I’ll have to say Woodyard – a proper fans’ favourite. Q1- You guys were in non-league for a number of years. What went wrong and how has it been put right? Well, as just stated I wasn’t around the club at that time, and I can’t imagine how awful it must have been. I have read a lot about that period though and what I can gather is that Chris Sutton quitting as manager was a blow. Yes, he was a contentious figure, and made some awful loan signings, but he wasn’t helped by board disagreements over budget and FA Cup funds not being made available to him. However, the general consensus is had he stayed longer into his second season we would have stayed up in 2010-11. After he left relegation was almost inevitable. I think what changed was partly the fan group, the 617 Squadron, forming in late 2011 – and Bob Dorrian, the chairman, really stepping up and putting everything on the line to keep City afloat. Although it was 6 years in non-league, it was 6 years of a sort of stability that made people really appreciate the club – how it could have been taken away with that relegation and that this was a chance to build the club back up to where it belonged. Q2- Danny Cowley has been a revelation - just what makes him so special? Oh, Danny. What a man. Don’t forget about Nicky though too! The brothers are special in that this is their first professional job, and first time in the Football League, so they are giving it absolutely everything they’ve got. Their man-management is exceptional – they are people who players want to play under, and the way they keep the team going is unbelievable. This team never stop – we scored a lot of late goals last season and it was certainly no fluke, so the energy Danny and Nicky have instilled into the team is crucial. Also, his inherent belief in statistics and sports science played a huge part in the success of last year, and it is an approach not seen often in this level of football. Q3- You enjoyed a good cup run last season - can you give us an assessment of it? The cup run caught a lot of people off-guard I imagine, especially as it started so inauspiciously in the qualifying round against Guiseley. My first game of the competition was the 1st round against Altrincham, and from what I remember we were fairly poor that game – edged out the side in a division below us and definitely didn’t look like a cup-run sort of side. The next round against Oldham was the turning point not just in the Cup, but the season. There were over 7,000 fans inside Sincil Bank, which was unheard of at that stage, and it was the perfect game. Up 3-0 by half-time against a team 2 leagues above you, then concede 2 quickfire goals midway through the 2nd half, so you’re left so on edge for the last 15 minutes you’re in the row below! And as if that wasn’t bad enough, we could barely see the action in the last 5-10 minutes as heavy fog came down and made visibility almost non-existent. It all just added to the game though and made it that bit more special. The Ipswich games were when Lincoln first really caught the attention of the nation, and we were unlucky not to win at Portman Road – over 5,000 Imps made the journey, and the ‘Impvasion’ hashtag was born. But a draw meant that a replay at the Bank, under floodlights and on BBC 1 was required, and the feeling when Nathan Arnold rounded the helpless Ipswich keeper was indescribable. I’d said to my mate minutes earlier “we’ve scored a lot of late goals this season, we could do it again” and then it happened. Yes! Brighton was when most people expected it to end I think, especially when they went 1-0 up – what was I thinking when I thought we could win – they were leading the Championship for goodness sake, what did you expect?! But that penalty from Alan Power and Theo popping up again meant we were in dreamland – we’re going through, and surely we’ll get one of the big boys this time?! No disrespect to Burnley, but the draw was a bit of an anti-climax – we’d earnt a huge tie – a Chelsea, Man United etc, but got Burnley. Now we were definitely going out – Burnley had just drawn against Premier League champions-elect Chelsea the previous week, we had no chance. Their team was fairly strong, but I was determined to enjoy the day, particularly since it was the first Cup away game I’d been to. What. A. Day. No words could give an assessment of that Burnley game – the split second when the David Fishwick stand had our hearts in our mouths, eyes glued to the referee as he looked at his goal decision watch…had Sean Raggett’s header crossed the line? He pointed back to the halfway line and blew, and then it was all a blur. Mental. The Arsenal game really was just a day out, no more than that! Obviously, we all wanted to win, and had hopes of Arsene playing a weak team, but when we saw Koscielny, Ramsey and Sanchez we knew it was over. If only Nathan Arnold had scored that chance in the first half... What a cup run that was though, something that will never be repeated in Lincoln’s history I’m sure, and will take some beating from any non-league side in the future. Not only was it enjoyable on the pitch, but the revenue gained from it was a massive financial boost and has left the club in the black for the first time in years. Q4- With Notts, Lincoln, Chesterfield and Mansfield all in League Two this season, which game are you looking forward to the most? A lot of good derbies in there, and that’s without mentioning Grimsby! But I think after the recent Mansfield match, and how much of a controversial figure Steve Evans is, the away match at Field Mill in January is one I’m particularly looking forward to. Seeing Terry Hawkridge back at the Bank for Notts County at home will be nice as well, providing he doesn’t score at the weekend! Q5- Terry Hawkridge has done well for Notts so far. How will you greet him on Saturday? I’m sure Terry will get a great reception from Imps fans – he left for all the right reasons. He didn’t force his way out or anything like that, he was offered a 1-year deal from City, but a 2-year deal from his hometown club, and arguably a ‘bigger’ side in Notts County. We can all see why he left – plus, towards the last part of the season he was in and out of the team a lot and when he did start he was often the first substituted player, so from his point of view it made sense. It was sad to see one of the heroes of last season go, but we’ll always have those 2 goals against Macclesfield – unforgettable. Q6- Who are your key players this season, and what do you think the score/scorers will be? Although Sean Raggett is only back with us on loan until January he will be vital, as he was last season and so far, this season – he won back-to-back MoTM awards recently. Alex Woodyard does everything all over the pitch, and as the chant goes, he “never gives the ball away!” And finally, Matt Green is our key forward, with electric pace and a poacher’s instinct we’ll be relying on his goals this season. With the way Notts County have started the season this will of course be a tough game, but we’ve been great away from home of late. I’ll go for a 1-1, with Matt Green scoring for City. Share your thoughts about this Opposition View 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.
Notts County continue to go from strength to strength, unbeaten in seven games in all competitions and sitting second in the League Two table. Up next for the Pies is a trip to Broadfield Stadium, where Crawley Town await. Pride of Nottingham spoke to Red Devils fan Jordan Knott (@JordyTekkers) to get an insight on the opposition. About Jordan: I'm 21 years old and have been a Crawley Town fan since 2002, when my dad took me to my first game at the age of 6. My all time favourite player is Matt Tubbs. Crawley are relatively new in the Football League - how do you make of your time in the EFL so far? I would say our time in the EFL so far has been quite successful for a club of our size. Back to back to promotions to League One in 2012, after finishing 3rd in League Two, and reaching the 5th round of the FA Cup for the second season running, losing out to Stoke City. In our first ever season in League One we finished 10th under the guidance of then manager Richie Barker. He then departed the following season, with John Gregory replacing him in December 2013. We ended the 2013-14 season in 14th place. During the summer of 2014 is when things started to go down hill. Gregory had a complete overhaul of the playing squad, getting rid of many fans favourites including Sergio Torres, Dannie Bulman and Kyle McFadzean, partly due to lack of funds from the club. The 2014-15 squad was unrecognisable, with only a handful of players remaining from the previous season. Subsequently we were relegated back to League Two that season, along with Notts County. Dean Saunders had taken over as interim manager in December 2014, and did his best to try and keep the club up. There were signs of improvement under Dean Saunders, but unfortunately it wasn't too be, losing out to Coventry City on the final day in May 2015. In our first season back in League Two we finished 20th under manager Mark Yates, our lowest finish since joining the EFL. We had a new owner take over the club in March 2016, Turkish businessman Ziya Eren. Yates departed in April 2016 with a few games of the season left. Former Chelsea and Arsenal youth coach Dermot Drummy replaced him, taking charge of the final few games. Last season we finished 19th under Drummy, a much improved squad from the previous season with the arrival of James Collins, Dean Cox, Enzio Boldewijn and the returning fans favourite Mark Connolly from Kilmarnock. However it was again a disappointing season with the team only just staying up. Hopefully there are better things to come this season. Steve Evans made his name at Crawley. A rather divisive character, what do you make of him? Steve Evans is a manager who is a lot like Marmite, you either like him or loathe him. If you've ever read former Crawley and Hereford United midfielder Ben Smith's book Journeyman, then you'll see exactly what Steve Evans was like to play under. A very much Jekyll and Hyde like character in the dressing room. Personally I like Steve Evans, and we played some of our best football under him. In August 2006 the club came within an hour of liquidation, but luckily we survived. Steve took over in May 2007, and we had 6 points docked before the start of the season due to our finances, so not the easiest of starts for him. We finished 15th that season, despite the off field problems and points deduction. The 2010-11 was our best season under Evans, promotion from the then Blue Square Premier to the EFL, and a 5th round FA Cup tie with Manchester United at Old Trafford. Steve departed us for Rotherham United in April 2012, and was very successful there, having got them from League Two to the Championship in a few seasons. Striker James Collins left in the summer - how big a loss is he? The departure of James Collins in the summer to Luton Town was a big one for us. Without his 22 goals last season then we would without doubt have been relegated. Our last player to score that many was Izale McLeod, who we sold to Notts County in 2015. Whenever Crawley find themselves a prolific goal scorer, we find it very difficult to keep hold of them. Unfortunately we haven't been able to bring in a striker of James' quality this season. We have signed 3 new strikers, including Panutche Camara from Non-League Dulwich Hamlet, Thomas Verheydt from MVV Maastricht, and Ibrahim Meite on loan from Cardiff City. So only time will tell if they can fill James' shooting boots. Harry Kewell is a well-known name in English football - how did fans view his appointment? Harry Kewell's appointment was received with mixed opinions from fans. The fans were hoping for an experienced manager who knows the lower leagues. After appointing Dermot Drummy, a head coach with no lower league managerial experience last season, fans were sceptical with the appointment of Kewell. Having been sacked as Watfrord under 21s head coach in April 2017, and having no football league managerial experience, it did seem a strange one. Without doubt Kewell's playing CV is up there with the best, but his lack of experience as a manger does have to be questioned. He brought in former Plymouth Argyle forward Warren Feeney as his assistant, as the two played together at Leeds United. Warren has got lower league experience having been manager at Newport County in 2016. We have got off to a mixed start under Kewell so far, inconsistency being the main problem for us. When we play well, we play really well, but when we're poor, we look like a team that hasn't played together before. It seems to the second half of a match that we actually start playing, so hopefully we address this problem sooner rather than later. However it is still early days, so hopefully we can get back to winning ways and kick off from there. Who are Crawley's danger men in the current squad? Our main danger man is Jordan Roberts, who we signed from Inverness Caledonian Thistle last season. He's missed the last few games with injury but he's back for selection to face Notts County. Predominantly a midfielder, he's been playing up front so far this season and is our top goal scorer with 3 goals. Ibrahim Meite who scored his first Crawley goal at Stevenage the other night looks to be a really handful as well. Our captain Jimmy Smith will be one to look out for too, his return from injury coincided with our first two league wins of the season against Swindon Town and Yeovil Town respectively. Score/scorer predictions Notts County are doing well so far under Kevin Nolan this season. They have got a very experienced squad and look like a tough opposition. Notts County have got the better head to head results, and we have struggled against them in recent seasons. However, I believe we can take positives from our draw at Stevenage the other night, so I think the score will be Crawley 1-1 Notts, Meite getting his second Crawley goal. Share your thoughts about this Opposition View feature on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
Notts County are flying high at the minute, currently unbeaten in five in all competitions and sitting fifth in the League Two table with 10 points from five games. September is a busy month - having got one fixture out of the way, a 1-0 win at Port Vale, we now embark on the second of seven league games, against Morecambe at Meadow Lane. The Shrimps have been widely tipped to endure a difficult season, but they are somewhat of a bogey team for Notts, given they're unbeaten in four and have registered two 4-1 wins. Pride of Nottingham spoke to Morecambe fan Brian ahead of Saturday's game to get an insight on the opposition. About Brian: I've supported the Shrimps since 1995 - a good year as we were promoted into the Conference - and my favourite player of all time is Kevin Ellison. What happened last season with the whole ownership saga? Wish I had an actual proper answer for you! Was all a bit of a mess really. So a Brazilian businessman, Diego Lemos, takes over the club in September. He then goes AWOL, then another suit, Joseph Cala, turns out saying he's the new owner, then Lemos comes back, then the whole thing ends up in court and now it's in the hands of a guy called Graham Burnard. Just a load of nonsense. You're celebrating 10 years in League Two this season. How would you assess your first ever decade in league football? Nothing less than we deserve. We had been steadily rising up the leagues - it's not been quick, but it's about getting there. Being promoted from non-league is hard but we've persevered and got there in the end, and we've had a good run so far in League Two, got some great results along the way and really just enjoying the ride. In an era of hiring and firing managers, you've had just three different men at the helm since 1994. Do you see it as a kind of honour to have had such a little turnaround? Well, the manner in which the club changed manager in 2005-06 was a bit unsavoury - Jim Harvey took us into the Conference and kept us near the top for ten years, then he sadly suffered a heart attack - he recovered, thankfully - which saw Sammy McIlroy take the helm supposedly until the end of the season. Jimmy then came back and was sacked, with McIlroy getting the job permanently. Left a very bitter taste in the mouth, but the club was then promoted the following year, so that was sort of forgotten. But as for the original question, yeah, it's good that each manager has had the chance to create a legacy here. Don't really see it much anymore nowadays. You've had one playoff finish in 2009-10. Can you see Morecambe challenging again for a top seven place this season? I would be surprised if that was the case. Below the top 3 that season, it was all up for grabs, the playing field was so even among the clubs - we were 4th on 73 points, Northampton were on 67 and finished 10th. Now you've got clubs in League Two with huge budgets that are signing Championship-quality players, so unless we get another perfect storm, it's unlikely. But we've got a fairly large squad with a lot of youngsters, so we should be competitive. Who are Morecambe's danger men in the current squad? Adam McGurk joined us on deadline day and he's a striker who caused us no end of trouble when playing against us so we're hoping he hits the ground running for us. Vadaine Oliver is suspended at the minute but he looks a handful, and same for Callum Lang, the young loanee from Wigan. Garry Thompson and Kevin Ellison aren't getting any younger but they've still got goals in them. Final score? Notts are a tricky proposition at the minute, you're on form and are unbeaten at home, but I'm hoping our good recent form against you guys will hold up, so I'm going to say a 1-1 draw. Share your thoughts about this Opposition View feature on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
Notts County have ended August in a healthy league position of seventh in the table following two wins, a draw and a defeat from their first four League Two fixtures. This weekend, in the first match of September, the Magpies travel to Vale Park for yet another difficult proposition in these early weeks, against recently relegated Port Vale. As baptisms of fire go, having three teams that were in League One last season as your opponents in the first five league fixtures of the season has to be right up there. Nonetheless, Notts are in a healthy position both on the pitch and off it going into Saturday's game. Pride of Nottingham spoke to Valiants fan Robbie Earle's Perm ahead of the fixture to get an insight into the opposition. About REP: I've been a supporter since 1982, I fell asleep during my first game against Scunthorpe apparently! My dad was a Vice President and dragged me along as a very small child. Favourite player without a shadow of a doubt was the legend that is Robbie Earle, I have his shorts from the play off final victory over Bristol Rovers from 1989! You've twice been in administration this century - what happened and how did you as a club overcome it? The first followed the collapse of ITV Digital and our slightly hookie chairman sticking all his eggs in one basket with it after he had axed our legendary manager John Rudge. The second was simply repulsive. We were being run by a 'fans' consortium', Valiant 2001, who sourced money from the average fan and then basically used their positions for their own their own benefit from 2003 to 2012 in various guises. They brought a number of odious characters to the board during that time and clung to power so desperately even though they did not have the finances to support the club and ignored many fans' protests, the fans they were supposed to represent! One member became CEO and took out a significant salary annually and even got his share money back before admin struck, others bought in with nil-paid shares (they never paid for them) but ultimately every single board member (Micky Adams briefly aside) should hang their heads in shame during those 9 years. You were relegated last season - what went wrong? - What steps has the club taken in the summer to have a team with the potential to bounce back? Things were going well until October when the playing side began to fall apart and Bruno Ribeiro, who was brought in by our owner last summer to reinvigorate the club after a particularly dull and uninspiring time under Rob Page. Sadly as seemed obvious to all the vast numbers of players from overseas struggled to adjust as the temperatures dropped and Bruno resigned on Boxing Day. That lead to Michael Brown taking over the role of manager on a temporary basis until the summer and finally being appointed full time this summer. This ultimately is where the problems went from bad to worse, we have signed a crazy amount of players over the last 14/15 months and Brown's signings have in the main been injury prone, aging or unproven youngsters. Tactics have largely been completely baffling and his training regime has led to many muscle injuries. Fans started to turn a couple of weeks ago during our abysmal defeat to Chesterfield but Brown and his assistants Morgan and Kelly seem slightly oblivious hoping more signings and a settled side will improve us. We have cried out for quality over quantity during the reign of Page, Ribeiro and Brown and all three have simply ignored this which has lead in my opinion to our decline. We in Nottingham have "noisy neighbours" in Forest - how does it feel as a Port Vale fan to have Stoke City FC on your doorstep? Its a little inconsequential at the moment to be honest. We had the upper hand for much of the 1990s but since the early 2000s our paths haven't crossed. Fans still sing songs about Stoke and that little diver Mark Stein but in all honesty we are light years apart currently which is a huge shame as, when I was growing up, the intensity in the city between the two teams was superb. Robbie Williams is arguably your most famous fan - do you have any stories, or have heard any stories, about him at Port Vale? Quirkily, he actually went to the same school as me and saved me from being beaten up by some older kids during my first year! I also sat on the same row as him away at a Stoke game in the early 90s. Other than that not too much as he doesn't attend or openly support Vale so much anymore. That said during the 90s and at the height of Take That's powers he generated record club shop sales by wearing replica shirts etc which young girls the world over then ordered and of course he put in £249k to the club when the 'fans consortium' Valiant 2001 (the maximum amount allowed at the time) came to power, sadly that and his proxy vote on the board was then used by the repulsive board members to protect their positions of power. What games are you looking forward to the most this season? Coventry to be honest, one of my closest friends is a huge Coventry fan and finally I'm hoping we will get to attend both games together as it hasn't happened over recent seasons. Other than that any local game where there is a good atmosphere created by the crowd is always worth attending, so roll on the 2nd September! Score/and scorer(s) I can't see anything other than ANOTHER defeat if Brown is still in charge sadly as you appear well organised with a strong spine, 0-2 with Lewis Alessandra and Michael O'Connor, a real favourite of mine, scoring. (We wish he was playing but he's out for the long term - Ed) Hopefully you will leave that terrible excuse for a human being Dan Jones a long way away from Vale Park. Share your thoughts about this Opposition View feature 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.