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Alan Hardy has recently described what he is doing - and continuing to do - at Notts County as a "revolution". Given how the last 11 months or so have panned out, you wouldn't argue against it. This time last year, Notts were in the middle of a truly horrendous losing run which would go on to span 10 matches, and the atmosphere at Meadow Lane was understandably so toxic that Chernobyl would have felt like a spa weekend in comparison. And indeed, Hardy has done the conventional things right - he's invested shrewdly in the club from top to bottom, appointing a dynamic young manager in Kevin Nolan, investing in the player facilities, enabling the fostering of great team spirit and winning the vast majority of the fanbase back after several years of animosity with open communication and numerous incentives. But aside from that, Notts have also undergone a process of overhauling their image and getting the club in the headlines for the right reasons. As a club in the fourth tier of English football, opportunities to get the club promoted in the press are generally few and far between, but over the last few months, the likes of Hardy, Nolan, Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi have featured on the likes of Sky Sports and in the Daily Mail, the Guardian and BBC Sport to name a few. Things like the rotating monthly shirt sponsorship, which in hindsight is such a simple and effective premise that it's amazing nobody else has thought of it before. The interest in Nolan, Stead, Ameobi, Alan Smith and other Notts men as Premier League household names. The top-notch changing rooms. All these and more have made the nationals and helped reshape the Magpies as an exciting, dynamic, innovative and simply "cool" club. In particular I would like to focus on the sponsorship deal with Jake Bugg. An absolute stroke of genius. We all know how football and music have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for a long time - Oasis and Manchester City, the Stone Roses and Man United. And now, Notts and Jake Bugg. His name on our shirts gets him a lot of exposure (plus brownie points by virtue of having his name associated with the beautiful game) while at the same time giving the Notts brand brownie points for being associated with a young, talented and internationally famous musician. All this might seem like tittle tattle but this PR "charm offensive" is crucial considering how our children, as it was in the past but with the advent of social media, more than ever, could find themselves turned away from their local clubs and towards the likes of Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid and so on - and for Nottingham kids specifically, turning away from Notts and onto Nottingham Forest, which would be the ultimate humiliation for a Magpie parent or guardian. This is why Hardy's "revolution" isn't just about the present - it's about ensuring that Notts is seen as the kind of club that local youngsters want to be associated with and, as a result, don't get swayed towards teams hundreds of miles away. Or worse yet, Forest! Share your thoughts about this feature article on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
Alan Hardy has made it known that he wants Notts County to keep "pushing the boundaries" of everything they do from a marketing and PR perspective. The Magpies owner said the club's home shirt unveiling video, in which manager Kevin Nolan visits the home of a young fan and gives him a first viewing of the kit, has received great feedback. "I gave a presentation to the staff a week-and-a-half ago about how everything we do and everything we touch, we need to do with the best of our ability," Hardy told the Nottingham Post. "While we can't match Bayern Munich, Barcelona and so on because of the resources, for League One and League Two it needs to be the absolute best. "I've seen what other clubs have done with their kit unveiling and it's usually been a picture on the website. "Compared to what they have done our release with Kevin visiting the young fan was world class. "That now needs to be the standard whether it be a brochure for corporate hospitality or a promotional video. "My message to the staff is always to push the boundaries and do it better than what everybody else is doing. "I was delighted with the video and I was even more delighted by the response. I had hundreds of messages saying they love the kit, but also the journey we are on. That's more important to me than anything." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans.