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  1. Sam Allardyce has admitted that he knew he would be criticised for leaving Notts County in 1999 for Bolton Wanderers but stated that it was an opportunity he couldn't miss and so had to be "selfish". In an interview published in "Record Breakers - The Inside Story of Notts County’s Momentous 1997/98 Title Win", the former Magpies boss was asked why he decided to up sticks. "I think I had to be selfish for myself," he replied. "There was a great affinity with the club and a great relationship that I had built. This opportunity came along where I had to be selfish for myself, and not feel anything other than the fact I have got to do it for me. "I knew I would be criticised for leaving, but there were other circumstances I don’t really want to go into that actually helped that decision to be made. "The real decision was that this was a football club that gave me my career in football, gave me my dream, and gave me everything I wanted to achieve. "Even though I’m not north-west or Bolton-born and bred, I am an adopted Boltonian. I arrived there at 15 and married a Bolton girl. "The new stadium at Bolton – the Reebok Stadium – to walk in the middle of that and say, “I’m back where I always wanted to be,” to try and take that club forward, that became the next challenge. "All that I did at Limerick, Blackpool and Notts County, all that I’d learned down there in terms of finding the right solutions to problems when we were financially strapped – I think Bolton at that stage were £45m in the red, which doesn’t actually seem a lot now but then that was a bankrupt football club really. "I had the tools to manage all of that because of what I’d done at Limerick, Blackpool and Notts County. That apprenticeship stood me in good stead to move on, but I’ll never forget, never forget that particular season. Ever." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  2. Former Notts County manager Sam Allardyce says he is "jealous" of Gareth Southgate and believes it should be him leading England at the World Cup in Russia. The 63-year-old left his post as England coach by mutual agreement in September 2016 after only one match in charge, following claims by a newspaper that he gave advice on how to "get around" player transfer rules. In a BBC documentary to air on Sunday, Allardyce said of his departure: "That decision was made very hastily. "Jealous is what I feel. Massively disappointed. That should be me there. Unfortunately because of the circumstances that wasn't the case. "One night I was playing golf - next day they said you can't carry on. And I still don't know why… because in the cold light of day, there was no substance, nothing behind it. "If a bit more time was taken, a bit more patience, I believe I should still be the England manager. "I've bounced back now - and while I will be extremely jealous I will be watching Gareth and the lads and hope they do extremely well." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  3. Notts County boss Kevin Nolan has claimed that Sam Allardyce "was hard done by" at Everton. The 63-year-old, who managed the Magpies 20 years ago but left in unpopular circumstances, was sacked by the Merseyside outfit following a six-month spell in which he guided the club to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League. Nolan played under Allardyce at West Ham, Newcastle and Bolton, with the former England manager appointing him as captain on each occasion, and thinks he should have been given more time at Goodison Park. “From my point of view, he was hard done by,” Nolan told the Nottingham Post. “It’s going to be a massive appointment for Everton now because the fans have made their feelings known. It will be interesting to see who gets the job and where they are in a year’s time. “I am gutted for the gaffer, but I am sure he will be getting a few phone calls. He gets unfairly branded about his style. People don’t see what he does. He was just starting to mould a team that looked quite exciting for next season. He finished eighth and apparently that’s a poor season for Everton. “Had he been given a full season he could have been the one who upset the applecart (top four). I think they’ve made a mistake but I am not their owner. I just see what Sam is about and I wish him all the best in whatever he does next.” Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  4. Last year John Sheridan famously cancelled Notts County's Christmas party as the team was lurching from one defeat to another. This year, things are much different and as such the players have had their do in Dublin (as Adam Collin's Insta page showed). However, Sam Allardyce has recently made the news after saying he would cancel Everton's Christmas party. So over to you - should a struggling team have their Chrimbo do cancelled and focus fully on the games, or could that end up being counter-productive and harm morale and team cohesion further? (After all, Notts' slump didn't end after their party was cancelled)
  5. With Notts County flying high in League Two, manager Kevin Nolan is very much the man of the moment for overseeing the transformation of a side that was previously all but certain to slip out of the Football League. In a recent interview with The Observer, the 35-year-old spoke about a number of topics both about himself and his club. Pride of Nottingham has taken his quotes and neatly and concisely compiled there here for you. Should you wish to read the full interview on the Observer website, you can do so here. On the state of Notts County when he arrived at the club There was so much when we came in which was just not right. We didn’t have a training ground. The lads were getting changed here and then driving 20 or 30 minutes and having to come back to get showered. The pitch had not been touched for six or seven years. Changing all that has given players the belief to go: ‘Oh wow, this is an environment I want to thrive in.’” On his career hopes “I want to manage at the top level. I want to be part of big European nights, something I wasn’t able to do as a player, being in the Champions League. It’s so difficult now, especially for English managers. We don’t get the opportunities as much now as we did, so for me it’s just about making sure I learn my trade here. I’ve got to make sure that I pick my path right, but at this moment in time I can’t think of a better place to be. “If we stop believing then it won’t happen. As a young English manager we’ve got to believe that there’s still room for us at the top level.” On the transition from player to coach “Every day you wake up wondering: ‘What’s the next thing for me?’ You can see why people end up in divorce and depressed and not in a good place. For me there’s a lot more to be done in that sense of looking after players. I was out of the game and that’s why I work so hard now: some nights I’m still here at nine o’clock because I don’t want to leave any stone unturned. I feel if I ever lose this job I know that I gave it my all.” On his stint at Leyton Orient "(Francesco Becchetti) should have just managed the team himself. Employing all the people he did was a disservice to football and a disservice to Leyton Orient. He wanted to tell you who’s best to play, who should have played, who shouldn’t play and ultimately that’s what cost me my job because I didn’t agree with what he wanted.” On his coaching philosophy “It’s quite funny because when Sam [Allardyce] gave his ultimate survival guide [for Premier League managers] on Sky Sports, I got a lot of cheeky texts saying: ‘It’s the Kevin Nolan bible!’ Everyone thinks I’m just a rigid 4-4-2 manager but I just like to stick to what I feel is best for the player. We have a system we all know but we can quite easily change to a three, or to a diamond four, because we work on it. I’m not just a straightforward: ‘This is me, I believe in it and I haven’t got a plan B, plan C.’ I feel that I have got that and whether I need to use it any time this season, time will tell. I don’t feel that I have a [particular tactical] philosophy. My first and foremost is getting a set of … I don’t like to call them rules … but a guidance of what’s expected when you walk into Notts County, what’s expected of you as a player: discipline, respect, togetherness.” On Matt Tootle's personal issues “It’s absolutely fantastic what he’s done to raise awareness because there is a lot of people holding back and think that it’s a weakness and it’s not. The weakness is hiding it. You’ve got to try and bring it out so people can help you. When he comes in we can talk and we can try and put him at ease or try and get him back up if he’s feeling down. It’s such a high‑pressure job. No matter if you’re playing with 3,000 people going to watch it every week, it’s pressure on you.” On taking to the pitch for Notts “At the minute I’m not in physical condition to play, that’s my excuse, but I don’t think I’d get in the team even if I was! Maybe you’ll see me in that black and white shirt one day, but hopefully not. That’s a last resort.” Share your thoughts about this interview 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. Notts County have had some great managers over the years (and many c**p ones, but we'll not talk about these!). But besides from the top man Jimmy Sirrel and the other usual suspects who have done well with the club (Neil Warnock, Sam Allardyce, Steve Cotterill) what other gaffers who may not have had as much recognition do you rate particularly highly?
  7. Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has spoken fondly of Colin Slater and recalls the great relationship they had when he was at Notts County. The BBC Radio Nottingham stalwart, who has covered more than 2,500 Notts matches for over seven decades, is retiring from commentary, although he will remain the station's Magpies correspondent. Allardyce, who worked with Slater during his time at Meadow Lane between 1997 and 1999, has recalled how the 83-year-old helped him in learning to deal with the media. "I was quite a young manager at the time and Colin [Slater] was a great stable backing for me in dealing with the media and talking to him privately about experiences all of his life was really good for me," Allardyce told the Croydon Advertiser. "I had a great relationship with him in the near three years and it is fantastic to see he is still healthy and well. Enjoy your retirement mate, you deserve it. "It is a dying breed, and dedication to the job is an understatement, but it is because he loves it and that is why he is so good at it." Slater's last game as commentator will be County's trip to face Newport County next week. 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.
  8. This season came off the back of a truly calamitous campaign in 1996-97 that saw Notts County embark on a record 20-match winless run and suffer relegation to the basement division for the first time since the 1960s. The manager was Sam Allardyce, who had inherited Colin Murphy's rudderless team part-way through that awful run. Allardyce made only modest changes to the previous season's squad in the summer. Dennis Pearce and Mark Robson arrived from Wolves and Charlton respectively, with the outgoings including Paul Rogers and Tony Agana. The season began with back-to-back wins over Rochdale and Hull before a controversial defeat at home to Lincoln in which Devon White took an early bath. This was followed by draws against Cardiff and Hartlepool as the Magpies started to look in danger of losing their early momentum. However, their position at the top end of the table was cemented by four straight wins including a 1-0 win over Mansfield featuring a possibly offside Gary Martindale goal. By this time Notts had a settled and confident team, something that eluded them in the previous campaign. Darren Ward held down the number one jersey, the talismanic and slightly caveman-like Gary Strodder was partnered at centre-half by Matt Redmile and Ian Richardson at different points of the season. Ian Baraclough, who in the previous season had played at left-back and had famously been voted the worst player in the club's history, was moved into midfield and did sufficiently well to attract the attention of QPR, who he joined in March. The Notts midfield also had its share of young talent in Steve Finnan and Shaun Derry, while Gary Jones partnered Sean Farrell up front. The team was captained by reliable right-back Ian Hendon, still probably the best taker of a penalty I have seen. While lacking the subtlety of the class of 2010, Allardyce's team offered just the right blend of guile and muscle to succeed in the fourth division. Notts rose to the top of the table with a 5-2 home win over a farcically bad (and relegation-bound) Doncaster Rovers team in December. Not on the score sheet that day was Doncaster native Gary Jones, who by that point had only netted five times. However, Jones would go on to score 23 goals in our final 23 games! The win over Doncaster was the second of what proved to be a club-record run of ten consecutive wins stretching from the beginning of December to the end of February. This record was clinched in a memorable 5-3 victory at Lincoln in which we raced into a 3-0 half-time lead. Early in the second half keeper Darren Ward missed the ball when attempting a clearance, leaving the Lincoln player with a tap-in, and 15 minutes later the hosts were level. However, Notts were determined. Seconds after the restart Jones charged down a clearance by the Imps' keeper and eventually a ninth straight win was secured in front of well over 2000 travelling fans. The tenth win was secured at Field Mill, with hundreds of Notts fans locked out. By the time the run ended, Notts were clear at the top of the division by a big margin and promotion was just a matter of time. Promotion and the title were clinched in a tight 1-0 win over Leyton Orient on 28 March, with six matches to spare. This made us the first team ever to win a championship before the end of March. The curtain came down on the season with a 5-2 home win against Rotherham in front of over 12,000 spectators, as well as the obligatory pitch invasion and an “interesting” rendition of "We Are The Champions" by Allardyce. The record-breaking team was broken up soon afterwards. We went into the following season with a raft of new signings to replace the likes of Phil Robinson, Shaun Derry and Ian Baraclough. And although both remained at the club, the Jones-Farrell partnership was also not to last. Sean Farrell suffered a long-term injury early in the following season, and Gary Jones never recaptured his form and eventually left the club for Hartlepool. By the end of 98-99, only five of the first 11 had featured in the championship-winning campaign. However, the 97-98 season remains a masterclass in turning a failing team around. Disappearing from view (sorry WSC) Devon White Following a stint at Lincoln City in the mid-80s, the physical, Nottingham-born striker drifted back into non-league until Gerry Francis took him to Bristol Rovers, where he scored 53 goals in 202 appearances. Francis then took him with him to QPR in 1993, where he scored nine goals in 26 Premier League appearances before joining Notts for the first time in 1994. White had rejoined Notts from Watford in early 1997 but left again in September after losing his first-team place. After a subsequent spell at Shrewsbury, he returned to non-league football and is now an electrician. Went on to greater things Steve Finnan Steve Finnan originally arrived as a young loanee from Birmingham City in the 1995-96 season and became a fixture in the team that reached the play-off final in what is now League One. He joined permanently the following season and was a key supplier of goals from the right wing in 97-98. Kevin Keegan then signed him for Fulham for £600,000 in November 1998. In the 2000s Finnan mainly played in the right-back position and became part of the Premier League furniture for Fulham and subsequently Liverpool, where he became a Champions League winner. Share your thoughts about this feature on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining the conversation.

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