Last Sunday, just under 30,000 fans and millions more on television watched Notts County run out to take on Premiership side (and title contenders) Manchester City. For some 6,000 of those fans there supporting Notts County, it was an emotional reminder of the past, but for the fans (particularly those who saw their performance at Meadow Lane that forced the replay) it was a hopeful indicator for the future, as though the players failed to make their early pressure pay off, many of them will nonetheless have travelled back from Manchester feeling the scoreline was not a true reflection of the game.
For Paul Ince now however, the cup run that was as great as it was suprising now needs to be a source where the players can find confidence, a belief in the philosophy of their own play and attitude, that can take them up the table. Currently Ince’s men sit low enough in the table for relegation to be more of a concern than promotion, but any man or woman supporting a club in the ever-changing dynamic of the football league will tell you that a side which finishes 17th one season could easily be the side that wins the playoff final the next. A return to the Championship is certainly not something at the forefront of any supporter’s minds right now, and would be no mean feat. It has been over ten years since the black and white side of Nottingham reached that level, and recovery for the club off the field is still ongoing despite it now being over a year since Munto Finance made their escape from the East Midlands.
The obvious question however, is whether it is working? Those looking for an answer need look no further than County’s youth league. I was at Eastlands and the entire squad was there, including Lewis Williamson, a young 18 year old who earned his chance to sit on the substituted bench, and many fans look forward to young men like Williamson taking those places of match days in the future. They wouldn’t be taking these places out of tokenism either, as the Notts County Youth Team currently sit top of their league.
Though headlines this week regarding my club have been about nothing more than the 5-0 scoreline suffered at the weekend, as a fan I feel secure that there is so much positive about my club right now. The black and white stripes I watch every weekend are still running towards renewed excitement of a rise back into prominence, even if there are a few falls along the way. This Friday evening when they host Charlton will hopefully be when they break into a sprint. Here’s to the future.
Matt is happy to answer any student related enquiries about Notts County, which should be directed towards [email protected]