From the offices at Meadow Lane it’s certainly been an eventful week as Monday began with news of Martin Allen being appointed our new manager (our eighth in the past eighteen months no less). The new manager comes with a good record and has been hailed as someone who can turn the Clubs fortunes around. This has brought a huge buzz around the Club that things will improve on the pitch and with only five games remaining this season this mind-set is one the players will need to maintain. But nonetheless everyone’s excited to have a big character like Allen in charge and I for one am looking forward to meeting him in the next couple of weeks.
Little over 24 hours after his appointment however, the manager must have found there to be little time for rest as his new team travelled up to fellow strugglers Yeovil Tuesday night. I found it to be a much-improved performance, complete with an exciting new 4-3-3 formation that seemed to make the player’s movement and passing far more dynamic. Unfortunately the final whistle won’t tell this story, as the Glovers took the lead on the half-hour mark. A short-lived response did come however, in the form of an equaliser through John Spicer (something of a forgotten man under Paul Ince). Yeovil’s winner came five minutes later and securely puts Notts County into the relegation dog fight. The league table is looking incredibly tight, six games remain and the sides that stay up are likely to be the ones who can put together some form in the final run in. This, the first season Notts fans like myself have experienced in League One for seven years, is something every supporter is desperate to hang on to. Saturday is without doubt the biggest game of the season as Notts take on Bournemouth at Meadow Lane, a win would set the Club well on the way to survival. If the chairman’s ambitions of reaching the Championship are to be achieved in the not too distant future, this is essential. I’ll be in work early at Meadow Lane on Saturday for the 12.30 kick-off (due to Nottingham Rugby having a match straight after, with free entry for fans who stick around after the football)
Closer to home, I found myself looking back to last year when I was still a student at Nottingham, often sat in lectures wondering what those at the front were thinking while addressing their students. I had the opposite experience recently, during a Football Governance day at Loughborough University. Also present was a representative from the Football Association, speaking about the difficulties around Football finance. While giving my presentation to the students it reminded me of being back in the lecture theatres at University Park and Sutton Bonnington, the feeling of apprehension beforehand is just the same! My talk was well received, and followed up with plenty of questions about Corporate Social Responsibility, Community Engagement, modern Sports Science and views on Football League governance. Luckily, one thing a Nottingham Masters degree prepares you well for, is presenting. Without sounding too imperious (always off putting I find!) my view is essentially this: Football is a game of the people, the fans, and neither bodies at the top of the game or the clubs should forget this. I think every Club should strive for strong relations with its supporters as they are the future, the next generation. I would like to think that this is something that Notts County do and will continue to do so, and that I’ll get to be a part of it. Some real evidence of this will be seen on Saturday for the pivotal match, when around 300 children from local Schools will be in the Family Stand to cheer their new team on.
Matt is happy to answer any student related enquiries about Notts County, which should be directed towards [email protected]