Category Archives: Notts County

Notts County vs Port Vale match preview

Notts County host Port Vale on Saturday in what could be a hugely significant game for both teams League status. With both teams fighting it out at the bottom of the English games fourth tier, a win for either could make or break their season.

County sit rock bottom of League Two and are on their third permanent manager of the season, after young gaffers Kevin Nolan and Harry Kewell both failed to steady the ship, leaving current manager Neil Ardley the unenviable task of steering the side to safety.

With only six league wins this season and a wealth of behind the scenes issues including a recent winding up order due to an unpaid tax bill, County are spiralling out of control fast.

And with the owners going bankrupt and actively looking to sell the club, just having a club at all come the end of the season is the main aim for most fans, whether that will be in League Two or the National League remains to be seen.

Port Vale are enduring their own nightmare season, on their Second permanent manager of the campaign after Neil Aspin was relieved of his duties in late January, current manager John Askey has failed to record a win or even pick up a point in his four games in charge.

Vale have the 10th biggest budget in the league, but despite this fans are still protesting at owner Norman Smurthwaite’s running of the club, a situation not helped by the below par signings made during January, when the owner had previously stated funds would be available.

Currently on a run of six games without a win, it looks alarmingly like Port Vale have been dragged into their third relegation scrap in as many years, suffering relegation from League One in 16/17, and surviving by one point in League Two last year.

With only five points separating the two sides, a relegation “six pointer” has never been more true, as whichever team comes out on top is boosted not only points-wise but gains a huge psychological advantage over their rivals. The loser on the other hand is left disheartened and facing an uncertain future heading into the business end of the season.

The effects of dropping into non league are huge for all areas of a club and in some cases a whole town, as games go, they don’t get much more important than this.

Why Nobody wants to buy Notts County FC

Notts County FC was put up for sale last month by owner Alan Hardy and have yet to find a buyer for the Nottinghamshire based side.

Notts currently sit rock bottom of the football league with only 13 games to go and are 2 points from safety. To add to the Magpies misery off the field issues have plagued Notts this season with owner Alan Hardy putting the club up for sale hours after the Notts owner shared a revealing picture on his Twitter account. Hardy however in a statement said that “I would like to make it clear from the outset that the club’s current league position is not a factor in this decision, nor are any of the events which have unfolded in the media this weekend.” Nearly a month after Hardy put the club up for sale no buyer has been found. So why is nobody interested in buying the oldest Football League club?

WHY WOULD YOU BUY NOTTS COUNTY?
Although County finds them self in a predicament on the field with relegation looming large this season. For a new investor, there is mass potential for growth. For example, Notts currently play at Meadow Lane the second highest capacity stadium in League 2. For a new investor, this is great news! To take over a club with adequate facilities and huge capacity it means if a new owner comes in there is potential for growth of fan base without the owner having to invest in building a new stadium or increasing capacity. However, there are some implications with the ground that we will discuss later in the article.

Another enticing prospect for a potential new owner is the fact that Notts County is the oldest Football League club with the club being founded in 1862. Notts also was one of the original 12 founding members of the football league in 1888. This would surely entice any interesting party right? To say that you own the oldest football league club. Any investor would jump on the opportunity just for the marketing value alone of being the oldest Football League club.

The Magpies fanbase would also be an attractive prospect for a potential owner with the club languishing in bottom place you would expect low attendances. However, this isn’t the case with Country having the second highest average attendance for home games this season. Notts current average is 7275 per game and is only behind the top of the table Lincoln City for average attendance. With the second highest average attendance in league 2 and the potential for an increase in more fans to attend games, the fanbase is there for a potential owner to be able to create revenue from.

WHY WOULDN’T YOU BUY NOTTS COUNTY?
Looking at a glance why wouldn’t an investor buy Notts County. Notts have the second biggest ground in League 2, history and a strong fan base to build from. However, if you look deep into Notts County’s current finances a truly horrific demon appears.

Notts County is reportedly losing £35,000 per week! A ludicrous amount of money at any level to be losing per week. Hardy has also stated that the club is forecasted to lose £3 million pounds for this season. These figures are made even worse if the Magpies were to be relegated with a loss of around £450,000 in the first year of playing in the National League due to a loss of TV rights. The more you delve into County’s financial reports it because clear why an investor wouldn’t invest his money into the oldest Football League Club.

The heavy investment into the first team has also made Notts an unattractive proposition for a potential investor with the Nottinghamshire based side currently having 36 players contracted to the squad. Notts have overspent this season on players with owner Alan Hardy saying that the club had overspent by £500,000 on players alone. Notts also boasts one of the highest wage bills in league 2. It is clear to see why an investor would be sceptical in investing their money into Notts County. The new owner would have to shift a number of players on to try and balance the books and with quite a few players on longer-term deals, it could take time to fix the overinvestment.

One of the big draws that were alluded to early in the article was about the home ground of Notts County Meadow Lane. One slight problem a new investor might have is that the club doesn’t own the ground. In fact, Notts County pays rent just to play at the ground. Back in 2003, Haydn Green saved Notts County by buying the lease on the ground. Green, unfortunately, passed away in 2007 and his estate was passed on which included the control of the lease to Meadow Lane. The problem a new owner would face with the ground being controlled elsewhere is that the club technically doesn’t have the ground as an asset. The other problem the new owner could face is if for some reason the rent can’t be paid Notts County could effectively lose their home ground and be left stranded. This could have multiple implications for the club and could see them go out of business altogether.

Overall it’s clear to see why after nearly one Month of being up for sale no buyer has yet been found with the underlying debt issues and ground lease issues present at the oldest Football League Club.

Notts County should take a chance on this striker to help fire them to promotion

Notts County are having a fantastic season in League Two as they are second and only four points behind league leaders Luton Town. The ‘Magpies’ have won 14 of their 26 league matches and are the third highest scorers on 44 goals.

This goal scoring tally has been helped by Jorge Grant, with the on-loan midfielder finding the back of the net on 13 occasions already, but with speculation over his future with the club, manager Kevin Nolan may have to bring in additional firepower to help maintain the promotion push.

With that in mind, the club should turn to Peterborough United striker Ricky Miller.

Ricky Miller – Having only joined ‘Posh’ in the summer, it appears that the strikers days at the club are numbered with Peterborough Today reporting before Christmas that he was available for transfer.

It is rumoured that there are a lot of clubs interested in the signature of Miller, and although he hasn’t found the back of the net for Peterborough, his goalscoring record for Dover was unbelievable as he found the back of the net 40 times in 41 games on his last season with the club, showing he certainly knows where the back of the net is.

Notts County fans would you like to see your club sign Ricky Miller this month? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section…

3 players that Wigan should look to sign to secure promotion

Former Premier League regulars and FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic have had a rough ride in recent years and were relegated from the Championship last season. However, Paul Cook has brought the feel good factor back to Wigan this season as they find themselves top of the table two points clear of Shrewsbury. With fixture congestion and the fact that they could be planning for life in the Championship we have highlighted three players that Paul Cook should look to sign.

 

  1. Jorge Grant

 

Jorge Grant has been absolutely on fire for Kevin Nolan’s Notts County this season with a blistering 16 goals from 32 appearances sending the Magpies top of League two. The left winger is only 23 years of age and is on loan at Notts County from City rivals Nottingham Forest. His form will have certainly got his parent club to reconsider his position at Nottingham Forest and there are rumours that Norwich are keen too. Should Wigan be able to convince Grant to cut his loan short and join the Latics then they will certainly have a great winger with brilliant potential.

 

  1. Sebastien Bassong

31-year-old Sebastien Bassong is a former Premier League defender with Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City but he was released by the latter last season and hasn’t played since. Bassong would be a perfect signing for Wigan considering his Premier League pedigree and experience leading a back line. Even if Paul Cook used the Ivory Coast International as a squad role his experience would surely benefit the Latics’ promotion push.

 

  1. Tosin Adarabioyo

Tosin Adarabioyo has had many people talking about his potential during his time at Manchester City coming up through their academy. The 20 year-old English centre-back has seen his playing time limited under Pep Guardiola and a move to Wigan may well be what he needs to work his way up the league ladder. Paul Cook may well want to let Adarabioyo progress in this Wigan team and with his potential he could be their Premier League star in years to come.

 

Who would you like to see Wigan sign and who could they potentially offload? Let us know in the comments section below.

Checkatrade Trophy: Is The Format Working?

Last season the EFL brought in a new format for the old Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and really it hasn’t helped teams in lower leagues. The new format encourages teams in the Premier League and the Championship to submit an Under 21’s squad into the competition. So is this format still a good idea?

The final of last season’s Checkatrade trophy was between Coventry and Oxford and broke the attendance record for the competition with 74,434, but all of last season the attendance figures at games across the competition was still low, Peterborough United as an example had an attendance of 1696 at their game against Norwich Academy which is a 4,000 less then their average attendance last season.

Last season as well clubs got fined for not fielding full strength squads,  on the 16th November Luton Town and Portsmouth were fined £15,000 for breaching this rule for all three of their group games, whereas Bradford, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons, Millwall, Charlton, Peterborough, Sheffield United and Southend all got fined £3,000 and Fleetwood were fined £5,000. That doesn’t sound like a lot to big clubs but in lower levels it is a lot to those clubs.

The group format is a nice new addition to the competition but for me I think if you took out participation from the Under 21’s it would be a good competition for lower league clubs and will hopefully increase ticket sales for the clubs as that can help boost finances. They also need to remove the full strength squad rule as fining teams for putting different squads out isn’t fair on teams that need to make sure people in their team stay fit and get a chance to show what they’re worth.

*Feature image courtesy of EFL.com*