Well, our pleading has been in vain. I think every single Notts County fan in the world wanted to see Steve Cotterill sign on the dotted line and lead us into the new season. I know I did. However, it clearly was not meant to be.

Now I can understand Cotterill wanting a little time to make his mind up. Indeed, he’d been out of the game for a little while before he got the Notts job, which clearly put his name back on the map. It is a testament to just how well he has done since returning to the game that so many clubs were apparently interested in his services. However, I can’t help but feel a little ‘strung along’ by his antics the last couple of weeks.

By constantly requesting ‘more time’ from Mr Trew and co, it seems like Cotterill was trying to give himself a back up in case the Portsmouth job did not come his way, but that is very disappointing. Let’s be honest here, I was desperate for him to stay, absolutely desperate. However, I was getting sick of him stalling, so in the end I’m glad Mr Trew made the decision for him.

Now we have to wonder who is lined up as a replacement. I’m certain that the club have not been sat on their hands for the last few weeks, and the longer Cotterill has played for time, the more this day will have been expected. Now who do I want for manager? I’ve heard several names mentioned. Indeed, the main one I’ve heard is Paul Ince, who wouldn’t be a terrible appointment.

However, there are many others out there. Alan Curbishley is still out of work. Alan Pardew is rumoured to be on a tightrope down at Southampton, and Chris Coleman is currently out of work, too. As much as I’m surprised at myself saying this, even Tony Mowbray would be interesting. There are many good quality managers out there and I’m confident that whoever Ray Trew appoints will be a success.

Just please don’t let that appointment be John Barnes.

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Please don’t go!

May 23, 2010

Well, there’s not too much I can say about Notts right now, so this will be a short post. I’m sure I’m not alone with my fingers and toes crossed in hope that Steve Cotterill signs on the dotted line.

The man who guided Notts to the League Two title was linked to Coventry before they appointed Aidy Boothroyd, and has now been lined up by both Plymouth and Portsmouth, if the papers are to believed. Now, I know Portsmouth will be in the Championship next year, which might appeal to him, but a move to Plymouth will be a strange one. They have been relegated to League One, and have a major rebuilding project on their hands.

Still, eventually it is Cotterill’s choice. We knew it was a short term deal when he came in, but it would seem Ray Trew has offered him a decent contract and an ambitious budget for the new year. I’m desperate for him to take it.

In other Notts news, the players released a couple of weeks back didn’t contain any major shocks, although it was disappointing to lose Delroy Facey (yes Notts fans, I actually mean it!) I do hope that the manager situation is sorted by this time next week so we can get about building up our squad. Fingers crossed for some more exciting signings if Mr Trew’s vision of another promotion is to come true.

Either way, my season ticket has been ordered, so roll on August!

An update

April 14, 2010

Once again, please accept my apologies for the delay in posting. I’d like to say that the major reason was due to work commitments, but if I did I’d be lying. Other than a few games worth of commentary, I haven’t really got an excuse other than my addiction to Football Manager 2010 (but don’t tell the wife!)

So a lot has happened since I last posted, at both Celtic Park and Meadow Lane. Since I’m feeling optimistic today, I’ll start with Notts.

Steve Cotterill’s appointment has quite simply been inspired. The side seem to be much more secure at the back, and have only conceded in two of his games (Bournemouth and Lincoln) and have scored 24 goals. After a long, controversial and emotionally draining season, promotion is all but assured. Good times.

Now, we have to hope that the players can keep the run going and secure the championship, although if I’m honest that’s just a bonus as far as I’m concerned. Promotion was the only thing that really mattered. However, I’m sure we would all be disappointed if we missed out on the trophy after coming so far.

My eyes are already drifting towards the Summer, where I’m certain we will see the new chairman look to address the club’s bank balance. The sale of Kasper Schmeichel will go a long way towards this, as will getting his £18k a week off the wage bill. That being said, I am pleased with the news that both Hughes and Davies will be staying at Meadow Lane. I’m also certain Steve Cotterill will have his eyes on several targets once the embargo has been lifted, so overall I think we’re in for an exciting few months, before we even consider the World Cup!

All I will say is that if my contact near to the chairman is to be believed, we may see a couple of ‘ambitious’ summer signings. Anyway, I’ll worry about that in a few weeks, as we have a party to enjoy first.

As always, I will see you on the Kop.

"Normally they buy me a drink first..." Sol gets up close (photo: Daily Mail)

 

Now for too long I have remained quiet on the issue of Notts County, this is for a number of reasons (well, two). First of all, Mike has firmly nailed his colours to the County mast, and writes about County with such eloquence and passion that I don’t feel I could contribute anything worth reading. Secondly, I find it difficult to write about because, quite frankly, I don’t care that much about it.

But now I feel that I, as a blogger, must weigh in with my own opinion and, for what it’s worth, I’d like to put forward a potential plan of action that I think will solve all the problems over at Meadow Lane.

Leaving all joking aside, I do think that what is happening to County is an absolute disgrace. It’s like a footballing Agatha Christie novel over there. Let’s consider the cast:

1)      Qadbak Investments – British Virgin Islands based, failed in a bid to buy BMW Sauber. Apparently representing the interests of the Shafi family, initially denied by Anwar Shafi, but then a further press release was issued which indicated that the Shafi family and the Hyat family WERE involved with Qadbak and Notts County (Jesus).

2)      Sol Campbell – Former England defender, left club after one game, presumably not happy that he’d been skinned by most of the Morcombe front line.

3)      Sven-Goran Eriksson – Former England coach, has allegedly demanded upfront payment of his contract from Swiss Commodity Holding, a newly formed Zurich registered company.

4)      Peter Trembling – Notts County Chairman and former Munto Finance cheerleader, last seen stood outside Meadow Lane, playing a tin whistle, begging for money (OK, I made that up)

This was (and is) clearly a ridiculous state of affairs, and shouldn’t have been allowed to get as far as it did. The Football League should have insisted on a full and public exposure of their accounts and structure before even being allowed to look at an English club.  I genuinely don’t understand the secrecy, I mean, are you telling me that Abramovich doesn’t have at least ONE skeleton in his walk- in closet? He probably does, but that doesn’t stop him making appearances at Stamford Bridge.

Anyway, with Trembling scouring the globe looking for investment, I’d like to suggest something that will really help the County cause.

I think they should tarmac over their pitch and use it as an overspill car park for fans travelling to The City Ground. Car Parking space is at a premium around there and they could make an absolute fortune.  I suggest that County play their games over at the Forest Fields Recreational Area, there’s some decent sized pitches over there and also it’s got quite good public transport links, so Lee Hughes would be OK getting home after matches.

*sits back and chuckles*

So the decision has just about been made then. Sven Goran-Eriksson had built up a shortlist of managers, but once Backe’s name appeared the decision seemed to be inevitable, and the club are set to unveil him at 1630 tonight. However, is this a good appointment, or a typical case of ‘jobs for the boys’?

Many doubters appear to be unhappy as Backe has followed Sven around for the last few years, working as his assistant both at Manchester City and with the Mexico national side. There have also been doubts about his lack of knowledge in the lower tiers of the English game, the very reason I myself favoured the appointment of Peter Taylor.

That being said, I think it would be naive to doubt Backe’s credentials. Over the course of his career, Backe has won the Danish title 4 times with Aalborg and FC Copenhagen, the Danish Super Cup twice, and the Danish equivalent to the FA Cup once.

As well as this, he has also won the Scandanavian Royal League, a competition featuring the top 4 teams of the Scanadanavian monarchy nations (Sweden, Denmark and Norway).

Along with his assistant manager experience at Mexico and Manchester City, and his time at Salzburg, it is fair to say that Backe certainly has the tools to take the club forward.

The appointment has further advantages with his relationship with Sven. This will hopefully ensure the two maintain a smooth working relationship, which is certainly advantageous to the club. This will allow them to work together to sign the best possible players, and also to bring youngsters through to the first team.

My biggest concern was his lack of knowledge of the English game. However, it is fair to say that Sven has been pretty thorough during his time in England, and with a good solid British backroom, I’d like to think those fears are unfounded.

Since Munto invested, we have been advised that the club’s scouting network has considerably improved, and this will also help Backe to progress.

I am confident the place where he will exceed though is on the training field, and he should hopefully tighten us up defensively whilst continuing to play great football. He also has the benefit of managing at a higher level, and so playing in League One and the Championship (providing we get there…) will not daunt him. I for one would be unhappy if promotion meant we would have to constantly change manager, as at this time the thing we need most is a degree of continuity.

To finish then, I’d just like to welcome Mr Backe to the rollercoaster that is Notts County. I hope you enjoy the ride.

We certainly are!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m still grinning at the two pieces of good news we’ve had this week.

First, Sven confirmed he was turning down the advances of his country to continue his new romance with the ‘Pies, and then the FA confirmed Munto Finance had finally passed the ‘Fit and Proper Persons’ test. Fantastic for us all, but now it’s back to business.

Sven is on the hunt for the ‘right man’ to take the club forward, but like most things at Notts these days, his cards are being kept very close to his chest. So who is the right man for the job?

In my opinion, (and it purely is my opinion) Peter Taylor is the best candidate out there. Now many people are expecting a ‘marquee’ signing, a huge name manager to come in and catapault us up the leagues. I have to question the realism of this, and indeed, even if it is the right thing for the club?

In our current position, I think the most important aspect of the new man’s CV should be ‘does he have lower league experience’? If the answer to that question is no, then he should be eliminated from the search.

A manager like Taylor, who is well schooled in the bottom tiers, is aware of the other teams around us, and the better quality players. If you couple that with Sven’s contacts, we should be able to sign some good youngsters from Premier League clubs and develop a good mix going forward. And let’s be honest here, we’ve already got a decent little squad thanks to Charlie’s efforts over the summer.

The other advantage of a manager such as Taylor is he also has some experience in the Premier League and the Championship, as well as his time with the England kids.

I have seen the Evening Post have announced Taylor has been ruled out, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Other options for me are Paul Jewell and Steve Coppell, but I’m unsure as to just how realistic an appointment Coppell will be.

However, the likes of Roberto Mancini for me are miles wide of the mark, and I’d struggle to see how he would benefit a lower division club such as ourselves.

Then again, if we wait another week I’m sure Roy Keane will become available. Now there’s a possibility…

Mowbray must wield the axe

October 19, 2009

Well, it’s a frustrating time at Celtic Park right now. Tony Mowbray must be scratching his head at just how poor Celtic have been since the season began. The highlight of the season so far was undoubtedly the win in Moscow, but that aside we’ve been ordinary at best.

I can only advise ‘Mogga’ to rip the squad apart in January because it’s painfully obvious we aren’t good enough right now, and the problem is the same as last year; We just can’t take our chances.

I think there are a few too many players who need to be moved on, and if I can see this, I’m certain Mogga can too, and this means quite simply that Peter Lawwell has to put his hand in his pocket and support his manager.

I’ve already heard a bit of grumbling about Mowbray and his team, but let’s be honest, it ISN’T his team yet. He’s not been able to put his stamp on the side, and we’re still playing with Strachan’s players.

The other week at Ibrox we were a shambles defensively and toothless up front, and this cannot be allowed to continue. Gary Caldwell whining about a new contract whilst we are at our worst at the back for years won’t have gone unnoticed, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him punted in the window, along with other underperforming players.

What is certain is we need to see the board invest. A new commanding centre half and a striker are obvious targets, but I’d like to see us change our system and try something different. It was good to see a couple of changes for this weekend, including giving McGinn a start and seeing Robson back in the side but Mowbray must be thinking about going to his favoured 4-3-3 soon.

But let’s be honest here. Celtic are dire. Only time will tell if the board are prepared to resolve that by backing their manager.