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Notts County F.C

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Notts County F.C

Notts County
Full name Notts County Football Club
Nickname(s) The Magpies
Founded 1862
Ground Meadow Lane
Ground Capacity 20,229[1]
Owner Ray Trew
Chairman Ray Trew
Manager Steve Hodge (caretaker)
League League One
2012–13 League One, 12th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Notts County Football Club (often known as Notts or County or by their nickname The Magpies) is a professional football club based in Nottingham, England. Formed on 28 November 1862, Notts County are the oldest football team in the world to currently play at a professional level.[2][3] Between 1888–89 and 2012–13 they played a total of 4,710 Football League matches – more than any other English team.[4] They currently play in League One of The Football League, the third tier in the English football league system. County play their home games at Meadow Lane in black and white striped shirts.

The club has had several spells in the top division of English football, most recently in 1991–92, when County played in the old First Division. Notable former managers of Notts County include Jimmy Sirrel, Howard Wilkinson, Neil Warnock, Howard Kendall and Sam Allardyce. The club has had several owners. In the 21st century, a series of financial problems has seen the club owned by a Supporters' trust, who sold the club to Munto Finance – a subsidiary of Qadbak Investments.[5] Further monetary difficulties saw the club sold, for a nominal fee, to Peter Trembling, who then sold the club to Ray Trew for £1[6] after the club had been served with two winding up petitions from HM Revenue and Customs due to demands for a late PAYE payment of around £500,000.[7]


Formation and early years

Notts County are the oldest professional league club in the world having been formed in 1862.

County pre-dated The Football Association and initially played a game of its own devising, rather than association football. At the time of its formation, Notts County, like most sports teams, were considered to be a "gentlemen-only" club. Notts County are considered to be one of the pioneers of the modern game and are the oldest of the world's professional association football clubs (there are older professional clubs in other codes of football, and Sheffield F.C., an amateur club founded in 1857, are the oldest club now playing association football).[8]

The club initially played at Park Hollow in the grounds of the old Nottingham Castle. In December 1864, the decision was made to play games against outside opposition, and it was decided that the club needed to find a bigger venue. After playing at several grounds, The Magpies settled at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in 1883. In November 1872, the Notts County full-back Ernest Greenhalgh played for England against Scotland in the first-ever international match, thereby becoming the club's first international player.

Football League

In 1888, Notts County, along with eleven other football clubs, became a founding member of The Football League.[9] They finished their first league season in 11th place, but avoided the dubious honour of the wooden spoon, which went to Midlands rivals Stoke. However, Notts County did achieve their highest ever league finish of 3rd in 1890–91, an achievement they repeated ten seasons later.

FA Cup Finals

On 25 March 1891, Notts County reached the FA Cup final for the first time.[10] The Magpies were defeated 3–1 by Blackburn Rovers at The Oval, despite having beaten the same side 7–1 in the league only a week earlier.

Notts County made up for this on 31 March 1894, when they won the FA Cup at Goodison Park, defeating Bolton Wanderers 4–1 in a game in which Jimmy Logan scored the second hat-trick in FA Cup final history. This achievement is also memorable for Notts County becoming the first club outside the top division to win the FA Cup: Notts County finished 3rd in Division Two that season.


Notts County were relegated in 1926 in what was to be their last season in the English top flight for over half a century. The 1925–26 season was the last season that famed giant goalkeeper Albert Iremonger played for the club. Legend among Notts County supporters it has been said he had 'hands like the claws of a JCB and was a seven foot tall monster'[11]

World War II to the 1950s

The club suspended all fixtures during the 1941–42 season after Meadow Lane was hit by enemy bombing. In the 1946–47 season, the ground was used temporarily by Nottingham Forest after the River Trent flooded both Meadow Lane and the City Ground. Forest again used Meadow Lane in 1968, after fire destroyed the main stand at the City Ground. The 'golden age' of the club came just after the end of World War II. County stunned the footballing world by signing Tommy Lawton from Chelsea for a then-record fee.

Lawton's arrival increased crowds by over 10,000. One incident during this period saw 10,000 fans locked outside the ground. In the 1949–50 season, Notts County clinched the Third Division (South) championship. Crowds averaged 35,000 as The Magpies held off Nottingham Forest in a thrilling championship race. The 1950–51 season was to be the last season in which Notts County would compete in a higher league than their city rivals.

As the 1950s drew to a close, Nottingham Forest replaced Notts County as the city's biggest club. After the 1957–58 season, the two clubs would not play each other again in a League match for sixteen years.

1960s to 1990s

Jimmy Sirrel era

The Magpies struggled during the 1960s, being on the brink of financial ruin and striving to avoid the indignity of having to apply for re-election to the league. This situation continued until Jack Dunnett, a local Member of Parliament, took control of the club. He appointed Jimmy Sirrel, a charismatic Scot who had once played for Celtic F.C., as manager in November 1969. In the 1970–71 season, The Magpies clinched the Fourth Division title in record-breaking style, remaining unbeaten at Meadow Lane.

Two seasons later, Notts County were again promoted, this time to Division Two. It marked an amazing turnaround in form under Sirrel and would also renew meetings with old adversaries Forest. Sirrel departed for Sheffield United in October 1975 but returned two years later.

Sirrel completed the remarkable transformation of Notts County in May 1981. He had turned The Magpies from Fourth Division strugglers to a top division side in little over a decade, ending an absence of fifty-five years from the top flight. This achievement was with the same chairman (Jack Dunnett) and trainer (Jack Wheeler) throughout the decade.

In one of the most famous moments in the club's modern history, Notts County visited newly crowned champions Aston Villa on the opening day of the season. The Villa team had paraded their League Championship trophy to an expectant crowd before kickoff, but against all odds, County came away with a 1–0 victory. Notts County were relegated three seasons later, but not before reaching the FA Cup quarter-final, which they lost to Everton. Sirrel also retired at the end of that season. He came out of retirement a few months later in an unsuccessful attempt to save Notts County from a second consecutive relegation. Sirrel finally retired in 1987, bringing to a close one of the most successful and memorable periods in Notts County's history.

Neil Warnock era

In late 1988, a new manager arrived. Neil Warnock had previously led Scarborough into the Football League as champions of the Football Conference. At the end of his first full season, Warnock had led Notts County to promotion back to Division Two. The club anthem The Wheelbarrow song originated during this season, stemming from the club's historic first game at Wembley Stadium in a 2–0 win over Tranmere Rovers. A famous 1–0 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup booked them a place in the quarter-final, which they lost to eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur. Notts County also booked their second successive visit to Wembley and their second successive promotion. The Magpies defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 3–1 in front of 60,000 spectators, 25,000 of which were Notts County fans.

The following season was disappointing, seeing Notts County relegated from the top flight after just one season back there. Their first game of that season was a prestigious visit to Manchester United at Old Trafford, where they lost 2–0. However, they did manage to hold the Reds to a 1–1 draw in the return game at Meadow Lane just after the turn of the year, as United began a dismal second half of the season which ultimately cost them the league title. County's relegation came shortly after the sale of strikers Paul Rideout and Tommy Johnson, which raked in nearly £2million in total and contributed towards a £5million stadium revamp which saw Meadow Lane rebuilt on three sides shortly afterwards.[12]

With the introduction of the Premier League, County were relegated from the old Division One to the new Division One. Warnock was dismissed in January 1993 and was succeeded by Mick Walker. Walker successfully averted a second consecutive relegation.

Mick Walker era

The Magpies narrowly missed the play-offs for promotion to the Premiership. The season is most remembered for a 2–1 victory over arch rivals Nottingham Forest in which Charlie Palmer scored the winning goal with just four minutes remaining. This has become a celebrated event among Notts County fans, who have dubbed 12 February (the anniversary of the game) Sir Charlie Palmer Day. In March 1994, Notts County lost the Anglo-Italian Cup final to Brescia.

Walker was surprisingly sacked in September 1994. This event triggered a dramatic decline in the club's fortunes that has persisted to the present. Notts won the Anglo-Italian Cup at Wembley in March 1995, but ended the season relegated to Division Two. County made another visit to Wembley Stadium in the 1996 play-off final, but missed the chance of a return to Division One with a 2–0 defeat to Bradford City.

Sam Allardyce era

The following season ranks among the club's worst, as they managed just seven victories all season and finished in the bottom position of the league table. Relegation to the league's basement division happened just six years after promotion to the top flight. However, success followed relegation under Sam Allardyce. The Magpies secured the Division Three title in March 1998 by a record margin of seventeen points. They became the first side since World War II to win promotion in mid-March, with six games still remaining.


Financial crisis and relegation battles

Allardyce left in October 1999 to join his old team Bolton Wanderers. In September 2003, Notts County faced the real possibility of dissolution. Crippling debts and an increasingly impatient Football League board combined to leave the future of the league's oldest club in doubt. However, the considerable efforts of a group of local businessmen and the club's supporters helped save the club from extinction. But despite new ownership, the club were unable to avoid relegation back to the bottom division in 2004. In a similar circumstance as their relegation in 1992, due to the rebranding of the Football League, County went from Division Two to League Two.

Ian Richardson replaced Gary Mills as manager in November 2004. Richardson managed to guide the club away from the relegation zone and held the manager's job until the end of the season when Gudjon Thordarson became the club's sixth manager in five years. The 2005–06 season began well for the Magpies, they won or drew their first seven league games and were top of the table in September. But their form dropped, and they escaped relegation on the final day of the season with a 2–2 draw against Bury, whilst Oxford United lost and went down. The Magpies' 21st place in League Two and in 89th place overall, was the lowest position the club had ever finished, and at the end of the season both the chairman and the manager left, a long-standing youth squad programme was ended, and many of the first-team players were out of contract or nearing contract maturity.

Former assistant manager Steve Thompson was appointed as manager and he led the team to a 13th place league finish in 2006–07. The following season started with poor results for Notts, including early exits from the League Cup and the Football League Trophy, and Thompson was sacked in October 2007, to be replaced by Ian 'Charlie' McParland. The team's poor form continued and safety from relegation was only secured in the penultimate match of the season. McParland parted company with the club in October 2009 with Notts fifth in League Two and 4 points from the top of the table; youth team manager Michael Johnson and Assistant Manager Dave Kevan were installed as joint caretaker managers.

Middle East investment

In June 2009, it was announced that County were in talks on a takeover by Munto Finance, a Middle Eastern consortium owned by Qadbak Investments and represented by Nathan and Peter Willett. Speculated by the British media and supported in part by various press releases, the club were believed to be given multi-million pound backing and were linked during the takeover's initial planning stages with the Qatari royal family by British tabloids; however, the latter claim was denied by the family.[13] The Supporters' Trust, who owned the majority 60% share in the club, voted in favour of the takeover. On 14 July 2009, the takeover was confirmed, with Peter Trembling being appointed as Executive Chairman.[14] A week later former England manager Eriksson was announced as the club's new Director of Football, having been persuaded by convicted fraudster Russell King to join Notts County.[15] On 28 July 2009, the club unveiled a new logo.[16]

On 20 October 2009, the League announced that County's owners had met its "fit and proper persons" regulations, and that while their structure was "complicated" and featured "both offshore entities and discretionary trusts", it had provided "extensive disclosure" to the League on their ownership structure.[17] The League also stated that public disclosure of their ownership structure was a "matter for the club".[17] On 27 November 2009, The Guardian revealed that the league reopened its inquiries into the ownership of Notts County. The League chairman, Brian Mawhinney, confirmed the club has been sent a series of questions relating to its ownership structure.[18]

On 12 December 2009 Peter Trembling purchased the club for a nominal fee from Munto Finance.

Post Munto era

Hans Backe, Eriksson's former assistant at Manchester City, was given the job of manager in October 2009 . He signed a three-year deal and stated his intent to get the club promoted to League 1, but resigned two months later after just nine games in charge.[19] After two months without a permanent manager, Steve Cotterill was given the Notts County job until the end of the 2009–2010 season in February 2010.[20][21] Cotterill led the club to the League Two title after a 5–0 away against the already-relegated Darlington,[22] becoming the third club to win the fourth tier of English football three times. A month after winning the title Cotterill stated that he would not be renewing his contract at Meadow Lane. Ex-Notts County player Craig Short replaced Cotterill as Manager but was relieved of duties along with Assistant Manager Dave Kevan on 24 October 2010.[23]

Four days later Paul Ince was appointed Manager[24] and the following day Alex Rae was appointed as Ince's Assistant.[25] In April 2011 Ince left the club by mutual consent. Carl Heggs was then appointed caretaker manager before Martin Allen became his permanent successor.[26] Allen turned around the team's poor form in the league and managed to avoid relegation. Allen was relieved of duties on 18 February 2012.[27] He was replaced with Keith Curle. Curle was able to improve the form of the team as the club finished the 2011–12 season in 7th position, missing out on the play offs by goal difference only. Curle left the club on 3 February 2013.[28]

On 3 February 2013 Chris Kiwomya was appointed caretaker manager.[29] On 27 March 2013, he was appointed full-time manager on a three-year deal.[30]

On 27 October 2013 Kiwomya left the club by mutual consent.[31]

Colours and crest

Notts County's first known colours were amber and black hooped shirts, dating from the 1870s. This was followed by short spells playing in amber, then chocolate and blue halves. In 1890 the club adopted black and white striped shirts, and have played in these colours for most of the rest of their history.[32]

Juventus F.C. shirts

The Italian football club Juventus F.C. derived its famous black-and-white striped kits from Notts County. Juventus have played in black and white striped shirts, with white shorts, sometimes black shorts since 1903. Originally, they played in pink shirts with a black tie, which only occurred due to the wrong shirts being sent to them, the father of one of the players made the earliest shirts, but continual washing faded the colour so much that in 1903 the club sought to replace them.[33] Juventus asked one of their team members, Englishman John Savage, if he had any contacts in England who could supply new shirts in a colour that would better withstand the elements. He had a friend who lived in Nottingham, who being a Notts County supporter, shipped out the black and white striped shirts to Turin.[34]

On 8 September 2011 to mark the opening of the new Stadium in Turin, Juventus invited Notts County for an historic exhibition match. The game ended 1–1 with goals from Luca Toni and Lee Hughes coming in the second half.[35] In return, Notts County have extended an invitation to Juventus for a return match at Meadow Lane in 2012 to celebrate County's 150th anniversary.[36]


Notts County view their main rivals as neighbours Nottingham Forest. However, during recent stints in the lower levels of the Football League, rivalry has increased with Nottinghamshire neighbours Mansfield Town. Other clubs sharing local rivalries with Notts County are Derby County, Leicester City, Lincoln City and Chesterfield.

Current squad

As of 29 August 2013.[37]


Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Poland GK Bartosz Białkowski
2 Sierra Leone DF Mustapha Dumbuya
3 Republic of Ireland DF Alan Sheehan
4 England MF Gary Liddle
5 England DF Manny Smith
6 England DF Dean Leacock (captain)
7 Republic of Ireland MF Jack Grealish (on loan from Aston Villa)
8 Scotland MF Callum McGregor (on loan from Celtic)
9 Nigeria FW Enoch Showunmi
10 England FW Danny Haynes
11 England MF David Bell
12 Canada FW Marcus Haber (on loan from Stevenage)
14 England FW Adam Coombes
15 Martinique FW Yoann Arquin
No. Position Player
16 England MF Joss Labadie
17 England FW Tyrell Waite
18 England MF Andy Haworth
19 Republic of Ireland FW Ronan Murray
20 Jamaica MF Jamal Campbell-Ryce
21 England MF Curtis Thompson
22 Scotland MF Mark Fotheringham
23 Germany GK Fabian Spiess
25 Northern Ireland MF Greg Tempest
26 England DF Hayden Hollis
28 Trinidad and Tobago MF Andre Boucaud
31 England FW Romello Nangle
35 England GK Kevin Pilkington

Coaching staff

Position Staff
Goalkeeping Coach England Kevin Pilkington
Physiotherapist Wales Becky Knight
Assist. Physiotherapist England Dom McAleenan
Chief Scout England Matthew Alexander
Head of Academy South Africa Andy McMillan
Head of Youth England Mick Leonard

Last updated: 2 July 2013
Source: Notts County FC

League history

L1 = Level 1 of the football league system; L2 = Level 2 of the football league system; L3 = Level 3 of the football league system; L4 = Level 4 of the football league system.

  • Seasons spent at Level 1 of the football league system: 30
  • Seasons spent at Level 2 of the football league system: 37
  • Seasons spent at Level 3 of the football league system: 31
  • Seasons spent at Level 4 of the football league system: 15

Ups and downs

With a total of thirteen promotions and fifteen relegations,[38] no club has moved between the divisions of the Football League on more occasions than Notts County.

Promotion year 1897 1914 1923 1931 1950 1960 1971 1973 1981 1990 1991 1998 2010

Relegation year 1893 1913 1920 1926 1930 1935 1958 1959 1964 1984 1985 1992 1995 1997 2004


Club records

Highest Attendance 47,310 vs York City, FA Cup 6th Round, 12 March 1955

Highest Gate Receipts £277,781.25 vs Manchester City, FA Cup 4th Round, 30 January 2011

Record League Victory 11–1 vs Newport County, Division Three South, 15 January 1949

Record Cup Victory 15–0 vs Rotherham Town, FA Cup 1st Round, 24 October 1885

Most League Points (2 for a win) 69, Division Four 1970–71

Most League Points (3 for a win) 99, Division Three 1997–98

Most League Goals 107, Division Four 1959–60

Highest Scorer in One Season Tom Keetley, 39, Division Three South 1930–31

All Time Top Scorer (League) Les Bradd, 125, 1967–78

All Time Most Appearances (League) Albert Iremonger, 564, 1904–26

Youngest player (League) Tony Bircumshaw, 16 years and 54 days, 3 April 1961

Most consecutive away league games without defeat 19, 28 February 2012–26 December 2012

As of the 2012–13 season, Notts County have played more league games (4710) than any other English side.[39]

Managerial statistics

As of 27 October 2013
Name Nat From To Record
P W D L Win %
Neil Warnock England 5 January 1989 14 January 1993 205 90 45 70 43.90
Mick Walker England 14 January 1993 14 September 1994 82 31 19 32 37.80
Russell Slade England September 1994 January 1995 23 6 5 12 26.09
Howard Kendall England January 1995 January 1995 15 4 4 7 26.67
Steve Nicol Scotland 20 January 1995 5 June 1995 20 4 7 9 20.00
Colin Murpy England 5 June 1995 23 December 1996 83 33 24 26 39.76
Sam Allardyce England 16 January 1997 19 October 1999 145 56 39 50 38.62
Gary Brazil England 23 October 1999 June 2000 34 10 9 15 29.41
Jocky Scott Scotland June 2000 October 2001 71 28 19 24 39.44
Gary Brazil England 10 October 2001 7 January 2002 20 4 6 10 20.00
Billy Dearden England January 2002 January 2004 103 30 27 46 29.13
Gary Mills England January 2004 November 2004 40 10 11 19 25.00
Ian Richardson England November 2004 June 2005 34 11 9 14 32.35
Gudjon Thordarson Iceland June 2005 June 2006 50 13 16 21 26.00
Steve Thompson England June 2006 October 2007 65 21 19 25 32.31
Ian McParland Scotland October 2007 October 2009 103 28 31 44 27.18
Dave Kevan / Michael Johnson October 2009 October 2009 2 1 1 0 50.00
Hans Backe Sweden October 2009 December 2009 7 2 3 2 28.57
Dave Kevan Scotland December 2009 February 2010 11 6 3 2 54.55
Steve Cotterill England February 2010 May 2010 18 14 3 1 77.78
Craig Short England June 2010 October 2010 18 8 1 9 44.44
Paul Ince England October 2010 April 2011 29 10 6 13 34.48
Carl Heggs England April 2011 April 2011 2 0 0 2 &00.00
Martin Allen England April 2011 18 February 2012 43 16 10 17 37.21
Keith Curle England 20 February 2012 2 February 2013 51 23 14 14 45.10
Chris Kiwomya England 2 February 2013 27 October 2013 34 9 9 16 26.47
Steve Hodge England 27 October 2013 Present 0 0 0 0 !
Total 0 0 0 0

Most appearances

Name Career Appearances
1 England Albert Iremonger 1904–26 601
2 England Brian Stubbs 1968–80 486
3 England Pedro Richards 1974–86 485
4 England David Needham 1965–77 471
5 Scotland Don Masson 1968–82 455
6 England Les Bradd 1967–78 442
7 England Percy Mills 1927–39 434
8= England Billy Flint 1908–26 408
8= England David Hunt 1977–87 408
10 England Dean Yates 1985–95 394

Most goals

Name Career Goals
1 England Les Bradd 1967–78 137
2 England Tony Hateley 1958–63, 1970–72 114
3 England Jackie Sewell 1946–51 104
4 England Tommy Lawton 1947–52 103
5 England Tom Keetley 1929–33 98
6 Scotland Don Masson 1968–82 97
7 Scotland Tom Johnston 1948–57 93
8 Scotland Ian McParland 1980–89 90
9 England Harry Daft 1885–95 81
10= England Mark Stallard 1999–2004, 2005 79
10= England Trevor Christie 1979–84 79
10= England Gary Lund 1987–95 79

Notable former players

For details on former players who have a World Heritage Encyclopedia article, see: Category:Notts County F.C. players


External links

  • Notts County F.C. on Club statistics
  • Notts County official website
  • Notts County Supporters Trust
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