Next Match

 

Newport County v Notts County

Sky Bet Football League Two
Saturday 17th February 2018


The Town

Nottingham, the regional capital of Nottinghamshire, received its first charter from Henry II in 1155 and was made a city in 1897. It has long been associated with the legend of Robin Hood, Raleigh bicycles and the home of the Luddites. The city also played a decisive role in the development of industrial Britain, with the advent of Arkwright's spinning machine in 1769, transforming Nottingham into the lace capital of England. At the heart of the city is the old Market Square, one of the largest market places in the country, and once the setting for its famous October Goose Fair. The fair, which began in medieval times, is one of the largest in the UK. Quickly outgrowing this central venue by the early 1900s, it has been held since in Forest Fields, on the northern edge of town. The old medieval town grew up around its castle and market place, which is now at the centre an extensive shopping district, with two large indoor centres, plus a wide range of branded chain stores and many smaller bespoke outlets. Today the city boasts three of the oldest sporting societies in Britain. The Trent Bridge county cricket club, opened in 1838. Nottingham Forest FC, established in 1865 and Notts County FC, established in 1862 - the oldest Football League club in England. Nottingham has many historical attractions, such as the Lace Centre, brimming with delicate white and cream Nottingham Lace, the 17th century Nottingham Castle, and the 750 year old caves under the town centre. Located just below the castle is the 'Trip to Jerusalem'. Once a brew-house for the castle, it claims to be one of the oldest public inns in Britain, dating back to around 1189. It is said that the Crusaders stopped there for a hearty tankard of ale before setting off on their long journey to the Holy Land. To the east of the castle hill stands a bronze statue of Robin Hood, the legendary outlaw of Sherwood Forest. The forest (to the north of Nottingham), once covered some two hundred square miles during the 12th century but now much has been felled for farmland. It was from this forest that the folklore hero is said to have carried on his infamous feud with the Sheriff of Nottingham. However, Nottingham's earliest records of a sheriff are not until 1449. It is possible that the stories may have been based on one of the many 12th or 14th century outlaws, who continued to resist the Norman and Plantagenet kings of that era.


Directions

By Road

Leave the M4 at Junction 26 and take the A4051 towards Newport. After going under a flyover (which is the A4042) you will reach a large roundabout where you take the 2nd exit keeping in the filter lane towards the City Centre/Railway Station (do not go up the adjoining slip road onto the A4042). At the next roundabout take the 1st exit going across the river onto the B4591 towards Maindee. At the traffic lights bear right onto Chepstow Road and then take the first right into Corporation Road. Take the next right into Grafton Road and the entrance and ticket office are down on the left. There is no parking available at the ground for supporters and there is a 'residents only' parking scheme in operation in the street around the stadium. So it is either a case of finding street parking further away or use one of the city centre car parks, such as Kingsway Shopping Centre, which costs £2 for five hours. There is also a small open pay and display car park on Chepstow Road which costs £1.85 for five hours.

By Train
Newport railway station is situated around a quarter of a mile away from the stadium and is a relatively short walk. The station is served by trains from London Paddington & Bristol Temple Meads. As you come out of the main station entrance turn left along the main (Queensway) road. Follow this road until you reach a large roundabout. Take the pedestrian underpass down underneath the roundabout and at the centre turn left towards Clarence Place/River Usk. After you have come back up to street level you should see a bridge in front of you going across the river. Cross the bridge and then take the first right hand turn into Rodney Parade and the stadium is down this road on the left.

 

Club History

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). 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, including the Castle Ground, the Magpies settled at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in 1883. However, when Trent Bridge was in use for cricket, County played matches at the Castle Ground or Nottingham Forest's Town Ground. 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. In 1888, Notts County, along with eleven other football clubs, became a founding member of The Football League. 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 third in 1890–91, an achievement they repeated ten seasons later. On 25 March 1891, Notts County reached the FA Cup final for the first time. 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. In 1910 they moved to Meadow Lane. 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. 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. 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. After surviving relegation at the end of the season, Sirrel became the club's general manager, with his assistant Howard Wilkinson taking over as manager. County survived relegation a little more comfortably the following season, but Wilkinson was tempted away by the manager's job at his boyhood club, Sheffield Wednesday, and the board recruited former Wigan Athletic manager Larry Lloyd to replace him. Despite a good run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, where they eventually lost to Everton, the club had a poor league campaign that ultimately resulted in their relegation. This poor form continued into the following season, resulting in Lloyd's dismissal with the club bottom of the Second Division. Richie Barker took over as manager, but failed to improve the club's fortunes, and was dismissed after less than six months in charge. Jimmy Sirrel took charge of the team once again, and while the club's form improved, it came too late, and County suffered their second successive relegation. After two decent but unremarkable finishes in the Third Division, Sirrel finally retired in 1987, bringing to a close one of the most successful and memorable periods in Notts County's history. He was replaced by John Barnwell, who nearly steered the club to automatic promotion in the season that followed, but a late stumble meant they had to settle for the play-offs, where they lost to eventual winners Walsall. The team failed to repeat their form the following season and instead found themselves battling relegation to the Fourth Division, resulting in Barnwell being dismissed just before Christmas. 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. 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. 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. Notts had led for much of the game, until Forest got a free kick from which they equalised. Notts fans were reluctantly resigning themselves to a draw, when Palmer headed in the winner. This was all the more remarkable because he only scored 4 goals in his whole career. The game has become a celebrated event among Notts County fans, who have dubbed 12 February (the anniversary of the game) Sir Charlie Palmer Day, and Charlie Palmer has been referred to as "Sir Charlie" by Notts fans ever since. 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, with Walker, Russell Slade, Howard Kendall and Steve Nicol each taking control of the team at different times throughout the season, before the club appointed yet another manager, Colin Murphy after the season ended. 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. 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. 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 only 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 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 division finish in 2006–07. The following season started with poor results, 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. However, 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. 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. 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. A week later former England manager Sven-Gφran Eriksson was announced as the club's new Director of Football, having been persuaded by convicted fraudster Russell King to join Notts County. On 28 July 2009, the club unveiled a new logo. 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. The League also stated that public disclosure of their ownership structure was a "matter for the club". 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. On 12 December 2009 Peter Trembling purchased the club for a nominal fee from Munto Finance. 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. Ray Trew bought the club in February 2010 and 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. Cotterill led the club to the League Two title after a 5–0 away win against the already-relegated Darlington, 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. Four days later Paul Ince was appointed Manager and the following day Alex Rae was appointed as Ince's Assistant. In April 2011 Ince left the club by mutual consent. Carl Heggs was then appointed caretaker manager before Martin Allen became his permanent successor. 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. 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. On 3 February 2013 Chris Kiwomya was appointed caretaker manager. On 27 March 2013, he was appointed full-time manager on a three-year deal. On 27 October 2013 Kiwomya left the club by mutual consent. On 6 November 2013 Shaun Derry was appointed manager. Despite it looking as though the team would be relegated from League One, Derry was able to turn the team's fortunes around in a run that saw them take 19 points from the last 9 games of the 2013–14 season and avoid relegation thanks to a 1–1 draw away at Oldham Athletic on the final day. On 23 March 2015 Derry and assistant manager Greg Abbott were sacked after winning only 3 games in 24 matches since November 2014. On 7 April 2015 Ricardo Moniz was appointed manager on a 3-year contract and his reign ended prematurely after a poor start to life in League Two with County in the lower reaches at the end of 2015. Notts County appointed former Bolton coach Jamie Fullarton in January 2016 and he lasted for just 69 days being replaced by former Swindon Town boss Mark Cooper in March 2016. He left in mysterious circumstances before the end of the season and replaced by former Newcastle United and West Ham player Kevin Nolan who guided them to a top 10 finish.
 

Previous Meetings

The sides met at Meadow Lane in December 2015 and County somehow manager to squander a victory after being 2-0 up and comfortable they went down 4-3 losing to a very late goal. County went down to a narrow 1-0 home defeat in a lacklustre last home game of the season in April 2016. County gained a surprise 3-0 at Meadow Lane in November 2016 and completed the double with the vital 2-1 home win in May to preserve their league status. County suffered a 3-0 defeat at Meadow Lane in October 2017 not helped by unfortunate Dan Butler sending off which was recinded.

 

The Verdict