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Notts County F.C.
Notts County badge
Full name Notts County Football Club
Nickname(s) The Magpies
Founded 1862
Ground Meadow Lane
(Capacity: 19,588)
Owner Ray Trew
Chairman Ray Trew
Manager Steve Cotterill
League League Two
2008–09 League Two, 19th
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Notts County Football Club (often known as Notts or County or by their nickname The Magpies) are an English professional football club based in Nottingham. They are the oldest professional football league club in the world, having been formed in 1862.[1] They currently play in League Two (formerly the Fourth Division) of the Football League, part of 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, Neil Warnock, Howard Kendall and Sam Allardyce.

In July 2009, the club was bought by Qadbak Investments through its subsidiary Munto Finance, who soon appointed former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson as Director of Football.[2] On 12 December 2009, it was announced that Notts County chairman, Peter Trembling had purchased the club for a nominal fee from Munto Finance.[3] Notts have been served with a second winding up petition from HM Revenue and Customs due to demands for a late PAYE payment of around £500,000.[4] On 11 February 2010 Peter Trembling sold the football club to a new consortium headed by Ray Trew.[5]




Formation and early years

Notts County are the oldest professional league club in the world having been formed in 1862. The Nottingham Guardian from 28 November 1862 reporting:

The opening of the Nottingham Football Club commenced on Tuesday last at Cremorne Gardens. A aide was chosen by W.Arkwright and Chas. Deakin. A very spirited game resulted in the latter scoring two goals and two rouges against one and one.

County pre-dated the 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).[6]

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.

Football League

Chart showing the progress of Notts County F.C. through the English football league system from the inaugural season in 1888–89 to 2007–08 when Notts County came 21st in League Two.

In 1888, Notts County, along with eleven other football clubs, became a founding member of The Football League[7]. 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.[8] 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 first 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'[9]

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 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), captain (Don Masson), 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. 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.[citation needed] This game was the last competitive Nottingham derby fixture to date. In March 1993 Notts County lost the Anglo-Italian Cup 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-offs, 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

Logo used until 2009

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 loyal and upbeat 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.

The 2004–05 season was a season of highs and lows for Notts. Despite high levels of expectation about promotion, it soon became apparent that Notts County would not be challenging. Fans would have to wait until October before the club recorded a home win; County even occupied bottom place in September.

Player Ian Richardson relieved Gary Mills as manager in November 2004. Richardson managed to guide the club away from the relegation zone with little experience at football management. He held the manager's job until the end of the season in January 2005, and the club announced in April that Richardson would not be the manager during the following season. On 17 May 2005, former Iceland manager Gudjon Thordarson became the club's sixth manager in five years.

The 2005–06 season began promisingly for the Magpies. Thordarson and assistant manager Ross MacLaren instituted a strenuous fitness regime, including double training sessions. These actions ensured that the Notts County squad were fitter than the rest of the league at the start of the season.

The club won or drew their first seven league games and were top of the table in September. But soon the fitness of other squads matched that of the Magpies, who stumbled and lost or drew the next fourteen games. A strong January with just one defeat saw talk of promotion re-emerge, but a disappointing stretch in February included five consecutive defeats and one draw, ending all talk of promotion. The club managed to win just thirteen points out of a possible forty-eight in their last sixteen games, and again faced relegation.

On the final day of the season, Notts were just two points above the relegation zone as they faced Bury, another side in danger of relegation. A season high attendance of 9,817, of which 8,594 were home supporters, watched the game. The Magpies at one point trailed by a score of 2–0. With Oxford United and Stockport County drawing their games, the club were only one Oxford United goal away from relegation. But a late rally saw Notts level the score at 2–2, and Oxford's 3–2 defeat ensured the Magpies' safety.

Despite avoiding relegation, Notts County finished in 21st place in League Two and in 89th place overall, the lowest position the club had ever finished. The state of the club seemed worrisome as a number of issues had become apparent. This situation resulted in the departure of both the chairman and the manager, the cessation of a long-standing youth squad programme, and many of the players out of contract or nearing contract maturity.

Steve Thompson returns

Thompson had previously been assistant to Colin Murphy, who was widely blamed for the relegation in the 1996–97 season. Thompson's only real success as a manager had been with Southend United over ten years previously. Notts County's new boss signed fourteen new players, including former Nottingham Forest player Jason Lee.

However, the club lost only twice in their first fifteen games and became a promotion contender. But blips in form and inconsistency plagued the team over the rest of the season, resulting in a 13th place finish.

In the 2007–08 season, Thompson's second as manager, pre-season transfers added Neil MacKenzie from Scunthorpe United, Adam Tann from Leyton Orient, Hector Sam from newly promoted Walsall, Paul Mayo from Lincoln City, Tim Sandercombe from Plymouth Argyle, Myles Weston from Charlton Athletic, Richard Butcher from Peterborough United, Lee Canoville from Boston United, and Spencer Weir-Daley from local rivals Nottingham Forest.

The pre-season also saw the exit of David Pipe to League One newcomers Bristol Rovers. Before his transfer, Pipe was the current longest-serving player at Notts County, with 141 appearances and four goals scored.

The Magpies bowed out of both the League Cup and the Football League Trophy in the opening weeks of the season and made a poor start to their league campaign. These events saw disappointed fans chanting at Thompson during games and displaying banners calling for his removal.[citation needed] Thompson was finally sacked on 16 October. Former player Ian 'Charlie' McParland replaced him two days later on 18 October.

Ian 'Charlie' McParland

Steve Thompson left the club a few days before one of the season's biggest fixtures, an away game at local rivals Mansfield Town. At first, the club announced that Thompson's assistant manager John Gannon would take charge of the first team, but hours after the press conference was held to announce McParland as Thompson's successor at Meadow Lane, the press were told that Gannon (and Thompson's ex-Sheffield United teammate and recently appointed Notts kitman Paul Beesley) had followed the ex-manager out of the club, leaving McParland in charge for one of the biggest games of the season only two days after taking the managerial reins at the club. McParland then appointed former Notts players David Kevan as his assistant and Tommy Johnson as coach. The pair were hailed as the 'Dream ticket' by the chairman who went on to offer 'Charlie season tickets' in a bid to bring back the dwindling support. However, the poor form continued and only a series of sterling defensive displays helped Notts secure safety in the penultimate match of the season. A Richard Butcher strike against Wycombe Wanderers secured League Two football for 2008–09. The 2008–09 season finished with Notts County 19th ten points above the relegation zone.

McParland parted company with the club on 12 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 caretakers.

Middle East investment

On 4 June 2009, it was announced that Notts County were in talks on a takeover by Munto Finance, a Middle Eastern consortium owned by Qadbak Investments and represented by Nathan Willett and Peter Willett. Speculated by the British media and supported in part by various press releases, the club are 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.[10]

On 30 June 2009, it was announced that the Supporters' Trust, who owned the majority 60% share in the club, had voted in favour of the takeover. On 14 July 2009, the takeover was confirmed, with Peter Trembling being appointed as Executive Chairman.[11] On 21 July 2009, former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson was announced as the club's new Director of Football.

On 20 October 2009, the Football League announced that Notts 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.[12] The League also stated that public disclosure of their ownership structure was a "matter for the club".[12] On 27 November 2009, The Guardian revealed that the league reopened its inquiries into the ownership of Notts County. The Football League chairman, Brian Mawhinney, confirmed the club has been sent a series of questions relating to its ownership structure.[13] On the morning of 10 December 2009, BBC Sport broke the story that Munto finance were looking to sell Notts County, with Sven Goran Eriksson cited as a potential buyer.[14] On 12 December 2009, it was announced that Peter Trembling had purchased the club for a nominal fee from Munto Finance.[3]

Hans Backe

On 27 October 2009 Hans Backe was confirmed as McParland's successor. He signed a three-year deal and stated his intent to get the club promoted to League 1. The club's Director of Football, Sven-Göran Eriksson played a key role in the appointment of Backe, and the two had worked together previously, when Backe was Eriksson's Assistant Manager at Manchester City. Hans Backe's first game in charge was a 1-1 at home to Shrewsbury Town. However his reign was short-lived as he resigned on 15 December after just nine games in charge.[15]

Steve Cotterill

On 23 February 2010 it was announced that Steve Cotterill would be manager of Notts County until the end of the season.[16][17]

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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20]

Juve have worn the shirts ever since, considering the colours to be aggressive and powerful.[20]


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 Leicester City, Burton Albion, Lincoln City, and Chesterfield.


Current squad

As of 21 January 2010

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 England GK Russell Hoult
4 England DF Mike Edwards
5 England DF Graeme Lee
6 Republic of Ireland DF John Thompson (captain)
7 England MF Matthew Hamshaw
8 England MF Ricky Ravenhill
9 England FW Lee Hughes
10 England MF Neal Bishop
11 England MF Ben Davies
14 England FW Sean Canham
15 England FW Karl Hawley
No. Position Player
16 England FW Ben Fairclough
17 England DF Jamie Clapham
18 England DF Stephen Hunt
19 England FW Luke Rodgers
20 England FW Craig Westcarr
22 Grenada FW Delroy Facey
23 Denmark GK Kasper Schmeichel
30 Nigeria FW Ade Akinbiyi
37 England MF Alex Troke
43 England DF Haydn Hollis
45 England MF Nathan Fox

Out on loan

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
12 England GK Kevin Pilkington (at Luton Town)
21 England MF Johnnie Jackson (at Charlton Athletic)

Coaching staff

Position Staff
Manager England Steve Cotterill
Assistant Manager Scotland Dave Kevan
First Team Coach England Tommy Johnson
Goalkeeping Coach England Carl Muggleton
Fitness Coach Sweden Marcus Svensson
Youth Team Manager Jamaica Michael Johnson
Physiotherapist England Paul Godfrey
Head of Youth England Mick Leonard

Last updated: 22 July 2009
Source: Notts County FC

Ups and downs

With a total of twelve promotions and fifteen relegations,[21] 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

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


  • Third Division (South)
    • Champions: 1930–31, 1949–50


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

Highest Gate Receipts £124,539 vs Manchester City, FA Cup 6th Round, 16 February 1991

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, 124, 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 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

see also Cat:Notts County F.C. players


  1. ^ The five oldest football clubs in the world are: 1.Sheffield F.C. (1857), members of the Northern Premier League Division One South; 2. Hallam F.C. (1860) also a Sheffield football club, playing a division below the oldest club (Northern Counties East League Premier Division) 3. Cray Wanderers F.C. (1861) 4. Worksop Town F.C. (1861); 5. Notts County(1862). Notts County - A Pictorial History, page 8, ISBN 0954783034
  2. ^ "Sven-Göran Eriksson Joins Notts County FC". Notts County. Notts County FC. 2009-07-22.,,10426~1729552,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  3. ^ a b "Peter Trembling secures Notts County takeover"
  4. ^ Notts County hit by second winding up order
  5. ^,,10426~1963308,00.html
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Magpies Keith Warsop page 31 ISBN 086023214X
  8. ^ FA Cup Final 1891
  9. ^ "Tears not necessary as Notts County survive - Football News - Telegraph". Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  10. ^ "Notts County poised for takeover". BBC Sport. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  11. ^ "Notts County takeover completed". BBC Sport. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  12. ^ a b "Football League says Notts County owners are 'fit and proper persons'". The Guardian. 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  13. ^ “League renews inquiries into Notts County”, The Guardian, 2009-11-27
  14. ^ "Notts County owners Munto Finance put club up for sale", BBC Sport, 2009-12-10
  15. ^ Notts County manager Hans Backe resigns from his job
  16. ^ .,19528,11750_5974039,00.html. 
  17. ^ . 
  18. ^ "Notts County". Historical Kits. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  19. ^ Juventus_F.C.#Colours.2C_badge_and_nicknames
  20. ^ a b Article "Black & White". Notts County F.C. official website. 21 May 2007.,,10426~1028229,00.html.  Extracts taken from the Official History of Notts County and article kindly reproduced by the Daily Mail.
  21. ^ Club Stats.

External links


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