Final thought: How much do they care?

Last updated : 06 January 2008 By Paul Smith
The obvious answer is that we don't know. We aren't there as the players report back home, possibly alone or to their families. The only hope is that they go home, miserable, slam a few doors and mope around.

Because that is what the fans who pay their wages do.
Meadow Lane... Far from a fortress

I personally had to get a train back to Lincoln following the match, and by the time I'd made the five minute walk from the far end of the Derek Pavis Stand across to the train station, I had already fallen out with the fiancee who wasn't even at the game, broke my phone and decided I wouldn't return to the Lane for the forseeable future.

That I made up with her indoors, fixed my phone and decided that yes I will return in a fortnight to welcome Chester City to Nottingham by the time the train rolled in, is another story.

But the sheer disappointment, rage and frustration built up by another defeat, and another home defeat at that, is hard to stomach.

Notts were poor again, lacking particularly in quality, but also in some areas through a lack of fight.

I won't reveal names, but those who were there and the players themselves will know who they are, as some of the "footballers" on show yesterday didn't seem bothered if the Magpies didn't pull a result from anywhere.

Play for the shirt
As a fan that is the most difficult thing to take.

I can take that we will be second best, and that the club is no longer flying high in the top two tiers of the English leagues, and that a mammoth rebuilding process is needed to get anywhere near what seems only a dream again.

But I cannot take players not playing for the badge, the black and white stripes, and for the fans.

Attendances are fast dwindling, and will continue to do so. Who wants to turn up every week to a defeat against footballing greats such as Stockport County or Macclesfield Town?

The effects of another nil points that sees us tumbling ever closer to dropping out of the Football League for the first time in our history, are still lingering.

I won't be over this latest loss until kick-off comes at Valley Parade when Notts face what now looks a daunting trip to Bradford City, even though they are hardly flying themselves.

And then will the process start again?

But what of the players?

I wonder how many are sat there now, still wondering what went wrong, still
Butcher... Showed fight in playing through illness
wondering what they could have changed?

I know some went out in the town following yesterday's horror show. I'm all for the players having a good time. For sure if I was a footballer I'd hit the tiles with my teammates, but more respect is needed in the current predicament. Not on a Saturday night lads.

I'm in no way suggesting that any individual Notts player doesn't care, I wouldn't know without becoming a mind reader.

And there are some who obviously do. Richard Butcher told boss Charlie McParland that he would be fit enough to take part despite suffeing with illness all week.

That he played poorly for 45 minutes shouldn't matter, he is still showing the stomach for the battle.

Let's see what response we get next Saturday.