Interview with Colin Slater (part two)

Colin Slater: The man behind the mic.
Notts County Mad: Prior to that Matchtalk programme, had you held discussions with Colin Hancock and how did he come across? Do you have any regrets in bringing him onto the show?

Colin Slater: This question is based on a complete misconception, which I take to be genuine rather than either mischievous or malicious. At no time prior to him calling the Matchtalk programme was I in contact with Colin Hancock in any way. The only means by which I was able to speak to him after the programme was because, in the normal way with all callers, he left his number with the person who answers the telephone in the first instance. It is not my role ever to bring anybody on to the programme which is open to all supporters to call - I only wish more Notts fans did so. It is hardly the responsibility of BBC Radio Nottingham or me that Notts callers are usually heavily outnumbered by those from Forest supporters.

NCM: How would you describe your relationship with John Armstrong-Holmes? Are you impressed by the way he is running the club?

CS: John and I, who have known each other for a long time, have what you would expect - a thoroughly business-like relationship. I should point out, and it is to his credit, that he has never declined an invitation to appear for interview on BBC Radio Nottingham. This has to be seen in the context of his stated determination to keep supporters as well informed as possible about what is going on in the club and what his and the board's plans are. He also deserves credit for some of the initiatives taken since he became chairman of which opening the Kop to home supporters is probably the best known and most popular.

NCM: What are your views on the management setup? Is Ian McParland the right man to take the club forward?

CS: Ian McParland does not under-estimate the size of the task confronting him and the management team and neither should anybody else. He has a clear and stated intention about the type of football he wants Notts to play and many supporters have confirmed their appreciation of the way he has brought back "the passing game". His closest colleagues in the management set-up, Dave Kevan and Tommy Johnson, are - like him - former Notts players, which obviously means they are part of the club's history for which they strongly attached emotionally and want to be part of it going forward.

NCM: Have you been impressed by the football on show so far this season? What has been the biggest improvement - if any?

CS: It was a great achievement to go through eleven League matches unbeaten, in which time the standard of football was often very encouraging. Since that run the picture has been somewhat spoiled by three defeats. It

Missed greatly: Slater believes that Johnson is a leader on the pitch who is being sorely missed at present.
hasn't helped that there have been so many injuries to key players. Stephen Hunt hasn't kicked a ball yet this season. He's just one defender who has been on the casualty list. Jason Beardsley, Michael Johnson and Adam Tann are others. When clubs like Notts have a small squad such injuries hit harder than with those carrying bigger squads. Perhaps the loss of Johnson has been the biggest handicap - he's so experienced and he's a leader on the field.

NCM: Do you believe that we could finally be reaching that turning point this year after so many seasons of heartbreak?

CS: I believe progress is slowly being made, and that's how it will be - nothing spectacular, but building steadily.

NCM: Where do you think we will finish this season?

CS: I believe Notts are capable of finishing in the top half of the table.

NCM: Which of the new signings have impressed you the most?

CS: Jamie Clapham is a class act and has performed consistently well at full back. He shows the experience and awareness of somebody who has played at a higher level. Matt Hamshaw has also settled down well after his move from Mansfield and scoring his first goal for Notts, which he deserves to do, would lift his confidence.

NCM: Where do you see Notts in five years time?

CS: One thing for certain - no longer in League Two! This is the fifth season Notts have been at this level and the first priority has to be to reach League One as soon as possible, certainly within five years.

NCM: Having reported on Notts for so long, do you foresee an appropriate time to hang up your microphone or have any plans to do so?

CS: The time will come when I'm no longer broadcasting but at the present time I have no plans whatsoever to retire.

NCM: Earlier in the season, the Magpies strung together a new record in terms of consecutive draws. Could you give an insight into the previous record and how it was finally ended?

CS: I remember the previous run quite well, though it happened a long time ago. What I remember best is that, as the run went on, Jimmy Sirrel developed a phrase and used to come out with it after each drawn game: "Half a loaf is better than none". Subsequently that was something that needed to be remembered, by which I mean in 1980-81 when Notts were promoted to the old First Division. How many people realise that in that very successful season Notts actually drew 17 League matches out of 42, eight at home and nine away?

NCM would like to thank Colin for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions.