There are Lots of Pointing Fingers but Who Really is to blame for the State that Notts are in?

By Rob Davies
Last updated : 21 November 2002

Let’s take a look at the facts:
We are in administration.
We are in 19th place in the 2nd division
We have just been dumped out of the FA Cup by a Conference team.
We were also out of the LDV and League Cups at the first round stage as well.
We have around 16 fit players available for matches at the moment due to suspensions and injuries.

Well, it just about sums the whole situation up doesn’t it? So lets have a look at who – in my opinion – has caused all these problems.

Firstly administration. I think that this all stems back to the beginning of the 2001-2002 season when it looked like we were going to complete the take-over and had money to burn. But when

About all that Notts have left!
we did spend the money on a load of new players who were supposed to take the division by storm, it went badly wrong and they did just about everything but challenge for promotion. Then we had all the fiasco with the take-over not being completed and later on the embargoes and such like, which didn’t help the cause.

All of a sudden all the money that we supposedly had to spend was gone and we were £3 million in debt to various people. Mostly Derek Pavis. In a way Pavis has helped Notts through, because if he had demanded his money there and then when Notts couldn’t afford it he would have possibly sent the Magpies bankrupt.

Now to matters on the pitch. We haven’t won a game since 19th of October and although we keep drawing games, 1 point a game doesn’t get you anywhere. The thing is that this team, who has only won 3 games all season, is practically the same one that saved us from relegation at the end of last season – and for that matter the one that got us into that situation in the first place. The problem is inconsistency.

19th in the table

Various people have been blamed for the demise this season but for me the only people who are to blame are the players – ok, to some extent the coaching staff as well, but not as much.

The players are the only ones who can determine whether we pick any points up after they cross that white sideline for kick off. Some may argue that the manager is to blame for not motivating and making the substitutions when it’s going wrong – I’ll come on to that in a minute – but first the players.

They shouldn’t really need any motivation to go and win games if they have the ability; they should want to win for their fans and for their team-mates – not playing just for the money. But that is the trouble, players still get paid whether they win 16-0 or lose 1-0. They are still paid the same every month. Yes, there are win bonuses etc but they are paid enough without those as well.

The mistakes they make are down to themselves on the pitch. After all they aren’t remote controlled and programmed by the manager to make those errors.

Caught in the middle
But – and here is where the manager comes in. If they are not playing well the coach has the ability to change the side around. Billy does this but sometimes far too late when an earlier swap could have changed the game. Bringing someone on with just seconds to play wastes valuable time and doesn’t give the player coming on time to make an impact on the game.

Another thing that annoys me is saying in the week’s papers how much the players are up for the game and all the other propaganda that is spouted from various sources (and we all know who!) but it all counts for nothing if supporters are let down on the Saturday.

Too many silly bookings
The Southport game is a prime example of this. Only on the Friday before, I was reading in the Evening Post that Billy had said to the players "no more silly yellow and red cards". 24 hours later Caskey is getting sent off for stupidly retaliating to another player. Then, on the radio after the game he apologises to everyone saying he should have known better. Well, I’m sorry, but apologising isn’t going to change anything. The whole match changed after that incident, before it we looked like winning it but after… well we all know what happened and would probably feel better if it wasn’t mentioned.

Also after the Southport game people have started shouting for Dearden’s head – not many I might add but enough. In my opinion Dearden MUST stay. He came in last season and after a rocky start managed to help keep us in division 2. In our present state we could not afford to pay him off anyway as he has another year or so to run on his contract.

Is he telling the truth?
Another point is Albert Scardino. Although he may have very good intentions for the club (which I have my doubts about) the way he goes about his job is not a good one in the opinions of many people.

When he came he said he would be more open than others before him about the club’s state and things within the club. Well I don’t think he carried that out for more than a few months. Now, it’s just promises that never materialise, lies, and stories. Or that’s at least what it seems to many fans.

There is always something that is hidden from the supporters that we should have a right to know as we invest in the club with season tickets and merchandise etc.

There is a fans' forum on Thursday at Meadow Lane, at which, many people will want some important and intriguing questions answering. Whether the answers to these will be just stories, or whether they are true, it will be interesting to see what comes out of it!

Notts. County Match Reports

Sky Bet League Two Sat 18th November 15:00

Notts County 3 - 1 Cheltenham Town

Last game - Match Centre


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