The Peter Trembling Interview - Part One

By Jacob Daniel
Last updated : 14 October 2009
Earlier today NCM editors Jacob and Tom went to Meadow Lane to meet executive chairman and the man who's been at the centre of all that's been going on at Meadow Lane this summer, Peter Trembling, for an interview about just about everything apart from the ownership of the club, because we're a bit bored of that now. Before we go straight ivnto part one, we'd both just like to thank Peter for agreeing to do this and for being so open in his answers, we're very lucky to have him at the club.

NCM - Was Ian's departure from the club purely as a result of what had been happening on the pitch and the results the club had been getting?

PT - Yes. It's a results game and the objective this year is to get out of League Two so, no matter what, this is what we've got to do. We could've taken the easy option and waited until mid-November and waited for some more defeats, you get some more defeats and you get the fans on your side saying "yes, you need to get rid of him." But that's not the right business decision, we looked at twelve games and, to be fair to Sven, he said all along we have to give Ian the right chance and opportunity. He said ten games and then he said let's look at another two games and you have to make the decision on where you think you're going to be at the end of the season and our concern was that the way we're going at the moment we should finish top seven, but we're not guaranteed top three. We have to find an alternative that, well you never get guarantees, but which gives us a top three position.

NCM - Also, we thought it was a bit of a peculiar time because we were expecting you to do it after Morecambe. We thought you might give him until Christmas after that.

PT - We couldn't wait and take the chance until Christmas and in football you've got to make some gambles. You try to make calculated gambles in business and we've been asked whether he's one defeat from the sack after Morecambe, Barnet and Chesterfield. There seemed to be a pattern to the way we were losing those games and we didn't look like winning any of them and we certainly didn't look like wiping the floor with the opposition. I'm not saying we can do, should do or should just expect to turn up and win but with respect to those teams we should be in with a better chance of winning those games with the squad that we've got.

NCM - It's been on a bit of a knife edge at Barnet with a last minute goal, Chesterfield with two penalties although Morecambe was a shocking performance.

PT - It was but even then we scored and hit the post twice and Kasper nearly scored the goal of the century, we've not had the run of the ball sometimes even against Torquay with Karl Hawley's header, I still can't understand how that didn't go in.

NCM - If we had played well at Lincoln, drawn at Cheltenham then wiped the floor with Torquay would he still have gone with the same amount of points or would he have gone after the two draws?

PT - It's a good question and I don't know, ifs buts and maybes and hypothetically. Peter Willett, one of the directors, was here on Sunday and Peter and I phoned Sir John Walker after the game and the three of us and Sven sat down and said 'Do we need to make a decision here? We've got Rotherham away coming up, do we wait to see what happens there and wait for the Crewe game or do we need to make the decision now?' Instinctively we felt that it was the right time for the club for Ian to go. It's a pity because he's very passionate and he's Notts County through and through and I know a lot of fans love him for his passion and everything else, but it was a football decision and we think in the best interests of the club that Ian needs to move on.

NCM - You spoke about McParland being Notts through and through, are there any plans for the rest of his back room staff?

PT - We had all of the back room staff in straight away and said 'as far as we're concerned, you're here for however long you want to be here'.  They've all got jobs in their own right and they're all good at what they do, more importantly they're in Sven's department so Sven makes the decision as director of football and he said he's happy with every one of them. Unfortunately it's the one at the top, ie the manager, who gets the bullet sometimes.

NCM - In terms of new managers, is there a specific type of appointment you're looking to make? So are you looking at a big name or perhaps someone younger?

PT - Sven and I talked about this and they fall into three categories. You bring a big name in and a big name's good for the exposure of the club, but the club's had a lot of exposure recently and perhaps we want to just quiet down and concentrate on the football. But not just a big name for the sake of it, if you bring in a big name they have to be an outstanding coach with the ability to manage and perform at this level. Or do you bring in an experienced, old English head, someone who's been around the four divisions, somebody who knows Division One and Division Two inside out and who can come in and make an impact straight away. Or do you do what Derby have done and get a bright, young manager and say 'this is yours and away you go'. To be fair to Sven, he's taken the three categories and looked at people in each category.

NCM - 'Project 2012' is something you've briefly mentioned, would you be able to give us a few details about that and what it means for the club?

PT -  Yeah, when I came in  my remit was to get the football club stable because it was in a bit of a mess, to pass on the reigns to a chief executive and then to start work on the short term projects which lead on to the long term projects. The three key projects we've got are 100 years at Meadow Lane, 150th anniversary of Notts County in 2012 and to get into the Premier League. The first two are more marketing initiatives but have a bearing on number three as marketing initiatives are really aimed to take the brand of Notts County around the world. It's a small football club and people still say 'why did they buy Notts County?' but i've been around the world in a football sense, worked with different clubs and all people are interested in around the world, from England, are Liverpool and Manchester United. Chelsea and Arsenal are making a bit of progress in the Far East but Liverpool and Manchester United have the history and the heritage. I tried to sell Everton around the Far East and even in Thailand, where we had our main sponsor, it's Liverpool and Manchester United as that's what they grew up with. It's going to take a lot to change that, so the only way you can start on that sort of market share is to have something unique and Notts County are the oldest Football League club in the world. There is a bit of romance around that and the great thing about football is that people are passionate about it and it is from the heart, the head doesn't role the heart in those matters and they say the things you can never change are your kids, parents and football team. With that passion around football, you can use the strapline the oldest Football League Club in the world, use 100 years at Meadow Lane and use the 150th anniversary and start building a fanbase and that's part of the focus of the long term plan of getting to the Premier League in 7 or 8 years. Sven says 3 years.

NCM - You say the club was in a mess when you came in. How close to administration were the club when you joined?

PT - What I mean by 'in a mess' is that most clubs at Division Two and Division One level need a significant financial input and need money to keep the wolves from the door and to progress. Some clubs are doing that and managing themselves and doing really well, this club were managed by a Supporters Trust and they were doing a sterling job with the resources they had, but there is only so far they can go. When I say 'in a mess' I mean that, for a famous, old club that is not where it should be and with no money to go anywhere and flirting with relegation year after year and previously in adminstration. Was it going into adminstration again? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not going to comment on what the financial state of the club was but we needed to invest quite a bit financially to do what we wanted to do. That's what Notts County and the trust wanted, that's why they gifted their shares as they knew what we were going to invest into the club and that's how it's transpired.

With 100 years at Meadow Lane coming up, are there any plans to give it a facelift of sorts?

Yes and I think you'll start seeing over the next few weeks that facelift begin to take shape.

Is it just a facelift or is there plastic surgery planned, so to speak. Are the rumours about the Cattle Market true?

No, I keep seeing those rumours and there's nothing in that it all, well nothing that's come from this football club. The plan is that this stadium should be our stadium, but it needs more than a lick of paint. We spent three months getting the football side right first and now it's time to move onto the stadium and you'll start seeing changes in terms of the decor of the place. It's not that exciting at first, but it's about getting some paint in and getting some decent carpet, changing the furniture and getting photos of Notts County legends around the place to make it look like a football club which is a smart, professional place to walk into but wreaks of history and tradition yer is modern at the same time.

NCM - What about externally in terms of the stands, we presume new logos will be put on?

PT - Yes, new ones will be put on and the yellow stripes will disappear and it will become black and white. But even our investors, they might be putting a lot of cash in, but we have to justify every penny we spend. The injection we get comes according to the budgets we put together, so we can't just go to them and say 'we want a million pounds to paint the stadium'. We have to show them exactly where we're going to spend it, show them the quotations for it and run it like a proper business.

NCM - Are there any plans for the scoreboard and PA system?

PT - Yes, absolutely, I hate that scoreboard! There is, but we're doing that as part of this first stage of the second part of the project. We've got to get a proper scoreboard, probably, possibly, almost definitely a video one. We want to get the best that there is and we've been looking around at that, part of the plan of why we're going to the Far East is to have a look at a few of the manufacturers out there and see if there's anything different.

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