Notts County F.C are a football club based in Nottingham, England. In 2004-05 the club are playing in League Two of The Football League. Nicknamed The Magpies, the club is one of two professional football clubs in Nottingham, the other being their old enemies Nottingham Forest. The Magpies play their home games at the Meadow Lane stadium and play in a black and white striped kit, which was the inspiration for Juventus's strip of the same design.
Though they have not won a great deal of major silverware in their history, County are considered to be one of the most famous 'little' clubs in English football.
Notts County were formed in 1862. The club predate even The Football Association and are considered to be one of the pioneers of the game. They are the oldest professional football club in the world.
At the time of their formation, Notts County, like most important sports teams, were considered to be a gentleman only club. They initially played at Park Hollow in the grounds of the old Nottingham Castle. In December 1864, the decision was taken 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.
In 1888, along with 11 other football clubs, Notts County became founder members of The Football League. Typically (as many Notts County supporters would put it) their first season was a forgettable one and they finished 11th. They avoided the dubious honour of the wooden spoon which went to Midlands rivals Stoke City. County did however achieve their highest ever league finish of 3rd in 1890-91 (an achievement they repeated 10 seasons later.)
In 1891, Notts County made the FA Cup final for the first time. The Magpies were defeated 3-1 by Blackburn Rovers despite having beaten the same side 7-1 in the league only a week earlier!
Notts County made up for this in 1894, when they lifted the FA Cup for the first and thus far only time in their history. The Magpies defeated Bolton Wanderers 4-1 in a game where Jimmy Logan scored the first hat-trick in FA Cup final history.
In 1910, County moved to their current home, Meadow Lane. The first game there was a 1-1 draw with old rivals Nottingham Forest played in front of 28,000 fans.
Notts County were relegated in 1926 in what was to be their last season in the English top flight for over half a century. 1925-26 was also the last season that famed goalkeeper Albert Iremonger played for the club. Legend amongst Notts County supporters has it that 'his hands were as big as frying pans.'
In World War II the club suspended all fixtures during the season 1941-2, after Meadow Lane was hit by enemy bombing. In 1946-7 the ground was used temporarily by Nottingham Forest after the River Trent flooded both grounds; Forest again borrowed 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. In modern times this would be like David Beckham leaving Real Madrid and signing for Macclesfield Town.
Lawton's arrival increased crowds by over 10,000. There was one incident in which 10,000 fans were even locked outside during this period. In 1949-50, Notts clinched the Third Division (South) championship. Crowds averaged 35,000 as The Magpies succesfully saw off Nottingham Forest in a thrilling championship race. 1950-51 was to be the last season in which Notts 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, 1957-58 was to be the last time the clubs would play each other for 16 years.
The 1960s were a dark and difficult period for The Magpies, who were on the brink of financial ruin and were constantly struggling to avoid the indignity of having to apply for re-election. This was until Jack Dunnet, a local MP took control of the club. He appointed Jimmy Sirrel, a charasmatic Scot who had once played for Celtic as manager in November 1969. In 1970-71, The Magpies clinched the Fourth Division title in record breaking style, remaining unbeaten at Meadow Lane.
Two seasons later, Notts County were promoted again, this time to Division Two. It marked an amazing turn around 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 Division Four strugglers to a Division One side in little over 11 years. This was to be Notts' first time in the top flight in 55 years.
In one of the most famous moments in the club's modern history, Notts County went to 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 the odds County came away with a 0-1 victory.
Notts County were relegated 3 seasons later, but not before they had made the FA Cup quarter final where they lost to Everton. Sirrel also retired at the end of 1984. He came out of retirement a season later in an unsuccesful 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.
In early 1989, a new manager arrived, Neil Warnock who had had previous success with Scarborough. At the end of his first full season, Warnock had led Notts County to promotion back into Division Two. This had come via the club's historic first game at Wembley Stadium in a 2-0 win over Tranmere Rovers. Warnock's magic wasn't done there though, 1990-91 is considered by many County fans to be one of the club's greatest seasons. A famous 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup booked them a place in the quarter final where they lost to eventually winners Tottenham Hotspur. Notts 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 people, 25,000 of them Notts County fans.
The following season was a disappointing one. Notts County were relegated from the top flight at the end of the season. A game against Luton Town was their last top flight game to date.
Recent Times & Struggles
Warnock left the club in January 1993 and was succeeded by Mick Walker. Walker successfully averted a second successive relegation.
Walker's first full season as manager was a memorable one for Notts County fans. The Magpies narrowly missed out on the playoffs for promotion to the newly formed Premiership. The season is most remembered for a famous 2-1 victory over arch rivals Nottingham Forest in which Charlie Palmer scored the winning goal with just 4 minutes remaining. This has become a celebrated event amongst Notts County fans who have dubbed February 12th (the anniversary of the game) Sir Charlie Palmer Day. This game was the last competative Nottingham derby fixture to date.
Walker was suprisingly sacked in September 1994, an event which started a dramatic decline in the club's fortunes which has persisted to this date. Notts won the Anglo-Italian Cup at Wembley in March 1995, but ended the season being relegated to Division Two, and found themselves having to adapt to life in the 3rd tier. Notts made another visit to Wembley Stadium in 1996 in the play-offs, but lost out on the chance of a return to Division One with a 2-0 defeat to Bradford City.
The following season is seen by many as Notts' worst ever as County managed just 7 victories all season and finished absolute bottom. Relegation to the bottom flight happened just 6 years after promotion to the top flight. Relegation didn't turn out to be a bad thing however, under Sam Allardyce The Magpies secured the Division Three title in March 1998 by a record margin of 19 points!
Allardyce left in October 1999 to join home town club Bolton Wanderers.
In September 2003, many feared that Notts County would be closed down. Cripling debts and an increasingly impatient Football League board combined to leave a question mark over the future of the league's oldest club. The considerable efforts of a group of local businessmen and the club's loyal and incredibly upbeat supporters were responsible for saving the club from extinction.
Despite new ownership, the club were unable to avoid relegation back into the bottom division in 2004. New manager Gary Mills was relieved of his duties in November 2004, and replaced by caretaker player-manager Ian Richardson.
FA Cup Winners 1893-94 FA Cup Finalists 1890-91
Second Division Champions 1896-97, 1913-14, 1922-23 Runners-Up 1894-95, 1980-81 Play-off Champions 1990-91
Third Division Runners-Up 1972-73 Play-off Champions 1989-90
Third Division (South) Champions 1930-31, 1949-50
Fourth Division Champions 1970-71 Runners-Up 1959-60
Third Division Champions 1997-98 (the Fourth Division was renamed the Third Division in 1992)
Anglo-Italian Cup Winners 1994-95 Runners-Up 1993-94
Highest Attendance 47,310 vs York City, FA Cup 6th Round, March 12th 1955
Highest Gate Receipts £124,539 vs Manchester City, FA Cup 6th Round, February 16th 1991
Record League Victory 11-1 vs Newport County, Division Three (South), 15th January 1949
Record Cup Victory 15-0 vs Rotherham Town, FA Cup 1st round, 24th 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 Les Bradd, 124, 1967-78
Most League Appearances Albert Iremonger, 564, 1904-26
- Tommy Lawton
- Brian Stubbs
- Jeff Astle
- Tony Hateley
- Les Bradd
- Don Masson
- John Chedozie
- Pedro Richards
- Tristian Benjamin
- Rachid Harkouk
- Iain McCulloch
- David Needham
- Trevor Christie
- Craig Short
- Steve Carter
- Dean Yates
- Mick Vinter
- Steve Cherry
- Mark Draper
- Charlie Palmer
- Tommy Johnson
- Brian Kilcline
- Jimmy Cantrell
- Albert Iremonger
- Ray O'Brian
- Ian Scanlon
- Arthur Mann
- Jimmy Logan
- Gary McSwegan
- Ian McFarland
- Dave Smith
- Jacky Sewell
- Mark Stallard
- Notts County Official Website (http://www.nottscountyfc.co.uk)
- Notts County Supporters Trust (http://www.nottscotrust.org.uk)
- Notts County MAD Fansite (http://www.nottscounty-mad.co.uk)
- Super Notts Popular Nostalgia Site (http://www.supernotts.com)