After my Port Vale debacle, (which I still insist I was unfairly dismissed from!) I took a good look at what I want to actually do in this blog. The answer is still take a team from lower down and take them to the premier league and win the whole shebang. So I got to thinking, which team could satisfy that request? I mean I already tried record breaking Port Vale – the team who’s been in the English professional game the longest without ever being in the top flight, so let’s try to beat another record (and this time hopefully last longer than January in season 1)
Step forward Notts County. Oldest professional club in the world, founder members of the football league and have NEVER won the premier league/Division one.
They as their badge suggests, were founded in 1862 and their main claim to fame (other than once being randomly managed by Sven Goran Ericsson and having Sol Campbell quit because he had to get changed in a portacabin or something,) is kitting out Juventus.
Yes, Juventus when they first started out wore pink, they were fed up of washing pink so they wanted new shirts that were better colours and they plummed for Notts County colours. Because Nottingham is the fashion capital of the world after all.
Anyway, Notts County are naturally based in Nottingham at Meadow lane, which is near the river trent and literally a stone throw from the City Ground and the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, in which County used to play in until the FA forced them to relocate. This is because the cricket club weirdly told them that cricket took precedence and any fixture clashes meant that County would be bowled out and play at Forest’s Town Ground. (I’ll get me coat.)
They actually started out playing on the grounds of Nottingham Castle, which to be honest should have stuck. I’d love a team to just kit out a whole Castle and have it fully built with turrets and all sorts of stuff. That’d be rather unique and rather insane.
Meadow Lane is just shy of 20,000 capacity, which is nice for league 2. However there is much room for expansion if you fill in the corners and build outwards, unlike those fools across the river who has a stand literally on the water. Idiots. I’d want to expand the stadium as quickly as possible as our fans can literally see the City ground if they sit in the Kop of the Jimmy Sirrell stand.
Speaking of which, I appreciate a stand called the Kop, being a Liverpool fan myself this is a good sign. A ground with a Kop is a good ground that’ll make some noise and some history so this bodes well I think.
Other than being the oldest club in the world and basically kitting out Juventus, County haven’t really done *too* much. They have spent time in the top flight, won a few FA cups at the turn of the century here and there and basically survived through about 32 takeovers this week I think. At the time of writing, we are owned by a dude called Alan Hardy, but with this being Notts County we could be owned by someone else within a couple of days.
So County are the older but least successful brother of Forest. They look on enviously at the younger club who has those fancy dan European cups in their cabinet and league titles, thinking that one day they will get them. They were supposed to be the special ones for crying out loud, they were trendsetters, fashionistas, the first ever pro club.
Getting them to the prem won’t be easy though, as I saw with Port Vale – league 2 can be easily screwed up if you don’t do things right and, well, even though we’re tipped for a playoff place we’re not that great of a team.
Warning, incoming bar chart spam.
As you can see by the graphical dump that I just amateurishly threw up there, we’re a pretty middle of the road team. Highlights for me include being great at corners and crossing (for league 2 standards) as well as being the best at longshots and vision. We’re laughably slow upfront though and seem to have a poor set of goalkeepers and no real stamina, so with this current squad a pressing formation might not be the best thing, depending on how quick our wingers are though, we may be looking at a wing play team.
The collective squad determination is very low though, which is concerning for me. I like to have a determined squad full of professionals with a good workrate and drive to win, so this might need to be worked on. In terms of formation? Not sure yet, I’ll have to look at individual squad members first and then decide.
For transfers I won’t have too much money to bring in players, so I’ll be relying on free loans from prem/championship teams and maybe even a parent club. This will all depend on what I decide on the next blog – which will be a little more in depth in terms of players and tactics than my laughable attempt at a Port Vale save.
Long term, I’ll be looking at emulating Juventus, after all we inspired them, so in turn they’re going to inspire us. I want to make County the “English team” of well, England really. This involves bringing up exciting prospects from England, signing majority English players and earning the right to wear the flag of St George on our shirt, so we’ll be heavily investing in youth as soon as possible and trying to build us up to be super rich mega club status eventually where we can supplement our amazing English talent with world class players.
For now though, let’s get out of league 2 first.