Whilst Nottingham Forest continue their own quest for Premier League survival today away at West Ham (good luck the Reds), Notts County resume their quiet revolution which is happening a short distance across the River Trent. The Meadow Lane club face Dagenham & Redbridge in a televised game in a late afternoon kick-off. Hopefully, it can be a three-point afternoon for both Nottingham clubs.
In the Magpies’ fourth season out of League football, the club is having an immense season. Currently topping the league above a strong and expensively constructed Wrexham side Notts have amassed 83 points with just 1 defeat in fully 34 games. Along the way, they have scored a terrific 88 goals and achieved a towering goal difference of 58 goals.
Many plaudits have naturally gone to top scorer, Macauley Langstaff and his incredible 32 goals at the time of writing. A bargain £50,000 acquisition from Gateshead along with his strike partner on Tyneside, the impressive Cedwyn Scott who has also contributed 14 goals so far, underlines one of the components of Notts’ great progress, the quality of their recruitment.
Controversial in some circles, the club’s significant use of data in choosing new additions to the squad has very much borne fruit in recent times, even down to the two recent acquisitions of Jodi Jones and John Bostock who look like players from at least two levels of football above in my humble opinion.
A comparative rookie manager in the relatively unknown Luke Williams has guided the players at his disposal well, fashioning them into an entertaining, attractive and effective unit, free-scoring and with evident great self-belief.
Notts find themselves in a tense neck and neck battle for the single automatic promotion spot with Wrexham and have done for some time. Each matchday builds more and more tension for the two clubs, neither barely daring to drop a point along the way. Each of those matchdays offers great football theatre and drama, with the two teams’ fans eagerly checking each other’s progress. In fact, it’s a great injustice that both these old clubs cannot achieve automatic promotion as they are so far ahead of their remaining rival clubs. Some have chosen to knock the Welsh side due to the heavy investment and publicity the club has received from its Hollywood star owners, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElenney but I’d personally like to see them back in the Football League once more and think they’re fully deserving of it, particularly their fans who have followed their team through some barren times in the Football Conference since season 2007-8.
Finally, a word of acknowledgement to Notts County’s excellent young owners, Danish brothers, Christoffer and Alexander Reedtz who have developed a comprehensive and intelligent blueprint in how to run the club. They eschew publicity but rather work hard and diligently on a daily basis in a hands-on style. Such a pleasure to see their modest and effective stewardship after the club was so badly mismanaged in the past. That mismanagement almost led to extinction with a winding-up order due in mere days, a transfer embargo barring them from forming a squad and non-payment of staff for some time. What a breath of fresh air they have been. They deserve much credit and the old club is fortunate in having them.
I’m sure there will be many twists and turns today and for the remainder of the season. Best wishes to the Magpies in their quest to return to the Football League.