By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
  1. David Bolt

    David Bolt Member

    May 30, 2008
    Liverpool
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Wales

    The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

    By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
    [​IMG]

    Relegation is tough for any club to take. It’s especially tough for teams in League Two, as the bottom two clubs face the ignominy of falling out of the Football League and into the ‘non-leagues’ of the National League.

    The National League is not only a massive step down in terms of prestige, and of course, revenue, but it’s also a notoriously difficult league to get out of at the first attempt, and some teams can get stuck in there for years after falling out of the Football League.

    For one club through, the idea dropping out of the Football League is especially galling, as their league status is woven into their identity. That’s because they are the world’s oldest league club.

    Nottingham side Notts County (Notts being short for Nottinghamshire) have been around since 1862. That means Notts County predate the Emancipation Proclamation. They also predate the FA, which is the world’s oldest Football Association.

    They were playing for over 25 years before there was a league to play in, with Notts County being one of the founder members of the Football League.

    For most of their existence, Notts County have bounced around in the lower leagues and have been in a near-state of flux for a long time. They have had 30 managers in as many years. I have a personal connection to Notts County as my grandfather had a very brief spell there as a player in the 1950s.

    Ten years ago, Notts County were at the centre of a bizarre episode where they were taken over by what was said to be a Middle-Eastern consortium, who installed former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson as director of football, signed Premier League players Sol Campbell and Kasper Schmeichel, with the promise of more stars to arrive.

    As it turned out, the whole thing was little more than a scam and one that plunged the club into financial difficulites.

    Notts County have also been almost-literally overshadowed by neighbouring double European Cup winners Nottingham Forest, with the two clubs’ stadiums only being 270m apart.

    The last time Notts County were in the top division in England was 1992, and had the misfortune of being relegated in the final year before the Premier League was formed, after Neil Warnock had managed them to successive promotions in the two prior seasons.

    Perhaps the biggest impact Notts County have had on football is that Juventus play in black and white because Notts County donated shirts to them in 1903.

    But, their status as the world’s oldest league club, which is such a huge source of pride for the club, is under threat.

    On Saturday, Notts County will go to Swindon Town in the knowledge that anything other than a win will mean they go down alongside already-relegated Yeovil Town. Even if they do win, they need Macclesfield Town to lose at home to Cambridge United, otherwise it will be Macclesfield who avoid relegation. In an ironic twist, Macclesfield are managed by Sol Campbell, who was one of the players signed following the ill-fated takeover.

    That Notts County could drop out of the league is especially shocking to their fans, as they were one of the favourites for promotion this season, having missed out last season when a late collapse sent them from the automatic promotion places into the playoff, where they lost in the first round.

    Much of the blame for Notts County’s demise is being placed at the feet of club owner Alan Hardy, who took over in 2017. Maybe that’s true, but if it is, it’s true in a different way to other clubs that owe their downfall to an owner.

    English football is littered with stories of club owners that have bought a club in the hopes that they could sell it for a profit, and have loaded it with debt before walking away. Bolton Wanderers being the latest club to have their existence threatened as a result of bad ownership.

    In Notts County’s case, it seems that Hardy may have had good intentions when he took over the club, saving it from liquidation in the process, but massively underestimated the amount of work it takes to run a club, and just assumed that throwing money at the problem would mean success would follow.

    Part of Hardy’s problem is that he seems to be a man with a big ego, a thin skin and someone who isn’t afraid to voice opinions publicly that he shouldn’t on Twitter.

    Hardy, a native of Nottingham, started to get a bit chippy with Nottingham Forest. He made remarks about how his club was the true club of Nottingham (alluding to Nottingham Forest having Greek owners), getting into arguments on social media with Forest fans and saying stuff about what Notts County will do to Forest when they get to the same division as them.

    That proved to be especially unwise, as last season, Notts County’s best two players were both on loan from Nottingham Forest. Unsurprisingly, Forest were no longer inclined to do Notts County any favours, and, in January 2018, recalled one of those players, Ryan Yates, and sent him to another team on loan.

    That coincided with Notts County’s collapse that took them out of the promotion reckoning and eventually they failed to be promoted at all. Hardy went on the warpath and publicly criticised Nottingham Forest for recalling Yates, which led to Forest stopping any of their players going there on loan.

    Forest haven’t been drawn into anything publicly, but you can tell they are freezing Notts County out. The traditional pre-season game between the two sides didn’t happen this season, and Forest having been sending players on loan to another Nottinghamshire side, Mansfield Town, including Jorge Grant, one of Notts County’s stars from last season. Mansfield currently occupy one of the promotion places in League Two.

    Even so, Notts County were favourites for promotion this season. They have a massive budget for a team at that level and were expected to be fighting at the top of the table, not about to fall out of the bottom.

    Instead what has happened has been a turbulent season. Following a poor start, Hardy sacked manager Kevin Nolan, who he had tipped to be a future England manager previously. Hardy acknowledges this was a mistake too.

    Nolan was replaced with former Leeds and Liverpool player Harry Kewell, who had done a solid job managing fellow League Two side Crawley Town. Kewell lasted only 72 days before he was fired. Hardy asked Nolan to come back, but that didn’t happen so Notts County turned to former Wimbledon player and manager Neal Ardley.

    Ardley came to a club in total disarray. And then things got worse.

    On the day an article came out on the Guardian website criticising Hardy’s ownership, Hardy sent out a tweet. The tweet was supposed to be a commentary about the fickle nature of fans, as it showed tweets from the same person praising Hardy for saving the club, then another one criticising him for ruining the club.

    The problem was, Hardy did this as a screenshot from his phone, meaning that his camera roll was visible. And he’d recently taken a picture of his penis.

    Hardy put the club up for sale. Instead of being remembered for taking Notts County back up the divisions, he’ll be remembered for a dick-pic and for being the man who owned the club when it’s league membership ended. He reckons he’s lost about £5m in the process too.

    Notts County also faced court proceedings over an unpaid tax bill, which got deferred as the club say a takeover will happen imminently.

    But all this may come too late to save their league status. Notts County will still be the world’s oldest professional club, but, gallingly the title of the oldest league club in the world may end up going to Nottingham Forest. On paper, Stoke City are next in line, but their history includes a liquidation and a merger so the next club with unquestioned league lineage is Nottingham Forest.
     
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Comments

Discussion in 'England' started by David Bolt, May 2, 2019.

    1. TOAzer

      TOAzer Member+

      The Man With No Club
      May 29, 2016
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      It is always a very bad sign when the guy who is playing the role of "The Hero Who Will Save You" turns out to be the kind of guy who takes a freakin' dick-pic.
      I sympathize with the fans of Notts County....but boy did Mr. Alan Hardy bring ruin down upon himself.
       
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    2. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Nr Kingston NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      This has really been coming since the mid-nineties, or even earlier. We could have been in the Premier League but our chairman/owner sold our star striker to Rangers halfway through the 91/92 season and pocketed the money leading to relegation in the final year of the old First Division.

      Some date the start of our demise as the day that Neil Warnock was fired in January 1993 but the situation demanded it as we sat rock bottom of the new First Division (D2). I date the start of the demise to the sacking of Howard Kendall, who the chairman had gambled on, despite the ex-Everton man's descent into alcoholism.

      Unfortunately an incident occurred, which I won't go into and Kendall was sacked. At this point the chairman gave in and brought in a manager who promised to sell our best players and replace them with home-growns, or as I call it, asset strip the playing talent.

      Since then we've averaged 58 points per season, racked up over 30 managerial appointments, spent a record amount of time in administration (= chapter 11), been bailed out several times by millionaires, been owned by the fans, who voted to sell the club to a convicted fraudster, who guess what, defrauded the club, and have since had two owners who claimed to have one of the highest payrolls in a division as the club was being relegated.

      Who'd be a Notts fan? Well, we broke the 10k mark 3 times this season, so I guess misery does love company.

      :(
       
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    3. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Nr Kingston NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      Half-time and the outcome is temporarily in our hands.

      upload_2019-5-4_10-51-46.png

      Notts first-half offence has consisted of one shot off target.
       
    4. Justin O

      Justin O Member+

      Nov 30, 1998
      Seattle
      Club:
      Seattle

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      Any particular reason why this is the case?
       
    5. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Nr Kingston NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      The ex-league clubs tend to be bigger, with higher expenses, and in significant debt because fighting relegation is expensive.

      And new owners are starting to buy tiny clubs like Fleetwood and Forest Green who are debt free and lean rather than legacy league teams.
       
      Justin O repped this.
    6. rocketeer22

      rocketeer22 Member+

      Apr 11, 2000
      Oakton,VA
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      I blame the Sheriff of Nottingham.
       
      M and TOAzer repped this.
    7. winster

      winster Member

      Jul 7, 2008
      Club:
      Besiktas JK
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      I'm somewhat happy that Notts County was relegated. Being the world's oldest "league" club is an arbitrary distinction that doesn't really deserve any credit. There are a number of older football clubs, and at least two (Cray Wanderers and Sheffield) are continuously operating and have been playing association rules as long as Notts County.

      For a significant portion of early "league" football's history, being in an official league wasn't based on merit and the size of the "league" system has varied over time. Not to mention, being a "league" club has been effectively meaningless for generations now. All the National League teams are operating in the same FA administered system as the League 2 clubs. Practically speaking a National League club is about as likely to make the Premier League or win the FA Cup as any given League 2 team.

      I don't think Notts County deserve any particular credit for their performance since the Great Depression when they started bouncing around the lower tiers of the league system. With the exception of two separate decade-long spells, and a 5-year spell in the early '90s they've been a mediocre 3rd/4th level club. Based purely on the odds, it was only a matter of time before Notts County would drop.
       
      M repped this.
    8. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Nr Kingston NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      We're 14th in the all-time Prem/EFL table.

      Our average position over 138 seasons would put us in the top 6 in League One. Our average position since 1957/58 is about 12th in League One.

      We've won the FA Cup.

      [​IMG]

      Been invited to open Barcelona's stadium.

      [​IMG]
      Signed the current England centre-forward in the Third Division (but still couldn't get promoted)

      [​IMG]

      Been managed from Fourth Division to First by the world's nicest man.

      [​IMG]

      Are the most recent team from Nottingham to win a European trophy.



      Been ripped off by con men.

      Sven-Goran Eriksson: How I was conned at Notts County | Football ...

      [​IMG]

      Opened Juve's invincible new stadium, where we failed to read the script and drew 1-1.



      And since I've been watching Notts we've sat top of the old First Division and bottom of the fourth.

      Clutching at straws? Me?
       
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    9. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Nr Kingston NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      This is typical Notts. We have two potential buyers, one South African, the other domestic.

      The South African has fallen seriously ill and the deal is potentially off.

      As for the other bid:

      upload_2019-6-8_11-32-52.png
       
      TOAzer repped this.
    10. TOAzer

      TOAzer Member+

      The Man With No Club
      May 29, 2016
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      Whatever did Notts County do to be so clearly Damned by the Gods?
       
    11. Paul Berry

      Paul Berry Member+

      Notts County and NYCFC
      England
      Apr 18, 2015
      Nr Kingston NY
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      The latest situation seems to be that the owner is refusing to sell below a certain benchmark. There are at least two groups serious about buying the club but they've been put off by the price..

      In the meantime the owner has said he can't won't pay any wages. That combined with the threat of administration (bankruptcy protection) could lead to us starting next season with no players under contract and -35 points.
       
      TOAzer repped this.
    12. TOAzer

      TOAzer Member+

      The Man With No Club
      May 29, 2016
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      Deathwish.
       
    13. The Potter

      The Potter Member+

      Aug 26, 2004
      England
      Club:
      Stoke City FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      Two things.

      1. Who ever tipped Kevin Nolan as a future England manager?

      2. Maybe it's because I'm a grower not a shower but why take a pic of your penis. Me and my penis are as tight as a man and an appendage can be but I dont need a photo. Did our grandfathers keep a black and white photo of a massive bush and keep it in the wallet behind a pic of their wife, kids, dog? Mean just stop it, no one has a nice looking dick.

      Also congrats Stoke. As Alan Partridge once said, Norwich is the city in Northern Europe with the most pre-reformation churches; since the bombing of Dresden.
       
    14. Slater582

      Slater582 Member

      Jul 21, 2008
      Shrewsbury, England
      Club:
      Tottenham Hotspur FC

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      Hopefully these new Danish owners will look after the club.:thumbsup:
       
    15. doubletrouble

      doubletrouble Member+

      Manchester United
      Saint Kitts and Nevis
      Dec 16, 2003
      St.Kitts
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      St. Kitts and Nevis

      The end is nigh for the world's oldest league club

      By David Bolt on May 2, 2019 at 3:34 PM
      Hopefully they get things together. I hate it when things like this happens to clubs like this
       

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