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Notts County cannot stay out of the headlines

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Paul Fletcher | 13:52 UK time, Monday, 12 October 2009

If you stand outside Meadow Lane and look closely enough at the stands you can see the places where the old club badge used to hang. The new design has not replaced them yet.

Notts County are undoubtedly a club in flux at the moment. Their identity has changed but it is less clear who they now are.

The decision to part company with manager Ian McParland on Monday after 12 games of the League Two season is the latest illustration of a club going through a dramatic and headline-grabbing metamorphosis since their takeover by Munto Finance.

Ian McParland has parted company with Notts CountyMcParland has been sacked with his team in fifth in the table

McParland had been in charge for almost two years and presided over more than 100 games in charge.

He was popular with the County fans, who chanted his name during Sunday's match against Torquay, but he belonged to the previous era, when the club laboured at the bottom end of the table.

County's profile has gone through the roof since news of the takeover emerged and they have rarely been out of the headlines.

Mystery has surrounded the identity of the people behind Munto Finance, a private overseas investment trust that took over at the club in June. The Football League still want additional questions answered about the takeover and County are this week expected to supply the required paperwork.

Former England international Sol Campbell arrived in a blaze of publicity and generated even more column inches when he walked out after playing just one game for the club.

But it was the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksson in July that really took the breath away. Was it a spectacular coup by County or a measure of the Swede's fall from grace? Perhaps a bit of both.

It has all served to turn the club into something of a soap opera. Rarely a week goes by without the latest rumours about the identity of the new owners, the international stars the club are set to sign or the imminent dismissal of the manager.

McParland dealt with dignity and defiance to the inevitable avalanche of questions about his future that followed the arrival of Eriksson but there was always the suspicion that he was on borrowed time.

Even so, executive chairman Peter Trembling only last week denied McParland's position was under threat. The likes of David Platt and Iain Dowie had been linked with the club.

The fact that County were booed from the field after Sunday's 2-2 draw with struggling Torquay obviously persuaded the decision-makers that it was time to make a change. But they have sacked a manager when his team are fifth in the table - how do you justify that?

The intriguing question now surrounds whether Eriksson will take over as manager. It would be a remarkable appointment for a club with big ambitions but a lowly status.

Sven-Goran Eriksson at Meadow LaneEriksson arrived at Notts County to a blizzard of media interest

One of the talking points surrounding Sunday's match was a story in the News of the World suggesting that Eriksson was considering walking out on the club. Eriksson is apparently also wanted to rescue Sweden's ailing bid to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa.

One journalist who had covered the Magpies for several years told me that you could tell when the Swede was taking his seat at Meadow Lane because all the fans in the surrounding area turned around to stare at him. Perhaps they still cannot quite believe he is at their club.

The Swede was at Sunday's match and denied that he was about to leave the Magpies. Trembling talked of the plans he has been putting in place with Eriksson, one involving a business trip abroad, and added that was hardly the actions of a man about to quit.

The fans chanted the names of Eriksson and Trembling during the match, with the Swede obligingly acknowledging them with a wave of the arm.

But then, the Magpies are used to a bit of turbulence, it's just that it doesn't normally have this much coverage.

Central defender Mike Edwards is the club's longest-serving player, having been at County since May 2004. The year before his arrival Notts had been on the verge of extinction, saved by a donation of £3m from an anonymous local businessman.

The club's on-field battles since then have largely been restricted to the wrong end of the League Two table and Edwards will soon be on his sixth manager.

"I have re-signed contracts twice now and this investment is what I have been waiting for because I have seen the potential here," Edwards told me in the tunnel after Sunday's match.

I can see what he means. Meadow Lane is a decent all-seater stadium with good facilities and an excellent playing surface. It is a base from which the club can grow.

Last season, apparently, you'd be able to park your car in the road right outside the stadium. Not so on Sunday. County gave away several thousand free tickets in an attempt to boost attendance and 8,812 made their way to Meadow Lane despite the unusual 1715 GMT kick-off time on a Sunday evening.

County's average attendance has been on the wrong side of 5,000 for several seasons but they currently average more than 8,000 across their six home League Two fixtures so far.

But whoever takes over will have to improve on Sunday's second-half showing if they want the fans to keep coming back. County were brilliant in the first half, racing into a 2-0 lead and creating enough chances to ensure lowly Torquay could become the third side to concede five goals at Meadow Lane this season.

Campbell might have gone but County have plenty of quality for League Two. Lee Hughes, Ben Davies, Luke Rodgers, Matt Ritchie, Johnnie Jackson, record signing Kasper Schmeichel - these are all players who should be at a higher level and for a while it showed. The County fans sang that it was just like watching Juve.

But Torquay, second bottom in the table and a world away from County in financial terms, pulled a goal back before the break. The Magpies' free-flowing football disappeared in the second half and the Gulls snatched a well-earned equaliser.

The fans dissatisfaction at the final whistle on Sunday tells you how quickly expectations have grown at the club.

It is a point not lost on Edwards.

"We expect to win every game," said the defender. "We now have got the quality to take County forward. You can see how training has really stepped up and speaking personally it is great to be in amongst it."

It was Edwards who lost his place when Campbell made his only appearance for County. It makes me wonder whether he too might eventually end up a victim of County's ambition.

"We are concentrating on what happens on the pitch, I leave all the other stuff alone that is going in the papers," added Edwards, who was on holiday in the Caribbean when he first heard rumours of the takeover.

"I know it is frustrating for the chairman but we are not involved in that side of it and want to be judged by our football."

In those terms County, four points adrift of top spot, aren't doing too bad and it is difficult to not feel sorry for McParland. Ask any manager and they will tell you it takes time to mould together so many new players and create a team from a set of individuals.

County have been very strong at home, slightly brittle away. It really wouldn't be a big surprise if a squad with County's strength won promotion. Nothing less would be seen as a failure.

But I cannot help but wonder if it is wishful thinking to hope that what happens on the pitch will become the big story anytime soon at a club still coming to terms with its new profile.

And by sacking McParland County have ensured that they will stay in the headlines.

You can follow me throughout the season at


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    It really is ridiculous that he has been sacked - England's oldest club becomes Englands biggest laughing stock

  • Comment number 3.

    Who are notts county anyway?

  • Comment number 4.

    As a follower of Notts for 40 years, the past few weeks have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I rarely get to see the 'Pies at the Lane due to the distance to travel and other commitments, but i still consider myself a real fan.

    This takes the biscuit though - what price loyalty these days? It reinforces my perception that the takeover is one step closer to Franchise Football. And if that's the case, it's not for me - I may as well go and support MK Dons, they're a darn site closer!

  • Comment number 5.

    Great blog Paul.

    This is probably the least surprising story of the day though. It was only a matter of time because McParland is certainly not a big enough name for a club who have employed Sven and Sol Campbell in the last few months. The owners clearly want success and a quick route to the Premiership in straight seasons. It will not happen if they carry on this way because players will be put off from the club due to the background trouble.

    If they employ a proven league one/two manager, sign a couple more established league one/two players, then I think they will be ok and get automatic promotion with the team they have plus the additions. If they aim too high with manager and future signings (i.e. sol campbell) I think it could all end in tears.

  • Comment number 6.

    @ True-leeds6 wrote:

    Who are notts county anyway?


    I'm no expert but I'd say that Notts County..

    i. Are one of the oldest football clubs in the world
    ii. Were in the top flight as recently as 1991/92
    iii. Have spent about 30 seasons in the top flight
    iv. Have won the FA Cup as many times as Leeds United
    v. Have more financial clout than Leeds United at this moment in time
    vi. Have a former England manager working for them (at least at this moment)

    Does any of that help?

    Or is it too much trouble for you to read through?

  • Comment number 7.

    WHat a sorry state of affairs at Meadow Lane. I only hope there will be some true Nottinghamshire-based fans with enough money to pick up the pieces when circus show crumbles.

    I'm a Forest fan but I still care for all Nottinghamshire sport and I have a real dislike of the way County seem to be being used. The club badge has been changed, they seem to be driving out 'club' men, what next? If the owners had nothing to hide then why won't they let themselves be known? It all looks a little bit too suspect to me.

    Football clubs should represent the local community and there seems to be scant regard for this with Munto.

    Best wishes to Charlie McParland - I think you're a better man than get dragged down into this Munto murkiness.

  • Comment number 8.

    I agree with #5.

    There needs to be a reality check on the situation and league Notts County are in. Ok they have a stupid amount of money and has generated headlines that in terms of marketing the club has done wonders, yet in footballing terms has been shambolic. There have been teams in the 3rd and 4th tiers of English football that have been rich (nowhere near on Notts County's leve but anyway) like Wigan and Fulham and through buying experienced players and staying at a realistic level they are now established Premiership clubs.

    It is a shame McParland had to go, however he has gone out with dignity and respect and maybe he may return as a coach, which I imagine would be a popular appointment amongst Notts County fans. However the fact that the likes of Platt and more worryingly Mancini's names are being touted around is bad for so many reasons. Firstly because a bigger name could easily walk out on the club, and secondly because they do not know the league and the players in it. Personally someone with a track record of getting clubs out of League 2 would be the seeds to maybe a bit of stability.

    They have got their publicity, and have probably guaranteed themselves the high attendances they wanted until at least the end of the season, now lets have a reality check.

  • Comment number 9.

    Paul Fletcher seems not to realise that any manager now at Notts County should be expected to get promotion. Would anybody expect, for example, Di Matteo or Simon Grayson to stay in charge at their clubs if they don't get promotion? Notts County's status is similar in League Two.
    So what happened it's not headline grabbing, but natural: County needs a better manager. Their new appointment will have to be under scrutiny, not this decision which came at the right time.

  • Comment number 10.

    #6 You are responding to somebody whose first response to this excellent blog was 'WAZZAAAP' so yes it probably is too much trouble for him/her to read.

    Nonetheless the facts you have stated does give a seriousness to the ambitions of the fans and management by showing their not-too chabby history and a reminder to Notts County haters of a past when they were either not born or wondering whether to change from supporting Liverpool to Arsenal.

  • Comment number 11.

    Horadrim - I agree that Notts want success and to win promotion out of League Two this season. I just don't agree with sacking McParland when his team are fifth and within touching distance of top spot.

    County have played just 12 League games and the manager was working with a large pool of new players. I don't agree this is the right time to sack McParland. Far from it.

    I could have almost understood it if they had got rid of the manager straight after their takeover - as Southampton did with Mark Wotte - but they didn't and as recently as last week Peter Trembling was fulsome in his praise for McParland. Then they sack him. What is that saying?

  • Comment number 12.

    @ True-leeds6 wrote:

    Who are notts county anyway?


    Im a Leeds fan but I maintain that 95% of Leeds fans are morons, you seem to be part of the majority. What were you hoping to acheive with a comment like that?

    Anyway, back to the blog. I was half expecting this news since Eriksson joined Notts County. Eriksson must surely be the front runner for the job. We saw the same thing happen at Portsmouth with Redknapp, then again with Zajec. The title of 'Director Of Football' essentially translates to 'Manager in waiting'

  • Comment number 13.

    Paul, I agree that this sacking is sending out the wrong message, is the wrong decision etc. However you and I know, that this was expected. Coupled with the farcical goings on at Meadow Lane this season, most notably Sol Campbell's fool-hardy public damning of the supposed 'slow progress' the club is making, a scapegoat had to be made to cover up the rookie mistakes of the board. Ultimately the scapegoat was the manager.

    Expecting miracles after 3 months is just crazy, and the fact that the club are in a better position than they were this time last year is just ludicrous. They said a 5-year plan to get the club into the top-flight. Promotion in the first-season was always going to be hardest, so maybe they should accept that, and by the rules of their totally unrealistic plan, they are entitled to not get promoted for one season.

  • Comment number 14.

    I feel genuinely sorry for Charlie. He didn't deserve this treatment - shame on you Notts - will be interesting to see what other has-been now gets the job - if they were any good they would already be in a good job. The players let him down last night in the second half as they have in some other games recently. He has made some good signings which were nothing to do with Sven. We now have Schmichael - who was - and whilst his distribution is generally good he is hopeless with corners & crosses but blames everyone else but himself. Been to every game so far this year with my lad but this was a poor, poor decision Mr Trembling!!

  • Comment number 15.

    "County have been very strong at home, slightly brittle away."

    I was at the away fixture vs. Lincoln and we played them off the park, 3-0 and a goal in the first 30 seconds. Brittle? Hmm..

  • Comment number 16.

    i feel sorry for charlie and i think some some of the players should stand to account.

  • Comment number 17.

    Okay I'm a little biased but you see my point! Pretty broad generalisations.

  • Comment number 18.

    Paul - I agree that they could have/ should have sacked him at the start, but then again it can be said that they gave him a chance and obviously they now think he is not competent enough.
    They do have to give enough time to a new manager to get the team promoted. That's why I think their next decision is very important. Will they turn into a new QPR or will they be patient with their man of choice?

  • Comment number 19.

    It's not surprising that Charlie got the sack.....not to me at least. Trembling said back in September that Charlie's position was "constantly under review" (remarks that can still be found on this website). What IS surprising, is that his sacking came after a draw, albeit a draw against lowly opposition.

    It was going to happen at some point. Tremblings comments suggested that Charlie couldnt afford to do anything wrong this season, that there was only one chance for him to succeed and many chances for him to fail. I feel Trembling set Charlie up for a fall even before he began. Telling someone that their position is constantly under review and making that statement public just creates more pressure than there needs to be. Unfair pressure in my opinion.

    I expected Charlie to be given until at least Christmas, but it seems these Munto people are ruthless in their decision making, and there is obviously very little margin for error.

    The next manager who comes in would do well to remember that. There is a real danger that this job could well become a poisoned chalice, if Munto's patience is anything to go by. For their sakes, as much as the fans, I hope their next appointment is the right one. Charlie was'nt a Munto acquisition, he was already in place, so they can argue their point this time around that he was not their man and that they had less cause to support him, but next time it will be THEIR man in the chair.

    It will be interesting to see how that pans out, especially if results dont go as expected.

  • Comment number 20.

    I also don't agree with this idea about naming a manager with League 1/ League 2 experience. That's only proper for a club with no money where a manager finds cheap players etc. A manager is good or bad and it's been proven so many times a good manager can change leagues, countries etc and do a good job.
    When money is available, good players are available so there really is no room for error simply because if things don't go well, there is no hiding - it is crystal clear in that case that the manager is not good enough.
    And remember that Chelsea had to sack a good manager to get Jose and Fulham did the same back when they got Keegan.

  • Comment number 21.

    Have you seen the bookies odds? Eriksson is obviously in the running but David Platt is a very, very short price. Any thoughts on that one? Iain Dowie has been mentioned as well - and Steve Coppell. Plenty of out of work managers. Erm, why are they out of work? Coppell did a cracking down at Reading IMO but the rest have patchy track records.

    Luke1471 - I'm just pleased you read so far down the article.

  • Comment number 22.

    Haha it was a good article Paul, how could I not? :P

  • Comment number 23.

    Let's be honest, it's not as if this news is a surprise to anyone, least of all McParland. The second the Marquis de Swede shimmied through the door his days were numbered.

    I'd be amazed if Sven didn't take the job - unless he's had a sniff of potential problems with the owners, hence the convenient stories about possible national posts being up for grabs, etc.

    Whatever, the manager has been treated very shabbily, although I would assume that his golden handshake was worthy of mystery moneybags owners.

  • Comment number 24.

    As a lifelong Pies fan I have to admit that this came as no shock. Sad news, as Charlie had been a great servant to Notts in the past, but the harsh reality is that as a manager his win record was very poor. His tactical awareness was lacking and given the new found optimism, hope and sheer "living the dream" that all us Pies fans are experiencing, means a 2-2 draw at home to 2nd bottom, plus an earlier loss to Morecambe (their only win) means he had to go. Final word please NOT Platt.

  • Comment number 25.

    David Platt is a logical bookies favourite because of his links in the past with Sven. However, he has'nt had a club job since nearly ruining Forest, so I cant see that being a choice that has any real logic to it other than he's in the Good Boys Club.

    I'd be amazed if Sven put himself forward for it. Think about it, his position as it stands is almost a golden carriage...he is under no pressure in his current role, the results are'nt his responsibility, and he's no doubt being paid well. It's what you might call a cush gig, an almost bullet proof role for him. Why would he give that up?

    Steve Coppell would be a good choice. A Football man who is also aware of lower league football, and who knows how to operate further up the scale. For my money, he would be a great appointment, and I think that one would be popular with the fans (as popular as its possible to be after seeing a club favourite go out the door).

    As we all know though, football does'nt always like to follow logic, and in keeping with what is happening at Meadow Lane this season, I fully expect the next appointment to be a surprising one.

    Please God, dont let it be Platt though.

  • Comment number 26.

    P.S According to the main article on this story, Sven is'nt even in the running and will actually be the one who makes the next appointment. So I think that confidently rules him out, which as I said previously, is no surprise to me. The Golden Carriage draws on!


    County director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson, who is not being lined up to succeed McParland, will be responsible for appointing the club's new manager.

    "We have a five-year project to deliver sustainable success to the club and our focus is to reach the Championship and beyond," said County executive chairman Peter Trembling, referring to club's ambitious plans to reach the Premier League.

    "We will take the appropriate amount of time to ensure we make the right appointment," added Trembling. "This will be done to our own time schedule.

    "As you would expect, Sven-Goran Eriksson will be responsible for this appointment."

  • Comment number 27.

    A manager is stopped from achieving success due to the fact that he doesn't have a big name. Daft.

  • Comment number 28.

    To say Platt is up there because of his links to Sven is farsical, there's hundreds of managers out there who have links.

    For what it's worth I don't think he'd be a bad appointment for you guys. Yeh he was terrible at Forest but that was down to the board giving him copious amounts of money that we didn't have. That isn't an issue at County and Platt to be fair did get us some absolute gems, Ricky, Johnson, Brennan, Louis Jean, Stern John these were all Platt signing and absolute gold. Give me one of them over the current crop any day. Mancini has links with Sven so he could be in the frame as could the links of a newly retired player.. who knows but it'll be interesting... Nedved to manage county who'd have thought it....

  • Comment number 29.

    Eriksson follows the money.

    Just wave it under his nose and he'd walk off the end of a pier.

  • Comment number 30.

    "To say Platt is up there because of his links to Sven is farsical"

    Please can you explain exactly HOW it's farsical to say Platt is up there because of links with Sven?

    Are you saying that Platt is being mentioned on merit? Because that trully would be a farsical thing to say.

    Come on, if Platt had'nt of played under Sven at Sampdoria, and if he had'nt of been given the England U21 job by Sven, do you still think Platt's name would be mentioned for this job? Please!!!

    I'm not saying Platt is the only person who has links to Sven, that would be ridiculous, but it IS the reason why the press have got him as that much of a favourite.

  • Comment number 31.

    Oops, meant to say thats the reason why the bookies have got him favourite, not the press.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have to say Notts County takeover is turning out to be a complete shambles. When it first started, I thought Notts County will be up there in League Two this season alongside teams like Dagenham, Shrewsbury etc. But I feel sorry for the manager macparland who got sacked. This is because each time, Notts County lose, he gets the blame.If eriksson is helping the players, and giving them advice, then it partly his fault. The takeover is a complete shambles. They get all this money, and somehow it looks like they got no money and its a dogdy takeover. For the new manager, Sven should get someone with league experience. Dont understand why he thinks Roberto Manichi may come to county. It dosent make any sense. I believe Notts County should get Peter Taylor, as hes a good english manager and has got experience in the football league, and to be fair Wycombe didnt give him a fair share in their first 10 games. For sven ambition, Notts County will not be in Premier League in three years. They be in the top six in League One. Notts County will go up this season via automatic promotion as they got a quite a good squad. In defence of Sven, as hes lot got a decent transfer window pedigree. Think the signings of Kasper Schimichael and Lee Hughes, has helped County a lot this season and also having a strong home record in the league, as thats most important. Hope Sven for Notts County sake, he makes a great appitonment by using sense and hope not of using supposed money to lure an inexperienced manager in this league.

  • Comment number 33.

    Just a quick question to the Notts County Fans. Ian 'Charlie' McParland is a born and bred Tranent lad, a small town up here in Bonnie Scotland. His nickname here when he comes back home still is and always will be 'Pumper' McParland. Where did the 'Charlie' nickname originate from.
    He is a good lad socially incidently. Pretty honest and straight.
    He was touted for managing Hibs after Tony Mowbury departed for West Brom on the back of his good work at Notts Forest. Wouldn't be surprised to see him managing up here any time soon.

  • Comment number 34.

    "Charlie" McParland...a comparison to the Charlie Chaplin waddle in the way he ran as a player. I am an exiled Pie in Campbeltown.

    I think the sacking was the wrong decision. I suspect it was more to do with his abrasive (which came across as insecure) manner in front of the press. The results and performances (from what I heard and the little I saw) had earned him a run imo.

    Peter Trembling has done a great job in general, until now...I hope they make the right appointment for a replacement. I would welcome either Steve Coppell or Peter Taylor.

  • Comment number 35.

    God bless Charlie, but he was one of County's worst ever managers and produced some diabolical football. Notts were good to watch this season but only in parts. At other times, for example for the last 55 minutes on Sunday, they were terrible, and for the majority of last season we were 'a laughing stock', a poor team. Luke1471 - The Lincoln away game where Notts won 3-0, Lincoln were managerless and very very poor. Look at the results we've not delivered - any half decent team with a bit of fight in them should have won at Morecombe - they have not beaten another team all season.

    It was obvious from the beginning of the 'Munto era' that Charlie was uncomfortable with the situation he'd been put in. I'm sad to see Charlie go, but he didn't do enough on the pitch - a ruthless decision perhaps but the right one. There was no sense his tactical awareness had improved over the time he was in charge and he didn't have the managerial experience and achievement behind him that might have given him more time - he was unproven. Good luck to him in the future.

  • Comment number 36.

    Those "in the know" are already making it clear that the so-called "Munto Finance" is in fact a front for individuals of a very shady nature indeed. They are speaking of half-seen forms, of hideous rasping voices, of reptilian aliens with electronical eyes and an utter disregard for human culture. *They will not laugh at our jokes*

    Those-in-the-know, however, are merely using this story to prepare earth for the "real" truth. Munto Finance, while appearing to be a corporate concern involving multiple individuals, is in fact the protrusion into this dimension of a single Cthulhoid entity of incalculable scope and unimaginable evil.

    Eriksson's entire life has been nothing but an infant's game, to prepare him to act as Its herald: his genetic blueprint was designed millennia ago, for this end alone. Sol Campbell (i.e. the "defender" of the "Sol" system) will now lead the people of Earth in a desperate resistance movement, to regain their rightful inheritance in the face of this Transdimensional Abomination. Viva Gaia! Long live the Resistance!

  • Comment number 37.

    The one big advantage that ex-internationals like Platt bring is that they can help attract good foreign players to your club. Clearly that is not relevant in the division County are currently operating in, but the club could be looking ahead a couple of seasons. However, with Sven already at the club, its not clear how much extra star quality Platt would bring to the club.

    And then all that remains is his ability as a manager to motivate, organise and improve his players. Precious little evidence that Platt is up to much on that score.

    People seem to believe that the best players are naturally also cut out to be the best managers. People like Platt are given good jobs and good money and when they inevitably fail there always seems to be some other club willing to give them another chance. Its not unique to English football either - look at Leonardo at Milan, Maradona in Argentina.

    Of course you can point to exceptions. But given the number of ex-stars who are a given a chance at a big job, its amazing how few are able to stick around. The big jobs in Europe are dominated by managers with relatively modest playing careers : Mourinho, Fergie, Wenger, Van Gaal, Pellegrini.

  • Comment number 38.

    Still find it strange the football league made Southampton jump through hoops and even waiver it's legal right to appeal the points deduction before receiving its "golden share", but Notts County ownership is still being questioned & not officially ratified two months after the season started.

    I appreciate that Saints were in Administration and County was a transfer of ownership, but the circus at Notts is growing by the day and it feels like we could be seeing another club being made a mockery of without the authorities doing a thing to stop it.

  • Comment number 39.

    Should see if Keegan fancies getting back into the game and do with County what he did with Fulham.

  • Comment number 40.

    While there is a lack of transparency at Notts County they are there to be shot at, but it's easy to jump on the bandwagon and slate them. At the end of the day they are not the first bunch of new owners to oust the previous regime and want there own man in, it happens quite a lot. It's a shame for McParland and people talk about loyalty but if he had the team flying and a bigger club from a higher division offered him a job he would have taken it. The key thing now is to let the media hype die down and make the right appointment, as for the club 'losing it's soul' the fans are the soul of any club no matter who the manager or the owners are and I'd guess the same county fans going now were going last season.

  • Comment number 41.

    Lots of people seem to be missing a couple of points about the sacking of Mcparland.

    Firstly, he lacked tactical ability and he had no "plan B" and this was completely obvious on Sunday and against the stubborn, work hard clubs.
    He used the same centre halves that Notts had when finishing near the bottom for two seasons. Neither centre half seemed to head the ball on Sunday and their shortcomings were there for all to see.

    Secondly, McParland was never comfortable with the situation and his inability to buy players was a real problem for him.

    The fact is that Notts are using the Italian model where a Director of Football buys all the players and the manager (coach) works with the players given him. That is why Platt has been mentioned as he would have no problem with this model.

    I can't fault Charlie for trying but he was out of his depth as soon as promotion was the target.

  • Comment number 42.

    Interesting point from the article:
    "Last season, apparently, you'd be able to park your car in the road right outside the stadium. Not so on Sunday. County gave away several thousand free tickets in an attempt to boost attendance and 8,812 made their way to Meadow Lane despite the unusual 1715 GMT kick-off time on a Sunday evening.

    County's average attendance has been on the wrong side of 5,000 for several seasons but they currently average more than 8,000 across their six home League Two fixtures so far."

    So basically County's average attendances have gone up by around 3000 - 4000 a match since the takeover, but that they gave away several thousand free tickets for the last match - was this a one off? and if so it doesn't really seem that their takeover and new signings have put many on the gate!

  • Comment number 43.

    I too am getting a little frustrated by the outpourings of sympathy for McParland coming from people who really know little to nothing about his managerial record. For the two years he was manager he has consistently failed to learn from his mistakes, demonstrated a complete inability to change a football match and proven himself to be devoid of any sense of tactical awareness. The 'transformation' he has apparently presided over in leading us to 5th in the table is a result of the better standard of player we have been able to go out and sign, and is despite of McParland, not because of him.

    Yes he is a Notts legend, yes he is a nice bloke and a good coach, but he is never, never going to make a decent manager.

  • Comment number 44.

    Hi Paul, Good Blog as always, I just wanted to get your opinion on the going on at Notts County. Do you think they could be in trouble if they fail to win promotion this year?

    Is the owner willing to stay in League Two for another year? I know they've said it's a five year project, but they also said Mcparland's job was safe!

  • Comment number 45.

    #2 no that is Newcastle United

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm definately gonna have a Notts County game on the next footie manager

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 No that is not Newcastle United. They were formed in 1892 through the merger of Newcastle West End and Newcastle East End...30 years after Notts County formed in 1862.

    Notts County are the oldest professional team in the world.

  • Comment number 48.

    No.36 - Very funny indeed. you should be on one of those comedy panel shows! LOL
    On a serious note, it is saddening that the football greed disease shows no signs of slowing, spreading even to the basement of L2. McParland seemed a decent bloke, unjustly treated. I'm afraid he won't be the last to fall victim to shady chancers with £ signs permanently floating in their field of vision.

  • Comment number 49.

    Platty is two good for this farce fellas. englands greatest ever midfield brother. look at him man, he held together the uinternational team through the early 90's and also was tuckied his penalty away vs germany in '90 and '96. why shoudl her lower himself to this?> that volley against belgian, what a goal, maybe the greats english goal ever. he loved to butt peoples knees as well, a real trojan, englands most successful player abroad for italy. and a very large forhead. he is makes an excellent pundit just now, why should he leave that. i love seeing his opinions on sky

  • Comment number 50.

    I picked my Fifa 10 team to be Notts County and Big Sol was rank in it, costing me games and conceding goals, i sold him in January for 3and a half times he was worth at the start and bought some great players, Went on to win League 2, Hope to gain promotion again this season.

    Just thought i'd mention this.


    Good luck to Notts county, hope they do well, the have the players for it, lets hope they can get the man to do it.

  • Comment number 51.

    I was just reading Jimmy Greaves autobiography the other day and it turns out this sort of controversy is not new to Notts County! Apparently (Page 68 paragraph 2) an England Centre Forward called Tommy Lawton, who was at the peak of his powers at Chelsea, (Sols not quite at his peak I know) shocked the footballing world by transferring to lowly 3rd division Notts County for a record £20,000 fee. By the looks of things there were also some dodgy dealings because at the time there was a maximum wage.

    In order to attract Tommy then, the County chief put him on the books of the company he owned and paid him a large weekly wage to do administration work. It is highly dubious whether he actually ever went into this place at all which would have been illegal...

    At least Tommy stayed for a few seasons, unlike Mr Campbell.

  • Comment number 52.

    6. At 5:17pm on 12 Oct 2009, The Midland 20 wrote:

    I'm no expert but I'd say that Notts County..

    i. Are one of the oldest football clubs in the world
    ii. Were in the top flight as recently as 1991/92
    iii. Have spent about 30 seasons in the top flight
    iv. Have won the FA Cup as many times as Leeds United
    v. Have more financial clout than Leeds United at this moment in time
    vi. Have a former England manager working for them (at least at this moment)

    We can tell you are no expert, because if you knew anything you'd have just put 'no-one'. History means nothing (LEEDS FANS) so please be calm. And what is the point of your fifth point. Have more money than Leeds.

  • Comment number 53.

    I worry about all the teams getting taken over in terms of their long term stability. There are a few companies who seem to be genuinely interested in achieving success and doing the job properly. Other teams, seemingly including Notts Co, don't have a clue what's going on and turmoil ensues. This cannot be a solid platform for generating long term success for a football club, which is steadily building a team capable of going up the football league ladder.

    It would seem that Munto Finance want to make a quick buck by generating high profile publicity before taking away their financial clout, leaving the club in serious difficulty.

    If they've got a manager who knows his players, is popular with the fans and more importantly knows the lower leagues, then why get rid? Especially if he's readily got access to Sven, who is an exceptional manager, and his tactical knowledge? Why pay Roberto Mancini who hasn't got a great deal of experience £10million to go and manage a lower league team in a foreign country. His knowledge will be non-existant and asking for trouble.

    If, however, McFarland wasn't up to the job then they should go for a manager with the required attributes. Maybe Coppell is the right choice?

    I hope Notts Co do progress and my suspicions are proved wrong, but at the moment I'm fairly sure it won't happen. Just ask Mr Campbell.

  • Comment number 54.

    Is it a coincidence that County have sacked their manager the same weekend that Peter Taylor left Wycombe?

    1) SGE played a part in PT being the England manager for that one game.
    2) PT has a track record of getting clubs promoted in the lower leagues, Gillingham, Brighton, Hull twice, Wycombe.
    3) PT is a big name, at least in English football and with young players thanks to his two stints as U21s boss. With Schmeichel they've shown a desire, and more importantly ability to sign big YOUNG names so who better to get them playing well together?

    Would that appointment also make County the first lower league club ever to have two former England managers in key roles at the same time?

  • Comment number 55.

    I’m not going to call this sacking “a disgrace” as many people have commented similarly from the outside on our recent managerial change without knowing the facts and having seen us play, so as I have not seen County play this year I cannot comment on the correctness of the decision from a purely footballing standpoint.

    It does, however, appear that the writing was on the wall early on. Short of running away with the division on a long unbeaten run, McParland didn’t have a chance. It is a shame that seemingly capable managers are being replaced by “big names” on the basis of the fact that armchair fans may not have heard of them.

    County need to beware of this appointment, as appointing a “big name” based on their reputation outside of management is a dangerous practice. Anyone sceptical need only look at our League position right now to see this!

    PS Another excellent piece Paul - keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 56.

    Now there are two sets of magpies vying for the title of football's biggest laughing stock. But every cloud has a silver lining - as the song goes:
    One for sorrow, two for joy.

  • Comment number 57.

    Why is anyone surprised about any of the 'comings and goings' when money is the sole reason for people wanting to be involved. I cant wait until all football clubs are bankrupt and we start again, kicking balls in the street after school just for the pleasure of it.

  • Comment number 58.

    Lawrie Sanchez is out of work, he did well with an average group of lads at N.Ireland so he might do well with "County have plenty of quality for League Two. Lee Hughes, Ben Davies, Luke Rodgers, Matt Ritchie, Johnnie Jackson, record signing Kasper Schmeichel"

    Great Blog Paul

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm not a County fan nor am I from the area, I just take a keen interest in the lower leagues and what is going on.

    It was and still is good to see somebody taking an interest in the oldest club in the world (still running), giving the club ambition to get further than Lge2 mid-table obscurity.

    It is a shame that McParland has been given the boot so early on, after we see time and time again that the "big name" or "best up and coming" appointment fails to deliver using Peter Taylor at Stevenage and Pual Ince at Blackburn as examples. Perhaps Sven has observed something in McParland's managerial ability that he didn't like.

    The same should be said of the players already there. Examples of players who can play further up the pyramid can be seen at Peterborough with George Boyd and Keith Andrews who is playing regularly (or so it seems) at Blackburn after playing in the lowest division...

    .... County could end up being guilty of over ambition. Getting in too many big names so soon could have a reversing effect later on, should they decide to leave or the chemistry isn't right, players will leave (like Sol Campbell) then they will be left right back where they are now. Incidentally, Sol should be ashamed of himself. I found it quite insulting that he should comment on his teammates like he did.

    Build slowly buy surely. A manager who has possibly managed at Premiership level (similar to Col Utd's appoint of Aidy Boothroyd) would be a good appointment.

    I agree with #55 about Peter Taylor. Is it a co-incidence? I know I used him as an example of a "big name" manager at a lower league club who has failed, but he showed he worked well with Sven in the England camp, maybe this would work.

  • Comment number 60.

    #54 even. DER! :-D

  • Comment number 61.

    I have to say I think County have shot themselves in the foot here. Everyone knows that success does not come overnight, and to sack a manager who's team is currently 5th in a league, with no more than a handful of games played, is disgraceful. Without wanting to sound harsh against County fans, who are the people most likely to be hurt by all of this, I wouldn't want to see County reaching the upper echelons by throwing money at the team. They gambled with Campbell, and look what happened there. Next they're allegedly set to offer a huge contract to Roberto Mancini to take over as manager, but what happens in 2 years' time if they're behind their planned schedule and feel they have to sack him? There goes a big chunk of money that could have been used on ensuring long-term stability at the Lane. I certainly don't see this Munto Finance ownership lasting very long as things are going. I really hope, for the sake of the club and its fans, that County do start to do well, but I'm getting tired of these foreign owners coming in and diluting the leagues with endless cash. I think the FA's fit and proper persons test needs to be a heck of a lot more stringent, with plans for the club taken into consideration.

  • Comment number 62.

    Perspective seems to have been lost. We've had a decade of decline and now we're in 5th position, 4 points off the top and Charlie gets the flick !
    He deserved better than that, Paul is right, the Lane is turning into a soap opera.
    What next ? Sven to Sweden's rescue ? Who can trust what trembling says after the 'vote of confidence' in Charlie last week ?
    Let's hope we get a sensible appointment, not a name, like Sol Campbell, who lasts 5 minutes.
    Peter Taylor would be a good choice.
    Even out here in SEA, we're in the news !!

  • Comment number 63.

    Bournemouth fan here. Another good blog, interesting comments on the day we have been banned from playing someone who wanted to play for free!!

    Anyway - No suprise he was sacked, you could tell he was under pressure in the post match interviews on Sunday, he was bitter and talked a load of rubbish about how Torquay played..he must have known that was that.

    County should probably go the Peterborough route and buy the best curent conference and Lge2 players for 2-300k. Boro's are still playing for them in the Championship

  • Comment number 64.

    Notts County have somehow managed to knock Newcastle off the Top of the League for being the most ludicrous club in English Football.

  • Comment number 65.

    52. At 12:55pm on 13 Oct 2009, captainlazytim wrote:
    6. At 5:17pm on 12 Oct 2009, The Midland 20 wrote:

    I'm no expert but I'd say that Notts County..

    i. Are one of the oldest football clubs in the world
    ii. Were in the top flight as recently as 1991/92
    iii. Have spent about 30 seasons in the top flight
    iv. Have won the FA Cup as many times as Leeds United
    v. Have more financial clout than Leeds United at this moment in time
    vi. Have a former England manager working for them (at least at this moment)

    We can tell you are no expert, because if you knew anything you'd have just put 'no-one'. History means nothing (LEEDS FANS) so please be calm. And what is the point of your fifth point. Have more money than Leeds.


    er.... history means NOTHING? That's a bit of an extreme, and somewhat inaccurate comment!

    I think the original poster made a fair, reasoned response (including the fifth point about money) to the mocking of Notts County by the Leeds fan. I dont know why you are getting your knickers in such a twist...

  • Comment number 66.

    I hardly think its a disgrace to sack McParland. The logic is fairly simple. New owners have taken over the club. The dimensions and the ambition of the club have changed now and I think they are entitled to appoint people who they feel can match that and best avail of the clubs new benefits. McParland from the start clearly never matched the profile of what they were looking for. He is probably a solid lower league manager at best and thats not what they are looking for. Is it unfortunate for McParland? Yes but I also think its justifiable. I dont see McParland having the ability to manage in the premier league where Notts County ultimately want to be. Its also questionable whether he even is the best man for the job in League 2 given the potential candidates Notts County could attract. He wasnt doing a terrible job with them but the decion makers clearly feel there is better available and I would have to agree. Whether or not there replacement will fullfil the goals set is a completely different argument.

    A takeover like this which significantly alters the plans, stature and ambitions of a club will naturally lead to some big changes. Its not unreasonable in my view that the new owners want their own man or at least want to go with the decision of one of their advisors. McParland was doomed from the off as clearly they never wanted him so it was only a matter of time. You could argue they shouldve just removed him at the very start but they might have wanted a degree of stability at the beginning while they looked at alternatives rather than rushing something. Its unfortunate for McParland because as I say he was doomed to fail despite not doing a huge amount wrong but I also believe that County can attract managers with better creditials now and are justified in looking for a different man that they believe can match their ambitions and take full advantage of the new resources, structures and networks that they can now put in place.

  • Comment number 67.

    When Keegan took over Fulham he signed a midfield general - Lee Clark - who was clearly good enough to be playing at a far higher level, but was attracted by Keegan as much as Fulham or the money im guessing. If Notts get a Grade A manager, then they can sign Championship level players (they already have the likes of Lee Hughes) and keep that squad together for the next 3 seasons and storm through the leagues. Why sign good League 2 players? They will only need to be replaced next year - which unsettles the squad. Sign quality Championship or League one players who are looking for a challenge. Add on they will get paid a good whack and this will entice them. First priority for the new manager though is to sign a quality ball winning central midfielder from the Championship.

    From an outsiders perspective, im far from surprised McParland was sacked. With no money Notts were languishing, even with money they arent in the automatic promotion spots. Better get rid now and give a new man time to push the club into the top 3.

    Steve Coppell would be a great catch. Peter Taylor im sorry to say is not a great manager. He had Wycombe flying at the start of last season and they just barely scraped promotion - coupled with an appauling start to this season and its obvious why he got the boot.

    Whats wrong with Platt by the way? From what a i remember he did a great job with the U21's. At Forest - well that was a poisoned chalice when he took over. A club in decline. Many other managers have tried and failed there too. He would certainly draw big name players and like i said, his record isn't all bad.

  • Comment number 68.

    Hmmm. Thanks for all the people who have posted - a bit of a division between those who feel sorry for McParland and those who reckon he was out of his depth.

    I see that Sven will not be taking over, not even in the short term, but will appoint the new manager. I'd be wanting alot of questions answered before I took that job (not that I am going to be offered it, you understand).

    Questions like: Will Sven be sticking around? What does he do? What amount of cash do I have to spend? If my team get booed off after a draw will I get the sack the next morning?

  • Comment number 69.

    Deats80 said: "Whats wrong with Platt by the way? From what a i remember he did a great job with the U21's. At Forest - well that was a poisoned chalice when he took over."

    I strongly disagree (on both points). What was so great about what he did with the U21's? His team qualified for 1 tournament out of 2, and did'nt pull up any tree's (no pun intended) in the one tournament that he did qualify for (knocked out in the group stage). Hardly a "great job". If you want to know what a great job looks like, compare his record at U21 level with Dave Sexton's (Sexton won two U21 championships in a row) and even Stuart Pearce got us into a final. Platt came nowhere near either of those achievements. So I ask again, what's so great about the job he did?

    Secondly, no, the Forest job became a poisoned chalice AFTER Platt, and BECAUSE of him. He was given a lot of money to spend and wasted a lot of it. If we'd had a more experienced manager at the time instead of Platt, that manager could have invested more wisely. As it was, he blew a lot of Nigel Doughty's money, and subsequently, Nigel Doughty was less willing to support his managers after that with cold hard cash, either through having burnt fingers, or because there was less cash available to him to put into the club.

    Basically put, Platt wasted resources at Forest, and this had a knock-on effect for all managers after him. Until now. That means it's taken us 8 years to recover, we are only just now back to where we were when Mr Platt arrived on the scene.

    He is the worst candidate for the job, his record does not indicate that he is cut for management.

  • Comment number 70.

    anywhere Sven goes he just smiles and takes the money (and Tord Grip) with him...........hasn't anyone sussed him out yet? Is it not time that County, bless 'em, got themselves a reality check.

  • Comment number 71.

    I was in The Dorchester last Wednesday and who should be in there but Sven, Peter Taylor and entourage...

  • Comment number 72.

    #67 Whether Taylor wuld be a good appointment or not is debateable, but we won't know for sure unless he gets the job. I'd say the situation at County is a lot closer to the situation he went into at Hull than any of his other jobs.

    Whilst he didn't win either league with us he was always building a side that could get promotion and challenge again the following year (or survive in the significantly more difficult CCC), which as daft as it may seem means building a side less suited to winning the league. The first promotion season for example Torquay had the best team (lacked depth), Doncaster were best managed, and we had the best squad. The last didn't show until the following season when we started with a better base than the other promoted clubs and went straight up again.

    Wycombe as a L2 club would struggle to attract players capable of playing at the top of L1 which is what's costing them this season, they simply had too many players needed replacing for their resources.

    County wouldn't have that problem, their ambitions suit Taylor's preferred style of squad building, and he fits so many other factors that affect appointments the 'coincidence' of the timing seems a little unbelieveable so it might not take that long to find out.

  • Comment number 73.

    I think its disgustng. He was alright for the meatpies when you had no money! Now you have your millions you just S*** on your own, and Charlie was counteh thru and thru. Shame on you meatpies!

  • Comment number 74.

    come on you pieees lets get some local talent back clifton @ meadow boys.that play with local pride @ passion

  • Comment number 75.

    So County bring in McParland, who did a job of cleaning out the stables at the end of last season - in other words he got rid of all that were there before him. Were there shades of "baby" and "bathwater"? Were all of the squad really that bad?

    Then "Mr Notts County, through and through" discovers just how unforgiving football can be. Wonder how it feels to realise that your face does not fit?

    Where next? - Well Keegan's out of a job and looks good in black and white!


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