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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Magpies steal the title

Turls gives credit to Notts County manager Steve Cotterill, after the Magpies secure the League Two title.

A great late run has seen Steve Cotterill's side take the League Two title

Notts County have been the starting point for many a conversation here at Soccer AM/MW Towers. At the start of the season, we wrote about how the Munto Finance and Notts County relationship would never last and how it was bound to end up with the Meadow Lane club in tears.

Obviously, we thought we were talking about the future but no-one expected the future to be a few months. When new broke in February that Munto Finance were fed up with the Nottingham Magpies, everyone was a little surprised that it ended so quickly.

The sordid affair wasn't over as Sven-Goran Eriksson and pals quickly thought about buying the club themselves. It got a little confusing and a little messy, and eventually the Swede packed up his bags and moved on.

Notts County fans didn't have a clue where to turn next. One minute they were dreaming of the Premier League, now they were having sleepless nights as they worried over the future of their club.

Fortunately for them, the Notts County bigwigs decided enough was enough with gimmicks and nonsense and they duly appointed Steve Cotterill as manager. This was by far the greatest thing to have happened to Notta County in a long time.

Forget the time when they thought they were going to be in the top flight in a few years time. Cotterill's appointment was a masterstroke.

Cotterill has been in charge since February and, in this instance, the stats don't lie. The Magpies have lost just one game under their new manager and he guided them to the League Two title having beaten Darlington on Tuesday night.

It's bizarre that as soon as Munto Finance left, County started looking like they were far too good for this division.

So, why has the new gaffer been so successful? Probably because he is a quality manager at this level, but also because he didn't have to worry about the same things that Ian McParland had to during his 'disastrous' reign.

He is certainly more deserving of a managerial positions higher up the leagues, but sometimes you have to go down to go back up again.

Kasper Schmeichel has been a key to County's success - but will be leaving this summer

Let's not kid ourselves though, Cotterill inherited an impressive unit. Kasper Schmeichel in goal, Lee Hughes up top? These are players who should be in the Championship, not League Two.

Notts County have had the best squad in the division, and that is ultimately why they have won the league. McParland was doing a good job until the board thought that County should have had 37 points from a possible 36.

Cotterill's real test will come next season - provided he is still there. League One is a tough place to survive - Wycombe and Stockport will testify to that.

Cotterill will know that he has the playing squad and credentials to keep the team in League without too much difficultly though.

The pressure won't come from the opponents, but a majority of fans who still live the Munto Finance dream. Fortunately, these fans are idiots and should be ignored.

There are still financial worries looming over Meadow Lane and next season's playing squad will probably be a lot different to this year's. Expect Schmeichel to leave in the summer and Hughes would probably follow.

Cotterill will be hoping that he keeps the majority of his squad so he can mount a decent campaign next season. They may not have the Munto millions but they have a quality manager and strong squad.

It's been a rollercoaster season and they will be delighted that they have won the league. They should stay up next season but, after the last 12 months, I don't think many Notts fans can predict what will happen next.

They do know that, as long as Cotterill in charge, it won't matter - much.

1 comment:

  1. Kasper is having his contract terminated at the end of the season. Apparently club couldn't risk not securing a transfer for him and then have to pay his wages for much longer.

    Hughes is said to be staying though, has a verbal agreement with Ray Trew but they haven't been able to act on it because of the transfer embargo.

    Thanks for the report, was a very good read! Always nice to read about us when it's not some inbred cave-dweller harping on about all the negatives surrounding the club!