FRESH IN | Notts County

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Thu 16 May 2019

Wrexham will next season face six new sides with the League Two relegation and National League North/South play-offs now confirmed, here we begin our series with an unthinkable side in Notts County. The former oldest Football League club who drop into the fifth tier for the first time.

Name: Notts County Football Club

Nickname: The Magpies

Stadium: Meadow Lane

Formed: 1862

Manager: Neal Ardley 

2018/19 Position: 23rd (Sky Bet League Two)

Notable Honours: FA Cup Winners (1894), Second Division/Championship Champions (1896/97, 1913/14 & 1922/23).

How they got here

In May 2019 Notts County were relegated to the Vanarama National League for the first time in their history, relinquishing their title as the oldest Football League club. County began their campaign with Kevin Nolan in charge before he was dismissed just five games into the season with Notts picking up just a point. A left-field choice in Harry Kewell was made to take the reigns at Meadow Lane but the Australian couldn't turn around the fortunes of his new side, lasting just 74 days in the job before being dismissed - having signed a 3-year deal. Neal Ardley was the third permanent manager appointed in November 2018 in a hugely turbulent time in the Midlands. The former AFC Wimbledon boss won just six of his 27 games and on the final day were battling with Macclesfield Town for survival, where Sol Campbell's Silkmen pulled off a dramatic escape to send County down.

The Gaffer

Notts chief Ardley was unable to keep his side in the Football League last term but has experience of winning promotion whilst in the managerial hot-seat. Having played for the likes of Wimbledon FC, Watford, Cardiff City and Millwall, he took his first managers position in 2012 with League Two AFC Wimbledon. During his six-year tenure, he earned promotion to League One via the play-offs in 2015/16 but following a losing streak in 2018 left Kingsmeadow via mutual-consent, before landing in Nottingham. 

Ones to Watch

Notts County are currently in limbo in terms of their retained list with a potential takeover scuppering some plans to offer deals to some key figures in the side. The likes of Michael Doyle, Elliott Hewitt and Jon Stead could all depart with their deals expiring or agreements in place to depart following relegation. However, top scorer Kane Hemmings - who began life with Tamworth before being picked up by Glasgow Rangers as a youngster - could still be with the club next season. Hemmings bagged 14 goals in a County side that struggled to find the back of the net last term and could be hugely influential in the National League. One man with real 5th tier pedigree is Kristian Dennis, who whilst with Macclesfield at this level scored 22 goals one season, before getting 19 for Chesterfield despite relegation in 2018. 

Haven't We Met Before?

We've met on a number of occasions throughout our Football League days, with games dating back to the 1950's. Our most recent games came in the mid-2000s in League Two with the last game ending in a 1-0 Wrexham win at the Racecourse in April 2008. Some notable scorelines between us include a 5-0 win for the reds in 1959, back-to-back 4-0 victories over Notts in 1964 and a 5-0 thumping by County in 1969. However, there has been just one game with more than three goals between the two sides since 2001. 

The Ground

Next season we will travel to Meadow Lane for the first time since 2007 when we head to Nottingham next season. The ground was built in 1910 and is quite literally a stone's throw away from their rivals' stadium the City Ground - home of Nottingham Forest. The close proximity is the closest of its nature in English football with the grounds deep in the heart of the city. Meadow Lane seats 19,841 supporters and will be the biggest in the National League next term. It hasn't always been home to County, they had previously played at Trent Bridge, the home of Nottinghamshire Cricket before the FA forced the side to move to more appropriate facilities. Its record crowd is over 47,000 when they took on York City in the FA Cup Sixth Round in 1955. Last season they averaged a crowd of 7,357.

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