Season’s greetings..

This was originally written for the Left Lion magazine, but bears some reproduction here.  To see their version (with answers also from a Notts County fan) then click here, to download the magazine it appears in PDF form then click here.  I didn’t come up with the questions, by the way! 🙂  Oh yeah, and I suspect we just lost to Sheffield United in another ill-conceived friendly – guess who scored? Billy Sharp!

So, after a short break running paper shops, icing down knees and chatting up gormless birds in Geisha, our city’s lower division footballers prepare for another season of cloggery and huffing. We asked NFFC Blog and Martin Naylor – our regular contributors to Left Brian and Left ‘Pie-On – to give us a rundown on what a gwan on both sides of t’Trent…

If your team’s performance last season was a pub in town, what would it be?
The Pitcher and Piano – a grand old edifice converted to a base level of entertainment. Former glories are disregarded as folks pile in to binge drink and (until recently) smoke the place into a frenzy of distastefulness. Also, where it really matters, there’s not enough width and too few staff on hand to meet the expectations of a demanding crowd.

Best moment of last season
Pre-Christmas was nice – we were top for most of that.

Worst moment of last season
When Arron Davies scored the decisive goal to end our chance of going to the playoff final after THAT shameful performance at the City Ground.

Player of the year
James Perch – flexible and energetic. He’s going to have a struggle on his hands to retain a midfield role this season, though.

Dead ‘oss of the year
Most would say Gary Holt, but the overriding contributor was the manager. Smoulds let people go in January who he didn’t replace, and it cost us big time. Also his tactics were overly negative and questionable at really key points. This coming season is his chance to make amends – with his own team – and I expect him to grasp the nettle and go for it.

If your manager was a member of your family, who would he be?
A suave single uncle, who – despite there being no evidence or reason for it – fellow family members feel uncomfortable leaving their children with.

What’s the preseason been like for your club?
Positive. The squad are off training in Austria, and have a mixture of challenging and decent preseason games. I’m still not sure of the sensibility of playing the Sheep though.

Any new players?
We’ve picked up Neil Lennon (who will provide much needed leadership), Matt Lockwood (an energetic attacking left back), Chris Cohen (creative central midfielder), and Arron Davies (who can operate on either flank or upfront – and caused havoc in the playoffs against us. If nothing else, we should have put a dent in Yeovil’s season)

Who have you got shot of?
Plenty, and I don’t think we’ll miss many of them. Jack Lester, Rune Pedersen, John Thompson, Ross Gardner, Spencer Weir-Daley are probably the most notable ones. Which just goes to show how much chaff we’d accumulated.

Any kit changes?
We have lost the ‘just like watching Brazil’ yellow monstrosity in favour of a more tasteful white away kit. Our third kit will apparently change from navy blue to black, although that’s unconfirmed.

What’s the stupidest thing in your club shop?
Endless postcards of players long since departed, which you wouldn’t have wanted even when they were still Forest players – let alone now we’re finally shot of them…

At what precise date will you realise the season is shagged beyond repair?
I expect a strong start, a terrible winter and a sense that we’re consigned to the playoffs again at some point towards the end of March. Again.

Give our incoming students a reason why they should come to your ground
You can sit in the intoxicating atmosphere of the City Ground for a mere £10 if you’re an NUS card holder. Admittedly you’ll be in the Upper Clough stand where there is more atmosphere in a library, but it’s cheap.

Say summat nice about your rival club
Does that mean I have to pretend Notts are a rival club? Oh, erm… well, I don’t mind the Pies, and with a superlative former-Forest strikeforce of Spencer Weir-Daley and Jason Lee, surely they’ll take League Two by storm?

Forest and Notts should really merge and play in a nice new megabowl in Clifton, shouldn’t they?
I don’t see the benefit in a merge. Both sides have grounds that are more than sufficient for their likely needs over coming years – but given that it’ll take around 7-8 years to get through planning to construction then perhaps a bit of forward planning is in order. I wouldn’t want a merge, under any circumstances – as I’m sure most Notts fans wouldn’t – and really I wouldn’t want a ground share either.