Notts County Football Club
Notts County Football Club have a long and illustrious footballing history and were officially formed in 1862. As such, their formation pre-dated the creation of The Football Association and they were initially considered to be a “gentlemen-only” club.
Various accolades have been thrust upon Notts County over the years, including their reputation for having been responsible for inventing the offside trap. Perhaps their greatest claim to fame, though, is their status as the world’s oldest professional association football club.
During the club’s early days, the players competed at Park Hollow, which was in the grounds of the old Nottingham Castle. However, in late 1864, Notts County decided to start playing games against external opposition.
As such, a bigger venue was needed, and they finally settled at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, in 1883. Five years later, the club became one of the founder members of the official Football League. Notts County’s first season in this new league was something of a disappointment, as they finished in eleventh position. However, the 1890/1891 season saw an impressive third place finish. The team would have to wait ten more years before this feat was repeated.
1891 did not just bring league success to the club. In March of that year, Notts County reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history. Tough opposition awaited them at The Oval, and Blackburn Rovers eventually won the match by 3 goals to 1.
Notts County fans were bitterly disappointed at this defeat, especially as their team had thrashed Blackburn 7-1 in the league, just a week prior to their cup exit.
Just 3 years later, Notts County had the opportunity to make up for their disappointing 1891 defeat. A memorable cup run led the team to the final, against Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park.
Jimmy Logan, an influential part of the Notts County team, scored the first ever FA Cup hat-trick to help his team towards a 4-1 victory. They had become the first team outside the top flight of football to win the FA Cup. League success followed this Cup victory, as the team finished in a solid third place.
Relegation and the World War Years
During the following couple of decades, Notts County cemented their place in the Second Division. However, the First World War proved to be disruptive, and the team were eventually relegated in 1926, much to the disappointment of their devoted fans.
Notts County failed to find any consistent form in the Third Division and their progress was not helped by the start of World War Two. Furthermore, their home ground was heavily affected by bombing.
The end of the war signalled the start of a golden era in Notts County’s history. They signed Tommy Lawton from Chelsea, a move which proved very popular with the fans. It did not take long for the team to improve, and they managed to win the Third Division championship in 1950.
This title was made all the more special for the fans, since it denied Nottingham Forest the championship. However, this initial delight faded during the following decade, as Forest began to emerge as the real footballing force in the local area.
The team won some tough games during their time in the Second Division and started to attract large crowds. However, following the tragic death of team captain, Leon Leuty, who had been an influential player during the early 1950s, the team fell into decline and were relegated to Division Three, and then to Division Four.
The 1960s and Beyond
The 1960s brought desperate times to the club and they were on the brink of needing to re-apply for election to the Football League. The team narrowly avoided financial ruin and new hope was signalled by the appointment of Jimmy Sirrel as manager in 1969.
In 1971, after only a short stint at the club, Sirrel led the side to the Fourth Division title. Impressively, Sirrel managed to improve upon this feat two years later, by securing promotion to Division Two. The influential manager left the club in 1975 but came back just two years later.
May 1981 was a truly historic month for Notts County Football Club, as they won promotion to the top division of English football. Just ten years prior to this, the team had been struggling in the Fourth Division.
The club were determined not to let this new opportunity slip away and they beat then-champions, Aston Villa, on the opening day of the season. Notts County enjoyed three seasons in the top flight but were eventually relegated. This initial relegation dented the team’s confidence and they fell down to the Third Division the following year.
Neil Warnock arrived in 1988, with the aim of leading Notts County back to the Second Division. This aim was achieved after only his first full season in charge. The 1990/1991 season saw a successful FA Cup run, including a famous victory over Manchester City. Notts County were eventually defeated in the quarter-finals, by Tottenham Hotspur.
The season also brought another promotion, at the expense of Bright and Hove Albion. Notts County failed to make an impression in the top flight and were relegated after just one season. Warnock was forced out of the club in early 1993.
The Club’s Decline
Mick Walker was appointed as Warnock’s successor and was an instant hit among the fans. He almost led his side to the Premiership during his first full season in charge. That season also famously saw Notts County beat rivals Nottingham Forest 2-1.
Despite this initial success, Walker was sacked in 1994 and the club quickly fell into decline. In 1995, they were relegated and Sam Allardyce took over. Unfortunately, Allardyce could not save the club from further relegation and Notts County fell to the bottom division of the league.
In 1998, an impressive season saw the team win promotion to Division Two but Allardyce quit the club in 1999. The new millennium saw problems off the pitch for the club, as they faced the threat of dissolution.
They narrowly avoided this fate but were relegated to the bottom division once again in 2004. Over the following few years, Notts County flirted with both promotion and relegation several times and they currently sit in eighteenth place in League Two.
Player and Club records
- Tom Keetley has scored the most goals in one season for the club, amassing a total of 39 during the 1930/1931 season
- Albert Iremonger has made the most appearances for the club in the league, with a total of 564 between 1904 and 1926
- Les Bradd is the club’s all-time top scorer in the league, with 124 goals scored between 1967 and 1978
- The club’s record league victory came against Newport County in 1949 and finished 11-1
- The club’s record cup victory came against Rotherham Town in 1985 and finished 15-0
Contact and ticket information
Notts County Football Club
- Their phone number is: 0115 9529000
- Their ticket office can be reached on: 0115 9557204
- You can e-mail them at: email@example.com
- Tickets can be purchased online here
- By road from Junction 24 of the M1: follow signs for Nottingham on the A453. Go through Clifton and follow the signs for West Bridgford (B679). After two miles, turn left onto the A60. Continue over Trent Bridge and take the first right at the lights
- From Junction 26 of the M1: follow the A610 to Nottingham and take the 3rd exit off the roundabout. At the next roundabout (with the Gateway Hotel on your left), go straight on. Go straight on through 5 more traffic lights and turn right onto the main ring-road at the main junction. Follow the signs for football traffic and continue past the Forest Ground. Go over Lady Bay Bridge and turn left onto Meadow Lane.
- The ground is a ten minute walk from Nottingham railway station. Exit the station, turn left and then left again. Follow the road down to London Road and then turn right. The ground is about ¼ of a mile down the dual carriageway.