Cod Almighty | Article
by Baz Rockliff
6 August 2007
After leaving safety until the final day of 2005–06, Notts County's 13th-place finish under new boss Steve Thompson was a definite improvement. However, the season had promised more early on, as the 'Pies dumped Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Southampton out of the League Cup and were in and around the play-off places.
The wheels came off after the 3-1 defeat of Lincoln on the first Saturday of February. Notts picked up only three points out of the next 21 and this effectively ruled them out of the promotion picture. They did manage a double over Town though. A 2-0 win at BP towards the end of Graham Rodger's reign – with goals from ex-Mariners Jason Lee and Junior Mendes – was followed by another 2-0 at Meadow Lane. An own goal from Tom Newey was added to by a late Jay Smith tap-in.
In fact Lee was particularly impressive last season. His 16 goals were exceeded only by his remarkable tally of 18 (eighteen!) yellow cards.
Ins and outs
Fans' favourite David Pipe has left for Bristol Rovers for a reported £50,000 but, this aside, the squad's looking much stronger than 12 months ago. Ex-Imp Richard Butcher has arrived from Peterborough along with fellow midfielder Neil Mackenzie from Scunthorpe United. The attack has been bolstered with Hector Sam from Walsall and Spencer Weir-Daley from city rivals Nottingham Forest. Weir-Daley hit five goals in 11 appearances (only four of those being starts) in a loan spell at Lincoln last season.
Another player with Sincil Bank connections, Paul Mayo, has arrived and along with Lee Canoville and Adam Tann will help strengthen the defence. There has been a defensive blow though: a serious pre-season injury to club captain Mike Edwards. And if anyone wants Junior Mendes, he's available for nothing with a year remaining on his contract. He fell out with Thompson towards the end of last season and was loaned out to Lincoln.
Notts fans seem to be in an optimistic mood for the new season. And why shouldn't they be? It's a league where anyone can beat anyone else and, on paper at least, they've a decent squad. These views are backed up by Steve Thompson, who has stated that the top seven is an objective.
Notts traditionally (like us) don't stick around in the same division for very long and I can see them having a decent campaign. They haven't come in the top half of any league since 2001 so they're due that at least, but I reckon more than just top half: fifth.