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Waterfront Festival

Left Pie-On: Notts County Season 2010-11 preview

3 August 10 words: Jacob Daniel

"The appearance of a red Nike tick would be an aberration had we not concluded amongst ourselves that it’s actually crimson"

If your team’s performance last season was a pub in town, which one would it be?
Vienna. Lavish promises and unsustainable spending at the start of the season put the whole future of the venture in serious jeopardy, but we managed to find new owners just before the bailiffs arrived and thankfully ended the season still open for business (and as division champs).

Who was your star player last season?
Like all division-winning seasons, it was more of a team effort than down to one player in particular. Lee Hughes springs to mind - because it's not too often you have a thirty-goal striker in your side - but he wouldn't have got anywhere near as many without the delivery of Ben Davies. Then there's Kasper Schmeichel, probably one of the best players to turn out for Notts, but we don't mention him, as certain people think his signing breached the Geneva Convention or something.

And who was the donkey?
Ade Akinbiyi, a man who effectively forced the coining of a phrase to describe an immobile, goal-shy but hard-working striker. Leicester were once conned into paying £6m for his services; zero goals in three quarters of a season for Notts made us pretty relieved we picked him up on a free transfer.

Who’s new at your club?
Another year, another new man in the Meadow Lane managerial swivel chair: former Magpies defender, Craig Short. He's been rescued from his exile in Hungary managing Ferencvaros, where his first game was abandoned due to a riot. Lincoln fans have been having a tantrum after their keeper (and player of the year) Rob Burch defected to Meadow Lane. Lanky centre forward Ben Burgess has signed from Blackpool, midfielder John Spicer is in from Doncaster and former Chelsea starlet Jon Harley has joined from Watford.

And who’s been nobbed off?
Loads of people who played about twenty minutes between them last season, like Sean Canham and Ben Fairclough. They'll probably be popping up at a non-league club near you soon, somewhere like Hucknall, Retford or maybe Mansfield. Otherwise, cult hero but goal-shy workhorse Delroy Facey was given the boot, as was the elder statesman of midfield Jamie Clapham.

Any pre-season goings-on worth noting?
We've reappeared from the cold, dark world of Transfer Embargoland after paying a load of money back to the taxman and getting promoted to a division where there's no wage cap. They've also called in the decorators to spruce up Wheeler's Bar at the ground, so it no longer looks like a social club from a dodgy seventies sitcom.

If you threw a party and your team’s manager unexpectedly turned up, how would he behave?
Craig Short would man the door and take on the role of unofficial bouncer. He may also introduce us all to some traditional Hungarian tunes. Probably against everyone’s will.

What do you hate most about the other club across the Trent?
They're just so cruel to their own fans. It must be horrible to be a massive club and still continually bottle it at home against the likes of Blackpool and Yeovil Town. That and they spent a million quid on David McGoldrick when we were in a recession, and still preach to us Notts fans about financial prudency. Not just inconsiderate, but hypocritical too.

What’s your kit like this season?
Black and, indeed, white. There's only so much you can do with monochrome stripes, so it looks pretty much like every other recent Notts kit - but the new badge doesn't look as bad as first feared. Otherwise, the appearance of a red Nike tick would be an aberration had we not concluded amongst ourselves that it’s actually crimson.

Where will you be in five years’ time?
Probably on our way back down having made our way up to the Championship - we operate in cycles and nomadically bounce around the divisions.

Call your shot – what’s your club gonna do this season?
Hard to tell. We’re in a new division. Everyone'd be happy with consolidation and continuing to make progress - although word from inside the club indicates that they're aiming for the top six and a shot at the Championship. I think with the signings we've made so far and the players we already have knocking about, mid-table looks about right - with an outside shot of doing a bit better or a bit worse.

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