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Notts County: On This Day Book Review

25 November 15 words: Thomas Hewitt
"You'd think Evershed would have a decent crack at winning at least one round of Mastermind, provided his general knowledge wasn't too shabby"
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Tim Evershed [photo: Rob Rathbone]

For all you Notts County diehards who thought they knew everything there is to know about the club, think again. With his Notts County: On This Day, first time author Tim Evershed collates the ultimate encyclopaedia of all things Magpies-related, resulting in what is – for the diehard fan, at least – an absorbing journal of stories and statistics.
 
For those less disposed to getting their football fix at Meadow Lane, it’s still a mighty work of reference and one that, in working its way through the calendar, as is the way with these things, revisits all the most memorable moments (for better or for worse) from the club’s past, and plenty of the least memorable. It’s a journey encompassing all the quirky stories and quirkier characters from the County folklore, from its inception in 1862 right up to 2015. A Countyfest. Countytastic. Wall-to-wall Caanteh.
 
It’s all here, every glorious and tear-jerking episode, from becoming the world’s first professional club and founder members of the Football League through to the recent battles for the club’s survival; from the club’s spectacular Division Three triumph back in 1998 to the indescribable heartache of losing the Anglo-Italian Cup final to Brescia; the record-breaking number of promotions and relegations; the cup runs, including an impressive FA Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester City in the Neil Warnock era.
 
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The Pie Bible

From front cover through to back, Notts County: On This Day enables readers to re-live the glories engineered by a cast of legends, including Jimmy Sirrel, Tommy Lawton, Don Masson, Les Bradd, Tommy Johnson, Paul Hart, Sam Allardyce and many more. Pure nostalgiophilia – although, being the oldest club and all that, there’s more history to pick from than any others. (Don’t worry, MK Dons: another 143 years and you’ll have a book with similar scope.) Not only that, with County being formed while Queen Victoria was on the throne and Abraham Lincoln President of the USA, there is a lot of general historical backdrop that Evershed weaves into the tale of grand old football club from NG2.
 
As you would expect with a chronologically-formatted text, the Meadow Lane Memory Lane trip kicks off on New Year’s Day. It’s 1892, and Evershed informs us of forward John Sharpe’s feat of taking five wickets in an Ashes Test in Melbourne. On 3 January of the same year, star forward Harry Daft was sacked by the club when they decided that he was faking a toe injury over the Christmas festive period. And so it goes on.
 
For anybody who might be bobbing down to a Notts-themed pub quiz in the near future, I can tell you (or rather, the book does tell you) that a Tony Hateley hat-trick confirmed County’s promotion from the old Division Four on 12 April 1971 (My pleasure. Don’t mention it. Pint of IPA, thanks…), while on 19 April 1975 there was crowd trouble and 45 arrests made at Meadow Lane as Manchester United fans ran amok after winning the Division Two title, seven years after being crowned Europe’s best club.
 
There are any number of ways you can use this book. For instance, you can regale your friends on their birthdays or wedding anniversaries with a fun piece of Magpies trivia, thus ensuring their eternal gratitude. So, if they were born on August 29, you can tell them that, in 1986, it was revealed that Notts’ debts were almost £1.8 million, so they shouldn’t worry about that tenner they owe you. (In fact, because it’s their birthday, they can write it off. See, the book is already helping smooth out awkward situations.) 
 
Or, you can bang out occasional Facebook statuses – akin to those Timehop ones only exclusively about Notts – informing your friends on, say, January 5 that On This Day in 2010 there was a bit of a fiscal to-do with Munto Finance, a name whose similarity to “munter” never augured well.
 
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This bloke may feature

Or perhaps you can learn what was going off with the Black-and-Whites on famous dates in history: July 4, September 11, November 5, April 23, February 14, December 25, July 14, June 28 – all dates on which something historical happened, both in the world and down at Meadow Lane. Find out what.
 
If you are the sort who’s likely to be reading this book through black-and-white tinted spectacles, then of course, it will be the Best Christmas Present You Are Ever Going To Get, the sort of book you take to the loo for a quick flick through and become so absorbed in that you still find yourself sat there several hours later, by which time your family have either just noticed your absence or have arranged for the bathroom to be sealed off by the people who dealt with Fukushima or Chernobyl – two major events in world history that happened on a specific date, dates when other (perhaps smaller) things happened at Notts County, which this book will tell you about. Ya get meh?
 
Self-evidently, the book is meticulously researched – so much so that you’d think Evershed would have a decent crack at winning at least one round of Mastermind, provided his general knowledge wasn’t too shabby – and be you a veteran multi-decade season ticker holder keen to revisit some of the club’s high points (or, I suppose, low points, if your glass is actually half-empty) or a callow youth eager to immerse yourself in the club’s lore, then there is something in this 192-page tome for you.
 
Notts County: On This Day is published by Pitch Publishing.
 
COMPETITION: We have two copies of Notts County: On This Day to give away. Simply send an answer to the following question to [email protected], with the subject line ‘NCOTD competition’ (closes on Monday 7 December): What is the lowest attendance for any competitive (Notts County) match at Meadow Lane?

Notts County website
 
 

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