New manager faces Wolves today
16 November ~ I was out of the country for the weekend when the rumours started circulating that former QPR player Shaun Derry and ex-Carlisle boss Greg Abbott were about to take over as the new management team at Notts County. A text message from a friend back in Nottingham simply read: "It seems so crazy that it might just work." A week later, in their first game in charge, we were dumped out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy 5-1 by Oldham at Boundary Park. Welcome to football management, Shaun.
So what better time is there to meet second in the table and promotions favourites Wolves than this weekend? A team of players that are simply not good enough and have little or no confidence against opponents whose fans in the County Road stand will no doubt outnumber and outsing us.
I would love to take the optimist's view that Notts will get something from the game and I dearly hope that we do, but the realist in me says otherwise. The team that Derry and Abbott have inherited are not just lacking confidence; they are also bereft of skill, creativity and – the curse word for the fans – commitment.
The loss at Oldham and a 3-0 drubbing by Coventry on November 2 have been widely heralded as among the worst two performances seen by fans for many years. And it is not just the frothy-mouthed online commenters that are saying this, it's die-hard fans who helped save the club from extinction a decade ago.
The rookie boss and his experienced sidekick have been left up a creek. Unsurprisingly the anger vented at the club has mainly been against the board, with chairman and owner Ray Trew and, especially, his chief executive Jim Rodwell taking most of the flak.
Rodwell is universally disliked by a large selection of the fans who see him as arrogant and clueless and are not afraid to let him know through the media team's constant Facebook updates. The morning after the Oldham defeat they posted a rousing message along the lines of "Who's coming to the Wolves game on Saturday and attending a Q&A with the new manager?"
Among the venomous responses were "A 'fuck off Rodwell' session and I may think about it". Few people blame the last manager, Chris Kiwomya. In fact the opposite has happened and he's been thanked by many for doing the best he could with very limited resources.
One fan's plaintive message board post on Wednesday summed up this weekend's fixture: "If the biggest team in this division with probably the biggest crowd of the season doesn't inspire the players nothing will. I don't expect a win but at least give it your all NCFC... please." Martin Naylor