THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

13 October 2009 ~ Ian McParland apparently told local reporters last week that he might not reach his second anniversary in charge at Notts County – and he was sacked yesterday, four days short of this milestone. There was an instructive episode in the early days of the new regime at County when a Swedish TV crew arrived at Meadow Lane to be greeted by McParland, demanding to know what they were doing there without his permission. They explained that they had arranged to interview Sven-Goran Eriksson and the appointment had been confirmed with the director of football himself. McParland stormed off without further comment.

As County executive chairman Peter Trembling stated yesterday: "It is an inescapable fact that the hopes and ambitions of the football club have been totally transformed in the past few months." The removal of McParland is thus hardly a shock despite County being only four points off the top of League Two. Sunday's home draw against 23rd-placed Torquay provoked booing from the crowd – the perfect justification for County's controversial owners, still under investigation by the Football League, to purge a remnant of a previous era.

Speaking about McParland's successor, Trembling was keen to reassure: "Appointing a new football manager is arguably one of the single most important decisions that a football club can take, regardless of whether they are in the Premier League or in non-League football... Our next appointment is going to be extremely vital to the project we are endevouring to deliver here... As we would all expect, our director of football Sven-Goran Eriksson will be responsible for this appointment."

So we know that the new manager will be linked in some way to the gregarious Swede, something that doesn't narrow the field that much. The biggest name to be linked this morning was Roberto Mancini, who played under Eriksson at Lazio and according to the Mirror is about to be offered a deal that would pay him more in a week than McParland earned in a year. Mancini's agent has denied this rather candidly: "Maybe people have put together Roberto and Notts County because he is good friends with Sven. But you have to remember Roberto has managed Inter Milan." Mancini has made debatable claims about other job offers, however, telling Sky Italia in May that he was "honoured to have had an offer from Sunderland football club. It will be truly wonderful to lead such a prestigious and historic club in England after a year of sitting on the sidelines." This claim was strenuously denied by a Sunderland spokesman.

Another name to be strongly linked is Eriksson's former player at Sampdoria David Platt. Since leaving the England Under-21 coach position after failing to qualify for the 2004 European Championship, Platt has been busy with media work and in designing his own coaching course. Happy to explain the development of this programme at length he is also keen to set minds at ease: "I am in no way looking to make the people who undertake it think and do things like me."

Platt has already spent two seasons as a manager in Nottingham of course, with Forest between 1999 and 2001. He spent over £12 million with little success, and some are of the opinion that the resultant financial insecurity contributed to relegation to League One in 2005. According to the Times, Platt has stated it would be "politically difficult" to return to Nottingham. But if he gets similar results at Meadow Lane, Forest fans may start to warm to him after all.

Comments (7)
Comment by DaveSmithRules 2009-10-13 16:27:20

Good article. Most of us true Notts fans are a little sad to see Charlie go. He had his faults as a manager (primiarily not being able to motivate players or change tactics during the game) but he was black and white through and through. All the best Charlie!!!

We'll just have to see what the future holds for us I guess. Hopefully it's a more sensible appoinment than Roberto Mancini. If he get's the job they have clearly learned nothing from the Sol Campbell saga. Peter Taylor or Steve Coppell please!

Comment by ian.64 2009-10-14 08:11:03

"Our next appointment is going to be extremely vital to the project we are endevouring to deliver here"

That word again. 'Project'. It seems to be the trademark of all wealthy backers that the first order of business is to wipe the slate clean of all existing traces of a supposedly humdrum past to install a bright future from the word 'go'. Any form of success must not be looked on with a steady eye, on the contrary, it must begin as soon as possible, as a large indication that muscles will br flexed. The largest and most obvious example of this is Man City's unsavoury Gerry Cook, who flew out the trap with the blank cheque as soon as Sheikh Mansour placed his feet under the boardroom table, although, admittedly, Mark Hughes still retains his place. And as long as he maintains an upward mobility with his squad, he'll remain there.

The future will obviously be bright for Notts County (with the mooted financial boosts and 'ambitions' behind it, it can't really fail), but the transformation may be problematic for the rest of us as wealth brings a sudden inflation in expectation and attitudes. Man City (still the dominant example) was, before the money came in, mainly likeable for its almost trademark dour outlook, proletarian demeanour and bleak humour based on the fact that disappointment came after disappointment, building an image of warm, jokey acceptance of every pitfall it met.

Look at it now. Snarling, boorish, spiteful and cold, almost hatefully dismissive of its threadbare past and almost as much towards the rest of us, we who are supposedly 'jealous' of its financial power. How could anyone be expected to cheer its venture to break up the Big Four monopoly with such a sneering, abrasive character?

I hope Notts County don't take on similar aspects the more it must surely ascend with the backing behind it. With wealth comes the desperate need to move up to first gear with ridiculous haste. I was listening to local radio just a couple of nights ago and a Birmingham City fan (asked by the host of a phone-in to put questions to the new backers of the club) wanted them to give Alex McLeish £40m pounds to buy 'big name' players and shovel in heaps of cash to move things on. The ink hadn't warmed on the takeover contracts before Birmingham's new moneymen were expected to open their wallets with unrealistic swiftness. Bollocks to building, let's buy and buy now.

I'd probably be asked 'well, suppose it happened to your club, wouldn't you feel the same?'. To be honest, I'd just be thrilled as anybody else, but I would also hope that something wouldn't be lost in the process as Man City have demonstrated - the need to keep bridges unburned and a need not to lose that bit of humility that's almost ingrained in the fans of clubs who haven't been blessed with the open wallets of wealthy owners.

The alternative is a selfish, overbearingly contemptuous attitude that almost jettisons respect and appreciation from others. You may get to the top, but who'll admire you for it?

Comment by twohundredpercent 2009-10-14 09:15:19

"I hope Notts County don't take on similar aspects"

They've already started, Ian.

Comment by Lincoln 2009-10-14 15:07:19

On a vaguely related note, I am tired of being told by various people of the pundit kingdom that Notts County is at least generating interest in League 2. Well yes but in the way that it has become a laughing stock with Sol Campbell's early exit and everyones favourite England coach.
Aside from that, as a Lincoln fan all I hear about is reference to Notts County, not League 2 or its other members. In addition it was most annoying to see Notts County on telly this weekend as they are the current media interest. If there is one team in the League who don't need the 30k for being on TV it is them. Still as we are well aware with most forms of media there is no football outside the Premiership. This is why they presume that young English players who are not better than foreign stars fall off the planet for a few years before magically returning like Crouch and Defoe.

Comment by ian.64 2009-10-14 18:27:06

"Aside from that, as a Lincoln fan all I hear about is reference to Notts County, not League 2 or its other members. In addition it was most annoying to see Notts County on telly this weekend as they are the current media interest."

It's the 'bigness' factor that seems to attract the more obsequious of media elements and, sadly, it can't be avoided. In League One, it's Leeds with their 'big fish, small pond' aspect and in the Championship - well as far as the Guardian is concerned - only Newcastle seems to attract the attention of their scribes (that or Roy Keane's Ipswich), a tendency that brings a fair amount of criticism from fans on the subsequent comment threads that accompany such mysteriously slavish reports. The message is clear from the nation's hacks - unless you've been bought into by absurdly wealthy backers or are a supposedly massive club that's fallen into the lower leagues by virtue of being completely rubbish, all the rest of you piddling little outfits can f*ck off.

Comment by Lincoln 2009-10-15 13:57:20

Ah yes Newcastle. The club with the fans who have suffered the most, so I am told, which will be news to Boston United supporters. Also to them, football is a religion and being a fan of another club I will never understand what football means, unlike them. I am sure that is not how Necastle fans think, but that is what we are told they think. Worst of all the Football League has a podcast which you would think would represent all the clubs. Fair enough Lincoln and numerous other smaller clubs have their mention, but it has got to the point where presenter Mark Clemmit actually apologises for talking about Newcastle "again".

Comment by ian.64 2009-10-16 08:23:19

At least he apologises, a hint, perhaps, that he's obliged by producers to shove the name of Newcastle to the fore on a regular basis for what reasons beyond 'massive'ness we could only speculate. We must grit our teeth at such bullshit.

Just to mention, that Birmingham City fan who I referred to in my previous post was on again last night on the day where Carson Yeung announced an injection of £40m or more into the club's transfer kitty, angrily demanding a public apology from the host who had laughed at his suggestion that such a sum was needed or would be arranged. Ooh, he was in a tantrum, this bloated, pompous little sod. 'I WAS RIGHT AND YOU WERE WRONG! ADMIT IT! I WANT A PUBLIC APOLOGY NOW!' he boomed, as if he'd been through the drama of being wrongly accused for a crime he didn't commit.

I fear that such a sort will make his voice heard the more that vaunted sums come their way. Newcastle fans may have competition in the bluster stakes come future seasons.

Related articles

When Neil Warnock led Notts County to a shock season in the top division
The oldest club in the League have never been in the Premier League and probably never will be, so their last top-flight season is one that Martin...
Photo of the week ~ Low sun at Meadow Lane for Notts County v Mansfield
Notts County 0 Mansfield Town 0, 14/01/2017, Meadow Lane, League Two Yoann Arquin of Mansfield walks back after losing the ball. This photo was...
Notts County’s new owner brings hope of League survival against the odds
Businessman Alan Hardy has made positive changes at Meadow Lane but it may not be enough to save the oldest League club in the world’s status...