13 December 2009 ~ Six months ago, when the highly unlikely and bizarre takeover of Notts County by a mysterious Middle Eastern consortium happened, I was persuaded into renewing my season ticket by a mate. "We could be bust by Christmas or in the Championship in five years," he said. The next day, an hour after I dutifully parted company with £340 I updated my Facebook status. It read: "Dave Evans has jumped on the Sven Express: Destination Oblivion."
Like Odie, the enthusiastic hound and alter ego to the perma-sarcastic cat Garfield, a mate immediately commented, "Destination Championship mate, we're on the up!" After this week's goings-on at Meadow Lane, where the club has been put up for sale and bought for "a nominal fee" in a management buy-out by the chairman Peter Trembling, I'm feeling confident my prediction is more realistic.
Yesterday, as I sat and watched our first home League defeat of the season, a 2-1 loss to Accrington, the same mate who talked me into renewing my season ticket said: "Apt name is Trembling as that's what most of the fans must be doing now."
Certainly the mood and hubbub in the club shop was more muted before kick-off compared to the 5-0 drubbing of Bradford in the August sunshine on that heady first day of the season. One fan said to me yesterday: "Trembling's a former commercial manager at Everton who hasn't got a pot to piss in, so how is he going persuade people to put in any money?" In announcing the takeover, Trembling said on the official website: "I must stress that a great deal more still needs to be done if we are to fulfil our ultimate objective of Premier League football." No shit, Sherlock.
Even the most ardent Magpies fan, and Trembling of course, realises that the key to attracting any investment into a club that for the past three seasons has finished in the bottom half of the worst league in England, is keeping Sven-Göran Eriksson as director of football. The Swede – who rather limply waves his arm at the Kop when they sing his name – told the local BBC features programme last week he is committed to Notts.
But he won't have been oblivious to the national media headlines late last week of which half said he was off and the other half said he was putting his hand in his pocket. I'm sure 50 per cent of them are right. Dave Evans