Brief History Of Nottingham


Nottingham began in the 6th century as a small Saxon settlement called Snotta inga ham. The Saxon word ham meant village. The word inga meant ‘belonging to’ and Snotta was a man. So its name meant the village owned by Snotta. Gradually its name changed to Snottingham then just Nottingham.

It was inevitable that sooner of later Nottingham would grow into a town as it is the first point where the Trent can be forded but the river is also navigable this far inland.

In the late 9th century the Danes conquered North East and Eastern England. They turned Nottingham into a fortified settlement or burgh. Nottingham had a ditch around it and an earth rampart with a wooden palisade on top.

In 920 the English king recaptured Nottingham and he built a bridge across the Trent. By the 10th century Nottingham was a busy little town though with a population of only several hundred. The Western limit of the Nottingham stood roughly where Bridlesmith Gate is today. From the 10th century Nottingham had a mint.


In 1067 William the Conqueror built a wooden castle to guard Nottingham. (It was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century). Nottingham grew rapidly after the Norman Conquest. A new area was created between the old town and the castle. It was called the French borough because most of those who lived there were Norman French. The old town was called the English borough. The two areas had separate administrations until about 1300. The ditch and rampart around Nottingham were extended to surround the new area. Later, in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, they were replaced by stone walls.

Nottingham may have had a population of around 1,500 at the time of the Norman Conquest. By the 14th century it may have grown to 3,000. By the standards of the time Nottingham was a fair sized town. However it was not large or important nationally.

In 1155 the king gave Nottingham a charter. In the Middle Ages a charter was a document granting the townspeople certain rights. Nottingham gained its first mayor in 1284 and it gained its first sheriff in 1449.

Medieval Nottingham had a weekly market. It also had an annual fair. From 1284 it had two. In those days a fair was like a market but was it was held only once a year for a period of a few days. Buyers and sellers would come from all over Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire to attend one.

In Medieval Nottingham the main industry was wool making. The raw wool was woven. It was then fulled. This means it was pounded in a mixture of water and clay to clean and thicken it. Wooden hammers worked by watermills pounded the wool. There were also some tilers and potters in Nottingham as well as goldsmiths.

There were also the same craftsmen you would find in any Medieval town. These included brewers, bakers, carpenters, shoemakers and blacksmiths. There were obviously, bridlesmiths who gave a street its name and wheelwrights who did the same. Fletchergate is named after fletchers (arrow makers) who once worked there.

In the 13th century friars arrived in Nottingham. The friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world they went out to preach. There were Franciscans known as grey friars because of their grey habits and Carmelite friars known as white friars. In the Middle Ages the church ran the only hospitals. In Nottingham there was a hospital dedicated to St Thomas. In it monks cared for the sick and the poor as best they could. There were also 2 leper hostels outside the gates of Nottingham, dedicated to St Leonard and St Mary.

In the 12th and 13th centuries there was also a Jewish community in Nottingham. However all Jews were forced to leave England in 1290.

Robin Hood is supposed to have lived in Sherwood Forest near Nottingham. The story of Robin Hood is first recorded in the 14th century and it is likely it is based on real person or possibly several real people. However the town of Nottingham did not get its own sheriff until 1449.

Life in the Middle Ages


In 1513 a grammar school was founded in Nottingham. However in the 1530s Henry VIII closed the leper hostels and the friaries. Robert Smythson (1535-1614) built Wollaton Hall in 1588. However in Nottingham traditional industries such as the manufacture of wool declined. Tanning declined in the late 17th century. Yet new industries arose to replace them. These included making silk or wool hosiery. By the late 17th century this industry was booming in Nottingham. So was a malting industry (malt, made from barley, is used in brewing).

A new industry in Nottingham in this period was glass making. Glass windows were rare in the Middle Ages but they became common in the 17th century. So did brick houses. In the 1600s many of the houses in Nottingham were rebuilt in brick with tiled roofs. By the early 18th century it was an elegant town with many fine buildings.

Nottingham grew steadily during this era despite outbreaks of plague, which occurred throughout the 16th and early 17th century. The last outbreak was in 1667. By 1600 Nottingham probably had a population between 3,500 and 4,000. It probably rose to about 5,000 by the late 17th century. In 1642 the civil war began when Charles I raised his standard on a hill north of Nottingham and called on men to join his cause. Nevertheless in November Parliamentarian troops occupied Nottingham. They held it for the rest of the war despite attacks by the royalist army in June 1643 and January 1644.

In 1651, after the war, parliament ordered that Nottingham castle should be destroyed (to prevent it ever falling into royalist hands). In 1674 The Duke of Newcastle bought the site. A mansion was built there between 1674 and 1679.

At the end of the 17th century the travel writer Celia Fiennes said: ‘The town of Nottingham is the neatest town I have seen. It is built of stone and has delicate large and long streets much like London and the houses are lofty and well built. The Market Place is very broad – out of which run 2 very large streets’.



In the early 18th century Daniel Defoe described Nottingham as one of the most pleasant and beautiful towns in England. From the late 17th century salt glaze stoneware was made in Nottingham. In the 18th century the hosiery industry boomed. There was also a lace industry although it was quite small.

Georgian Nottingham grew rapidly. By the middle of the century the population of Nottingham had passed 10,000. By 1801, the year of the first census it exceeded 28,000. By the standards of the time Nottingham was a large and important town.

For the well-to-do it was elegant and genteel (although, as always, there were many poor people). In the 18th century there was a piped water supply although it was expensive and not many people could afford it. From the 1760s oil lamps lit the streets. The first theater in Nottingham was built in 1760 and a general hospital was built in 1782.


Nottingham continued to grow rapidly, especially after 1845 when a great deal of land around it was released for building. Nottingham gained gas street lighting in 1819. However like all towns in the early 19th century Nottingham was a dirty, unsanitary place. There was a cholera epidemic in 1833, which killed 330 people.

However life in 19th century Nottingham gradually improved. In the mid-19th century the piped water supply was taken over by the corporation and was greatly expanded. After 1835 Nottingham had its first proper police force and new prison was built in Nottingham in 1846. Meanwhile the railway first reached Nottingham in 1839.

The first public library in Nottingham opened in 1868 and University College was formed in 1881.

In the late 19th century Nottingham corporation created parks and recreation grounds. Furthermore the Goose Fair evolved from an event where people bought and sold goods to a pleasure fair. Nottingham County Football Club was founded in 1862. Nottingham Forest was founded in 1865.

Meanwhile in 1831 the House of Lords rejected the Great Reform Bill which was intended to increase the number of people who could vote for MPs. The people of Nottingham were so angry they rioted. The Duke of Newcastle was opposed to reform so they burned his residence, the castle. It remained in ruins for 44 years until the town council took it over and rebuilt it as a museum and art gallery.

In the 19th century the hosiery industry continued. Nottingham was also famous for lace. A lace-making machine was introduced in 1809. However some new industries began in Nottingham. John Player founded Players cigarettes in 1877. A man named Frank Bowden began making bicycles in Raleigh Street in 1887. He named his company after the street. By 1910 Raleigh were making 50,000 bicycles each year. Nottingham was made a city in 1897.


Electric trams began running in Nottingham in 1901. The last ones ran in 1936. Meanwhile between 1922 and 1932 a dual carriageway was built around the city.

From 1928 Nottingham had a Lord Mayor and a new Council House opened in 1929.

In the 1920s and 1930s Nottingham council began building council houses. Many were built on new estates north of the city. In the 1950s and 1960s many more council estates were built in the north of the city including estates at Bilborough. Another estate was built in the south at Clifton.

Meanwhile Nottingham University was founded in 1948.

In the late 20th century Nottingham continued to develop rapidly. In 1952 a statue of Robin Hood by James Woodford was erected by the castle. A new Clifton Bridge was built in 1958. The Playhouse Theatre opened in 1963. Queens Medical Centre was built in 1970. Victoria bus station was built in 1972. Broad Marsh Shopping Centre was built in 1972. Victoria Shopping Centre was built in 1975. The National Water Sports Centre opened in 1973. Stonebridge City Farm opened in 1979.

In the late 20th century the main industries in Nottingham were textiles, tobacco, bicycles, pharmaceuticals and printing. In 1998 Nottingham was made a unitary authority.


In 2004 a network of trams opened in Nottingham. Today the population of Nottingham is 305,000.

The History Of Nottingham Forest

IN THE BEGINNING (1865)In 1865, a group of Nottingham-based shinney – a sport similar to hockey – players met at the Clinton Arms on Shakespeare Street. It was here that JS Scrimshaw’s proposition to begin playing football instead was passed, and Nottingham Forest Football Club was born.
The founder members were, A Barks, W Brown, W P Brown, C F Daft, T Gamble, R P Hawkesley, T G Howitt, W I Hussey, W R Lymberry, J Milford, J H Rastall, W H Revis, J G Richardson, J S Scrimshaw, J TomlinsonThe first official football match took place on 22 March 1866 against Notts County, who were formed in 1862.THE EARLY YEARS (1865 – 1898)

At the same meeting, it was agreed the team would purchase a dozen tasselled caps in the colour of ‘Garibaldi Red’ – named after the leader of the Italian ‘Redshirts’ freedom fighters, who were popular in England at the time. The club’s official colours were established.

The Football League was formed in 1888 but Forestís application was rejected. Instead, they played in the Football Alliance, winning the competition in 1892 to eventually secure a place in the League.

They had experienced a colourful existence playing in the Alliance, perhaps never more so than in the 1878-79 season.  The demise of Notts Castle Club brought an influx of additional talent to Forest. With new impetus, they entered the FA Challenge Cup for the first time. Notts County, who had made their first challenge the previous year, were The Reds’ first round opponents. Forest came out 3 – 1 winners at Beeston Cricket Ground, before going on to reach the semi-final, which they lost 2-1 to Old Etonians.

The 1897-98 season was perhaps the most significant in Forest’s infancy. Having lost in four previous semi-finals, victories over Grimsby Town, Gainsborough Trinity, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton set up an FA Cup final date with Derby County at Crystal Palace. The Reds had lost 5-0 to their rivals just five days before and went into the game as underdogs. However, with a well-rested side – six of the cup final line-up had not played in the league game – they ran out 3-1 winners in front of 62,000 fans.

Forest were quite the pioneers, too. In 1874, they were the first English side to wear shin-guards, albeit outside of their socks, and in 1878 their game against Sheffield Norfolk was credited as the first occasion in England where the referee had used a whistle. It was in the same decade that Sam Widdowson came up with the ‘classical’ formation which consisted of a goalkeeper, two full-backs, a three-man halfback line and five forwards. The tactic stood the test of time and was widely-used until the 1960s.

Forest played out their earliest years at a number of different grounds. They started out at the Forest Racecourse before relocating in 1879 to the Castle Ground and the Meadows.  Between 1873-1885, they had spells at Trent Bridge, the Parkside Ground and the Gregory Ground, before occupying the Town Ground with some continuity between 1890-1895.

In 1898, Forest moved to The City Ground after a concerted fundraising effort secured the £3,000 required. With an FA Cup in the cabinet and ambition in abundance, the future promised much for The Reds.

A BARREN MIDLIFE (1899 – 1944)

The turn of the century was kind to Forest, who finished fourth in the First Division in 1900/01. The years that followed, however, were not so successful. As World War One approached, they were struggling in the Second Division and in dire financial straits.

It was the outbreak of the war, combined with the generosity of their committee members that, in effect, saved the club. For its duration, the Football league was suspended and replaced by a regional league structure. The League resumed in 1919, by which time Forest had established their Colts team, along with a local player recruitment policy.

The Second World War seemed to take the footballing world by surprise. Forest were on their way to Swansea for their fourth game of the 1939-40 season when the announcement was made. Regional leagues were formed once again.

A RETURN TO THE SUN (1945-1958)

Post-war attendances were indicative of the optimism and togetherness people were feeling at the time, with almost 33,000 turning up for the first home game of the 1946-47 season against Newcastle. Two years later, however, Forest were relegated to the Third Division, where they would spend two seasons before winning promotion and re-establishing themselves in the second tier. At the end of the 1956-57 season, The Reds made a welcome return to Division One after an eighteen-year absence.


Now back in the First Division, Forest ës focus switched to picking up their first silverware of the 20th century, a feat which they achieved within two seasons.  The team could be forgiven for what was an erratic 1958/59 league campaign after lifting the FA Cup for the second time in their history. Similar to the events of 1898, The Reds had lost heavily to their opponents, in this case Luton Town, only weeks earlier, but had no problem in the final, winning 2-1 despite playing most of the game with ten men.

Although Forest will have hoped to have built immediately on this success, the wait for 1966-67 was worth it. It drew the largest crowds the club had ever seen as fans, buoyed by Englandís World Cup win, clamoured to see a side challenging for a league and cup double. The team that manager Johnny Carey had assembled went largely unchanged until, sadly, injuries began to take their toll just as they had the FA Cup and First Division title in their sights. The Reds had to settle for a semi-final exit and League runners-up medal but, even so, it was still the clubís greatest season to date and expectations had been well and truly raised.

That season could easily have been built upon – crowds of 40,000 were virtually guaranteed at the time – but it was not be. Poor football management, its unique committee structure and proud amateurism almost inevitably led to the clubís inability to sustain the success of that year.

After Matt Gillies left in October 1972, there were two short managerial reigns by Dave Mackay and Allan Brown. For a time, they were to languish in the Second Division. It seemed to be†a typical†tale of post-war Nottingham Forest, but just around the corner lurked a force that was to change everything forever.


The Clough era began on 6 January 1975. He appointed Jimmy Gordon, who had been with him at Derby and Leeds, as first team coach. In February he bought John O’Hare and John McGovern from Leeds, before bringing John Robertson and Martin O’Neill back into the fold after they had requested transfers under Allan Brown. Frank Clark arrived at the end of the season on a free transfer from Newcastle. At the end of his first full season in charge, Clough had led Forest to 8th place in Division Two.

Perhaps the biggest catalyst for success came in July 1976 with the arrival of assistant manager Peter Taylor. It was from here that things began to take shape as Forest won promotion back into Division One. They also picked up their first trophy since 1959 in the shape of the Anglo-Scottish Cup – not the most prestigious of awards but, as Clough contended, an appetiser for future success.

One year later, the duo had their original four- year contracts extended- in which time they won the First Division by seven points and had moulded a squad that was to embark on a Domestic and European adventure of epic proportions.

Forest began the 1978-79 season with four major trophies in their sights: the Championship, European Cup, FA Cup and League Cup.

The much-heralded partnership of Clough and Taylor came to an end in 1980. The 1981-82 season was to witness perhaps a new era, one to further legitimise Brian Clough’s legendary place in the history of Nottingham Forest Football Club.

By 1993, it seemed inevitable that the era in the sun was coming to an end. Discontent had been mounting during the season, and on 1 March 1993 the club was forced to hold its first extraordinary meeting for 23 years. A group of shareholders had raised questions about the running of the club by Clough. Clough had in fact easily survived this foray, but nevertheless with relegation seeming inevitable, he announced his impending retirement on 26 April.

The end was pure tragedy. With a packed home ground, weeping supporters and near hysteria it became apparent that a great and joyous adventure was over: the unpredictable Pied Piper of a manager had gone. The final game of that season was away at Ipswich. Clough took dignified bows. Forest lost 2-1, and ironically his son, Nigel, scored the final goal of Clough’s era.

LIFE AFTER BRIAN (1993-1998)

There were just two real options to replace Brian Clough. Favourite was Martin O’Neill, then with Wycombe. The other was Frank Clark, who had managed Leyton Orient from 1982-1991. In the event, Frank Clark became the New Forest manager.

Frank Clark had soon engineered a big turn-around in players. The exodus included Nigel Clough, Gary Charles, and Roy Keane. Newcomers included Stan Collymore, Colin Cooper, Des Lyttle, David Phillips, Gary Bull, Lars Bohinen, and Gary Bull. By the end of the season, after £10 million plus worth of transfer dealings, the Reds were back in the Premier at the first time of asking.

For the next season, the squad was strengthened with the purchase of Brian Roy from Foggia. But the new season witnessed the premature departure of Stan Collymore who insisted on moving to Liverpool for Forest’s highest ever transfer sale of £8,500,000. Following this, Kevin Campbell came in from Arsenal and Chris Bart-Williams from Sheffield Wednesday, with Andrea Silenzi from Torino.

The 1995-96 season saw Forest involved in their UEFA cup campaign up to the quarter final playing against Malmo, Auxerre and Bayern Munich. By the summer of 1996, it had become apparent that the club was facing a major crisis. The club was sliding into uncontrollable debt – the total deficit reached £11.3 million. The club soon found itself in the hands of its auditors, Price Waterhouse. This move was to ultimately lead to the club being taken over by a consortium later to be known as the Bridgford Group, following a meeting on 24 February 1997 with the shareholders voting by 189 votes in favour with 7 against.

On the field, the club was having perhaps its least memorable season ever. After the initial 3-0 win against Coventry on the opening match of the season, Forest didn’t win again for 16 games. In the end Forest finished bottom of the League with just 6 wins and 34 points and 13 League goals. Frank Clark had departed after the Christmas period and Stuart Pearce operated as caretaker manager. At 6.00pm on May 11 1997 Dave Bassett, who had arrived at the club during February as the general manager, assumed control.

Stuart Pearce, Brian Roy, Jason Lee and Alf Inge Haaland left during the close season. In the opposite direction, the club welcomed Andy Johnson from Norwich, Alan Rogers from Tranmere, Geoff Thomas from Wolves, Thierry Bonalair from Neuchatel, Marco Pascolo from Cagliari and Dave Beasant from Southampton. Bobby Houghton joined Dave Bassett as his assistant manager.

The 1997-98 season was to be an outstanding one, kicking off with six consecutive competitive wins, which was the first time Forest had ever managed that feat during its 120 years in competitive football. With a rekindled Steve Stone and Pierre van Hooijdonk now playing up front with Kevin Campbell, Forest set the First Division alight. Forest came out winners of Division One, and returned to the Premier League.

Looking back, 135 years is certainly a long time. The 15 young men that met in the Clinton Arms in 1865 would never have dreamt that their offspring would have played for such great prizes in Munich, Madrid or Tokyo. When they played their first semi-final of the FA Cup in 1879 they didn’t even own a ground. When they won the European Cup, they had won their own League only once. When they went to Bolton on 25 November 1978, they had not lost a game for a whole year. They won the European Cup undefeated. Nottingham Forest Football Club – surely the greatest football team in the world.


History Of Notts County

Notts County FC: The World’s Oldest Football League Club…

‘The opening of the Nottingham Football Club commenced on Tuesday last at Cremorne Gardens. A aide was chosen by W. Arkwright and Chas. Deakin. A very spirited game resulted in the latter scoring two goals and two rouges against one and one.’ – The Nottingham Guardian from 28 November 1862
Notts County Football Club, now universally recognised as The World’s Oldest Football League Club, was formed in 1862. Official formation followed two years later as the ‘Notts. Foot Ball Club’.
Pre-dating The Football Association, the club initially played matches of its own devising at Park Hollow, inside the grounds of the old Nottingham Castle. In 1864, the decision was made to take on outside opposition from both England and Scotland, which led to a move away from the club’s initial home to allow for larger crowds.
DID YOU KNOW? In November 1872, Notts full-back Ernest Greenhalgh played for England against Scotland in the first ever international match, thereby becoming the club’s first international player.


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The following years saw the club appear at numerous locations, including Castle Cricket Ground (1894), and Nottingham Forest’s Town Ground (1895 and 1896) and City Ground (1899 to 1909). However, the club’s main home, from 1883 onwards, was Trent Bridge, until the permanent switch across the river to Meadow Lane was completed in 1910.
In 1888, Notts became one of 12 founder members of The Football League and ended the first season in 11th place, above Stoke City. A highest ever league finish of third was achieved in 1890.91 – a feat that was replicated in 1900.


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DID YOU KNOW? Notts have not always played in Black and White stripes, having started out in black and amber hoops. This style was replaced by a chocolate and blue combination before adopting the trademark design. The club has moved away from the stripes from time-to-time, including a white jersey with a single black chevron, plain white with black cuffs, pin-stripes, ‘V’-style stripes and the classic ‘Barcode’ design. Yellow and, more recently, gold have been added as a complimentary trim in recent years. 
In 1890.91, Notts reached the FA Cup Final for the first time, only to be defeated 3-1 by Blackburn Rovers at The Oval, despite thumping the trophy winners 7-1 only a week prior. The club made amends on 31 March 1894, with Jimmy Logan netting a hat-trick in a 4-1 triumph over Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park.
DID YOU KNOW? Harry Cursham is the current top-scorer in the FA Cup and has held the record since 1887. The striker scored 49 goals – all of them in a Notts shirt. 


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The fixture is also memorable for another reason, as Notts became first team outside the top flight to win the tournament, having been relegated to the Second Division in 1893. Promotion back to the top tier was confirmed in 1896.97, after a series of ‘test matches’ – meetings between the bottom sides in the First Division and the top teams in the Second Division to determine which clubs would play in each league the following season.
In 1912.13 Notts were again relegated but returned the following season as champions of the Second Division. 1919.20 saw another demotion, though another Second Division championship was added to the trophy cabinet in 1922.23.
Despite a ninth-position finish in 1924.25, Notts dropped back down to the Second Division the following campaign. Then, in 1929.30, the club fell to the Third Division South, only to bounce back at the first time of asking – as champions.


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DID YOU KNOW? Between 1905 and 1925, goalkeeper Albert Iremonger played 564 league and 37 cup games for the Magpies. He remains the club’s highest appearance holder and is unlikely to be beaten. The eccentric giant also has a road named after him, which runs behind the back of the Derek Pavis Stand. 
After 16th, 15th and 18th placed finishes respectively, Notts ended the 1934.35 season at the foot of the Second Division. Prior to the Second World War, Notts narrowly missed out on promotion, as they finished 1936.37 second in the Third Division (South) – two points adrift of the champions, Luton Town.


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The leagues took an extended break, as football was suspended between 1939 and 1946, due to the Second World War. Only regional matches and cup competitions, which allowed clubs to field guest players, were played.
On the night of 8 May 1941, bomb damage produced craters at Meadow Lane and the ground was subsequently closed. This meant that 1941.42 was the only season when no football was played by the Magpies.


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In November 1947, Notts stunned the footballing world with the recruitment of England international Tommy Lawton. The England number nine had left top-flight Chelsea to join the Third Division South Magpies – much like Wayne Rooney dropping down to League 1 nowadays.
Lawton’s signing was for a British record fee but his arrival added around 10,000 to the gates at Meadow Lane. The average home crowds for the next eight seasons remain the highest in the club’s history.


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An example of the bolstered attendances was a Boxing Day encounter with Swansea that saw 45,000 pack into Meadow Lane, with an estimated 10,000 locked outside. A number of attendances were over 30,000 and 40,000, and, in 1949.50, with an average of over 34,000, Notts gained promotion to the Second Division.
DID YOU KNOW? 47,000 turned up for the 1955 fixture with York City – a record Meadow Lane crowd.


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The passing of then club captain Leon Leuty sparked the rapid break-up of the side that had transformed Notts from an unfashionable lower-league outfit into a steady Second Division club. Just two seasons after his death – 1957.58 – Notts suffered relegation to the Third Division and again into the basement tier in 1958.59.
Despite a quick return to the Third Division, following a second-placed finish in 1959.60, it was not long before Notts were back in the Fourth Division. Between 1963.64 and 1970.71, Notts fought it out in the doldrums of the Football League and, on 21 September 1968, the club slumped to its lowest point at the bottom of the table, but luckily found form and moved clear.
It was tough times but, when the most successful manager in the club’s history walked through the Meadow Lane gates, fortunes took a turn for the better. Jimmy Sirrel took over with the aim of lifting the doom and gloom – and he did just that by guiding the Magpies to the Fourth Division championship in his first full season in charge.
Sirrel’s players became legends, such as the club’s all-time leading scorer Les Bradd, central defensive colossuses Dave Needham and Brian Stubbs, who experienced a solid eight-year partnership, and, of course, the Scottish midfield maestro Don Masson – deemed the greatest player to ever pull on the Black and White Stripes. Not forgetting the likes of Tony Hateley, Kevin Randall and Arthur Mann, who made up the spine of a team that would eventually complete Sirrel’s complete set of promotions from the gutter to English football’s elite division.


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The next promotion arrived in 1972.73, as Notts finished Third Division runners-up, which preceded an eight-year stay in the Second Division. So many promotions had usually been followed by relegation but not on this occasion, as Sirrel – helped by innovative coach Howard Wilkinson – led Notts to the First Division via a historic victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.


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DID YOU KNOW? Sirrel left Meadow Lane to take charge of Sheffield United during Notts’ extended stay in the Second Division. He designed the Blades’ logo, which remains in place to this day.  
Against the odds, Notts spent three consecutive seasons in the top-flight, which were kicked off with a historic 1-0 triumph over champions Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1981.82 season. This proved to be just one of many unforgettable days for the fans of this era, as the Magpies recorded emphatic wins over Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.


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The club’s First Division status also attracted international players to Meadow Lane, including Rachid Harkouk (Algeria), John Chiedozie (Nigeria) and Aki Lahtinen (Finland). With their help, a 15th placed finish was achieved at the end of Notts’ first year back in the top flight, after a 56-year absence.
Sirrel handed over managerial reigns to his number two Wilkinson in 1982 and 15th place was achieved for the second campaign on the spin. However, Wilkinson departed for Sheffield Wednesday and back-to-back relegations followed, though Sirrel did return to put a halt to the free-fall and the Magpies settled in the third tier… for the time being.


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Off the pitch, Notts faced a battle to stay afloat and a crisis meeting on 15 September 1986 drew 1,500 supporters to the Astoria Night Club, with many more locked outside. Debts of £2million had forced directors to consider liquidating the club but it was agreed that business would resume thanks to the financial support of the fans.
This came in the shape of a friendly match with Forest, where a crowd of 3,299 added £14,000 to the survival funds, and the formation Notts County Lifeline, which involved supporters paying £2 each week to enter into a prize draw. Since that meeting, the scheme has gone from strength-to-strength and has continued to pump over £100,000 into the club every year.


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DID YOU KNOW? Since its formation, Lifeline has contributed nearly £3million to the club, made possible by supporters’ membership fees. 
That historic night at the Astoria also triggered the beginning of a new chapter – the arrival of Derek Pavis, a local businessman, who had been inspired by the passion of the fans to take over from Jack Dunnett as chairman, with John Mounteney becoming vice-chairman alongside him. Mounteney had history with the club and largely responsible for persuading Pavis to join Notts.
The re-building began straight away with new blood injected into the club, as the likes of Geoff Pike, Paul Hart, Gary Lund and Gary Mills arrived. Famous faces such as Andy Gray and Gary Birtles were also added to the ranks but Notts missed out on a return to the Second Division in 1987.88 after suffering defeat to Walsall in the Play-Offs.


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Notts’ true revival came from an unlikely source in 1989, when, following a run of poor results, boss John Barnwell was dismissed and replaced by the youthful figure of Neil Warnock, who had guided Scarborough into the Football League as champions of the Conference. The signings of goalkeeper Steve Cherry and skipper Phil Turner boosted the squad and, in Warnock’s first full season, 1989.90, the club achieved a third-placed finish and a spot in the Play-Offs.
Unlike two years prior, Notts flourished in the end-of-season knock-out and overcame Bolton Wanderers over two legs – a 1-1 draw on away soil and a 2-0 win back at Meadow Lane. This kicked off the Wembley Years and, on an unforgettable day under the Twin Towers, the Magpies overcame Tranmere Rovers in front of 29,252 spectators thanks to goals from Tommy Johnson and Craig Short.


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DID YOU KNOW? The Wheelbarrow Song accompanied the Magpies to Wembley in 1990, sang to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey. The unique chant is believed to have originated from a midweek trip away at Shrewsbury Town, where the team trailed by two goals. The Salop support sang a song in celebration, which, to the County fans at least, sounded like ‘I had a wheelbarrow, the wheel fell off…’ In jest, the away support belted out the song and Notts hit back twice in the last 10 minutes to draw the game. Seen as good luck, the Magpies faithful sang the song as Notts secured back-to-back promotions. 
Notts did not have to wait long for a second trip to Wembley, as, despite expecting a season of consolidation in the Second Division, a fourth-placed finish was recorded – largely thanks to a run of seven straight wins towards the end of the campaign. The momentum carried into the Play-Offs and the Magpies booked another trip to London with a Semi-Final triumph over Middleborough – courtesy of a 1-0 home win and a 1-1 draw on the road.
59,940 witnessed Notts make history with a 3-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, made possible by a Tommy Johnson brace and another finish from Dave Regis. Another unbelievable promotion was confirmed and the club was back in the big time.


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Away from the league success, Notts reached the Quarter Final of the FA Cup thanks to a famous 1-0 win against Manchester City – a day where Cherry performed heroics in goal and Gary Lund secured his side’s progression with a solitary strike. This set up a controversial encounter with Tottenham Hotspur that saw Don O’Riordan score a wonder goal in front of the packed out away end at White Hart Lane, before Paul Gascoigne, who should have been dismissed due to an elbow on Paul Harding, set up the equaliser and scored an 83rd minute winner to end the Magpies’ hopes of a second FA Cup crown.


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Warnock kept the faith in a large part of the squad that gained promotion, but Notts’ stay in the top tier was short-lived and lasted only one campaign, as the club finished the season ranked 21st. The relegation meant that the club missed out becoming an inaugural member of the Premier League.
Regardless of the drop to the newly named Football League Division One, the Magpies’ season in the top flight was eventful and provided trips to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. The club also cashed in on strikers Paul Rideout – sold to Rangers for £500,000 just four months after he was signed from Everton for half that amount – and Johnson, who raked in almost £2million, which was pumped into the £5million redevelopment of Meadow Lane.


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