Jimmy, Jimmy Spencer…

As decisions go, this one is a pretty shitty one. Jimmy Spencer released by Notts County.

The statement speaks of Jimmy and his young family and of course this comes first over everything. But the fact of the matter is, Spencer should be in the first team.

When Jon Stead and Izale McLeod both signed at the beginning of the season, it looked as though Spencer may struggle to feature. McLeod, for me is our goal scorer and must play. Stead was continually picked to play just behind McLeod (awful shout by Moniz) and has generally looked poor. Yes he’s played at a decent level, but the ball more often than not hits him and runs away.

Jimmy Spencer, even half fit, is a much more effective target man. I’ve not seen many Notts strikers consistently bring high balls down with such a deft touch. With Moniz’s insistence on playing one striker behind the other, this tactic never suited either Stead or Spencer; but Spencer had a better chance of playing that role effectively.

Personally, I think to get the most of of McLeod, he needs a strike partner. In this league, it needs to be Spencer. He’s not scared to get involved, throw a few centre halves around and find the back of the net too.

The start of the end for Jimmy was Moniz. Fullarton obviously doesn’t rate him and by releasing him, it makes me worried 1 up front will be a continual pattern under him.

Also, why is Guy Branston doing the release statement? Surely someone who fought back from such an injury deserves a bit more respect…

The Crazy Gang vs The Uncultured Club

Awful. A short, simple way to summarise that today. Awful. Apart from 5 minutes at the start of the game, Notts were terrible.

After a first win away since the opening day, Fullarton completely failed to capitalise on the faint feeling of a feel good factor after his suspect appointment.

You can’t blame him for making few changes to last weeks team, but the way he set Notts up today put us at a disadvantage straight away. It was obvious that he’d instructed Scot Bennett and Curtis Thompson to shield the back four and not venture too far forward. This seemed to be in an effort to nullify Wimbledon’s useful front two; it ultimately nullified ours. Whenever the ball was pumped up to McLeod and Stead, there was no central player within 30 yards of either of them; end of move. Despite this, Curtis Thompson still managed to be the best outfield player in a black and white shirt. Whilst Scot Bennett managed to be one of the worst.

Fullarton again, quite obviously, set Notts up to be hard to beat. But at home, with your reputation already wavering, today was too negative. Only when Liam Noble came on did the ball come forward on the floor with any sort of regularity. Away from home, setting up to stifle the opposition and sacrifice your own attacking intent is sort of acceptable. To do it at home should never be plan A.

We seem to have become a long ball team. Shit.

Ratings

Roy Carroll 8: A string of excellent saves and classy distribution. M.O.M.

Wes Atkinson 6: Generally okay. Wrong side for the original long ball for the first. Should not be on set pieces.

Elliot Hewitt 7: Coped admirably with two tough, strong forwards. Pace compliments Hollis well.

Haydn Hollis 6: As above. Good League 2 stopper.

Rob Milsom: Outrageously booked. Solid and composed.

Adam Campbell 6: Industrious. Will struggle with tactics like today’s.

Scot Bennett 4: Poor. Should play CDM in a 3 if he must play. Too slow and too poor with the ball.

Curtis Thompson 8: Made mistakes but bloody hell he’s a fit boy and a talented one too. Puts others to shame.

Blair Adams 6: Strange to play him wide left. Nearly scored with a good header. Good to have him back.

Izale McLeod 5: Starved of service and support. Loves a theatrical fall.

Jon Stead 5: Worked hard, but first touch and hold up play is poor. Spencer please.

Must do better Jimmy.

COYP.

Ishmael McLeod and Wes Anderson.

Teams news brought to you by Colin Slater…

As 2pm comes and goes, Jimmy Fullarton again becomes the most ridiculed man in Nottingham. BBC Radio Nottingham Forest (can we have more David Vaughn red card chat at 5pm too please…?) alluded to the fact that Fullarton needs a good start. So, reasonably, his first team selection would give us an indication if he’d get it.

On the face of it… Let’s call it an interesting selection. Roy was always keeping his place – but I think he’ll need to be watching over his shoulder. The back four looks generally okay but Hewitt at CB frightens the life out of me. I’d have shifted him over to RB and put Swerts or Amevor in beside Hollis.

The midfield is where the real debate is to be had. On a fantastically positive note, Alan Smith finds himself on the bench. On a questionable note, he’ll be sat with Stanley Aborah. For me, if Aborah is fit, Aborah plays. Bennett and CT looks a decent pairing – quality of pass from those two could be an issue but covering ground, closing down and tenacity should be in high supply. 

If reports are to be believed, Ronan Murray will play wide right and Adam Campbell behind Jon Stead. I’d be very tempted to swap these two, and presume this may be the instruction as the game goes on. Valencic, two sub outings in away day humpings, gets a go from the start – Julian Jenner I’m sure he is not…

Jon Stead has a real chance today to show what he can do in his actual proper position. I hope and pray we don’t just smash it in his general vicinity. That’s a long day at the office.

COYP.

Welcome to NG2 Jimmy…

“Jimmy Fullarton announced as new manager x”

“Who”

Sky Sports news it may not be, but news travels fast these days. The above messages were between me and my old man shortly after Jimmy Fullarton, an ex Scotland Under 21 captain ‘don’t you know’, was announced as Notts’ new manager.

Speculation had been rife over the past week as to who would succeed Ricardo Moniz. Mark Cooper and then John Sheridan had been “odds on” for the job until midday Saturday when Fullarton’s name became all but etched on the office door.

My initial reaction is one of being underwhelmed. Fullarton comes with a glowing reference from Mr Negative over the river; “an outstanding coach” crows the man with his armed tied behind his back by Mr Fridges. But is he necessarily what we need? Haven’t we just parted company with a coach who was asked to bring a more entertaining ‘brand’ of football to the club…? 

Also, based on our league position; is an untried and inexperienced manager the right move at this point in time? Lying 18th in League 2, the most obvious threat is the trap door. However, that’s 13 points away and isn’t a concern. The real quiz is looking up the league. Notts are only 9 points off 7th. Regardless of how poor we have been at times; we have a good number of excellent players at this level and a 20 goal (at least) a season striker. For me, we needed to appoint a manager who knows his way around this part of the football wilderness, how to organise a team (because frankly, defensively we’re an absolute shambles) and how to motivate a bunch of good but underachieving players. Fullarton may, and I pray he does, bring this to us but it could take more time than arguably a more experienced man would have needed.

Being personally underwhelmed by the appointment fits somewhere in the middle on the Twitter spectrum of opinions surrounding Fullarton’s appointment. We quite obviously have those who are masking a complete gamble with “lets judge him on performances.” Absolute politician speak. We have those who are even more hacked off than they needed to be after their first week back at work; “ABSOLUTE JOKE.” And we obviously have those Notts ‘fans’ who are personally abusing Mr Trew and his wife. To those people; you’re a disgrace – get out of my club and get yourself sterilised at the same time. On the whole, the fans see this as the wrong choice and I have to agree. We’ve tried this, it hasn’t worked so we’re trying it again… Why?

Whilst plenty of characters have been angrily smashed out on social media, we now have to get on with the new era. Fullarton must hit the ground running. I don’t see Notts fans giving him that long if it goes pear shaped. His first job is to sort the defence out. Haydn Hollis is good enough to be in it, probably paired with Amevor or Swerts. Hewitt and Adams at full back. This is where Fullarton will earn his money in the early days; coaching. They obviously need it, so spend time doing it. I’d stick with the current crop because will we have that much money in order to dabble in the window to bring someone in? I’d argue not. And those names are plenty good enough if they’re going to be coached properly. Oh, and don’t play Alan Smith either Jimmy. There’s a lad called Curtis Thompson, play him, he’s quite good…

Manager 11 in six years (embarrassing) hasn’t even held aloft the Notts County scarf for the official website article and he’s already under pressure. The pressure hasn’t been built by himself but by what has gone before him. Trew has continued to get massive decisions wrong regarding managers and I think this one could be the same. I was asked who should come in. “Neil Warnock. Get on the phone, beg him to do 6 months and if we do anything give him the option of a year rolling contract.”

In essence, we needed an old head but we got, regardless of what Mr Trew says, an absolute gamble of a manager. The fans are upset. The players are under performing. The chairman is praying this works. Welcome to NG2 Jimmy…