After a season of general dross and disappointment, Notts County fans have finally been asked to make their choice for their player of the season. Usually the award of this normally well earned accolade happens in a ‘glitzy’ evening event; not so much this year.
After the low key Twitter announcement and the (hopefully) expected cries of ‘cancel it’ and ‘nobody’ the clubs official feed then revealed the award would be given out pitch side at the last home game of the season; probably one of the best decisions the club has made all season.
Personally, asking Notts fans to choose a player of the season is embarrassing. In a season that offered so much and saw us get through three managers and endless piss poor decisions from on high, most fans want this season over and some don’t see any players as deserving of such an award.
Based on the season gone by, ability wise, Aboroah should win it. But his saga with He-who-must-not-be-named should rule him out. ‘Putting a shift in wise’, Stead has it in the bag – although a lot of fans seem to be ignoring his chronic lack of general football ability. For a man who has played at an excellent level he has virtually no first touch. Sentimentally, Mike Edwards has a chance to win it, purely based on the fact that he wasn’t meant to play, has played about 15 games and has done okay(ish).
I’m surprised there hasn’t been a Twitter effort to get Will Hayhurst to win it, but there’s still time of course.
In the week Mark Cooper openly slammed ‘what he has in the dressing room’ one of those negatives from said dressing room reared his ugly head again on the pitch; Laim Noble.
After a performance that mirrored his season, glimpses of his ability and longer periods of anonymity, Noble inexcusably and outrageously kicked out at Cambridge’s right full back and earned his sixth yellow card in two seasons. As the right back nipped around Noble on the touch line and got a stride away from him, Noble kicked out viciously at his trailing leg and that was that. After trying to feign innocence, Noble was given his marching orders on what could have been his last appearance for Notts.
Don’t get me wrong, Noble has ability. He is a good passer of the ball, generally puts a decent shift in and contributes goals and assists but he is far too inconsistent in both performance and temperament. Today typified both of these. Noble started behind Alan Smith and couldn’t get a kick because of his inability to find space and move effectively off the ball. After about 15 minutes, Cooper shifted Noble into central midfield and this saw Notts improve because Noble was deeper, with more of the game in front of him which enabled him to use his passing to knit together something resembling passages of play.
Due to his goal scoring exploits, Noble has been pushed forward too often this season but when he’s played and played in his best position he had failed to deliver consistently. He cannot control a game or dictate the pace, but he has the ability to. Too often he’s been found wanting this season and his ‘decision’ late on has probably killed the final bit of goodwill even his biggest fans had for him.
His red cards and ill discipline will probably define his Notts career as much as his positive contributions will. But for me, it’s a no on a new contract. I’ll be happy not to see him play for Notts again. He’ll be the sort of player to definitely come back and bite us on the arse, but that’s football.
The age old adage that comes with playing or thinking about playing ‘the kids’ when the first team are shit.
After a steadying four game period, Mark Cooper’s Notts County find themselves staggering, punch drunk to the end of the season. After two woeful away defeats, Cooper finally decreed;
“No matter what players play, and they’ve all had an opportunity more or less, it may get to the stage now where I just throw the kids in. You know they are going to run about, they will have no fear, and they will be desperate to play.”
To a fan, watching a horribly underperforming team, this is music to some people’s ears. All they want at this point of the season is players to show some effort, put some tackles in and display a bit of pride; but is pumping the first team ‘full of kids’ the right way to go about it? I’d argue not.
I do think that we should see a couple of kids today; I’d like to see Montel Gibson start, probably (but regrettably) alongside Jon Stead and maybe Lartey Sarpong played in a more traditional midfield three. I’d resist the temptation to bring any defensive youngsters in, Luther Wildin at right back springs to mind, owing to our chronic inability to defend properly for sustained periods of time.
I think the thing Cooper must do today is put the fringe players in. Amevor, Sharpe, Snijders, Murray and Burke (although I think Cooper fancies Burke in the long run) should be given a run out. I imagine some of these lads will be playing for contracts, give them a go. People will say ‘well they can’t be that good because they’ve not been picked all season’ – I refer you to the Aborah vs He-who-must-not-be-named saga…
It will certainly be interesting come 2pm. Hopefully Curtis Thompson will be fit to resume in central midfield. He seems to have picked up a few ‘boo-boys’ over his last few games, but without him we’ve obviously missed his energy and industry. I’d also put Roy Carroll back in.
Not many left now 🙏🏻