Back on August 26 this year, League Two strugglers Notts County announced that they had parted company with manager Kevin Nolan.
The 36-year-old only took over at Meadow Lane at the start of 2017 with the club in the midst of a ten-game losing streak in the fourth tier, with the former West Ham and Newcastle United midfielder the man owner Alan Hardy clearly felt could take his club forward.
Yet the Englishman was relieved of his duties back in August of this year after a poor start to the 2018/19 season, a decision which seriously enraged several Magpies supporters on Twitter…
Gutted. Let’s hope the grass is greener but we’ve seen this so many times before.
— Landy (@LandyLandy_) August 26, 2018
Noo why would you do that it’s the players not him
— Cameron Firth (@cameronfirthh) August 26, 2018
The fickle fans get their way. Football is ridiculous
— NC (@frankbutcher76) August 26, 2018
What are you doing? Who you gonna get? Nolan has been great for the club and after a bad start to the season you let him go…. well played notts and @Bigalanh5
— LO Down Brown (@HandsofHovis) August 26, 2018
— Thomas Pepper (@TLPepper92) August 26, 2018
Best manager we’ve had in atleast 6 years Good luck KN
— Joshua Murfet (@joshua_murfet) August 26, 2018
IMO this is a brutal way to treat someone who has surpassed objectives two seasons running. Thought more of Hardy, Fletcher et al. Good luck KN and thanks for everything.
— Joe Crabtree (@MrCrabtree86) August 26, 2018
Sad situation where the players have let down their manager and supporters but the latter gets the boot. A big thanks to Mr Nolan for his efforts.
— Robert Hardy-McBride (@Robert_HM) August 26, 2018
Think it’s totally the wrong decision and I hope all you moaners who wanted rid of Kevin Nolan are happy but then again you won’t be happy with any decision
— Les (@Les57830751) August 26, 2018
Congratulations to the Notts fans who got what they wanted this morning. I hope you’re very happy, I for one am devastated
— Lauren Amy (@LaurenAmy_17) August 26, 2018
And with the club having struggled since then, having already gone through another manager in Harry Kewell, alongside the job Nolan did in his 20 months at Meadow Lane, it was a massive decision taken by owner Hardy, and one that has yet to reap the rewards.
Ultimately, 36-year-old Nolan came into the League Two side with the club languishing near the foot of the division, only for the ex-midfielder to galvanise the Magpies and eventually lead them to 16th place in the 2016/17 season.
Thus, there was a genuine sense of optimism around the club when Nolan took charge of his first pre-season ahead of his first full campaign in charge of the Magpies, and that optimism was certainly founded given his team won 21 and drew 14 of their 46 League Two games in the 2017/18 season, eventually finishing inside the division’s play-off places.
Yet they were unable to achieve promotion to League One after going down 5-2 on aggregate to eventual play-off winners Coventry City in the semi-final, and that play-off hangover set into the start of this term as well given the Magpies picked up just one point in their first five games.
And that led to Nolan’s departure, which very much came as a surprise given not long before then the 36-year-old confirmed that he had the backing of owner Hardy, while the job he did in his previous one-and-a-half years at the club clearly counted for very little.
And the fact that things haven’t got a great deal better since Nolan’s departure suggests that the manager may not be the crux of the problems at Meadow Lane, as former Liverpool and Leeds United star Kewell won just three of his 14 games in charge before losing his job earlier this month.
It is now up to former AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley, who left the Dons earlier this month after six years in charge at Kingsmeadow, to try and steer the club away from the League Two drop zone, yet that doesn’t look like a particularly easy job given two prior managers have struggled to get the best out of this squad of players.
Yes, Nolan oversaw a poor start to the season, but after what he did for the club in his prior 18 months in charge, alongside the fact that things haven’t worked out at Meadow Lane since his departure, it was a massive club decision taken by owner Hardy, and one that hasn’t quite paid off just yet.
Notts County fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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