RAY’S BEEN SO TRUE TO LOVE OF COUNTY

The Football League Paper - - GUY BRANSTON -

I’M sad to see John Sheri­dan leave Notts County. I played a part in bring­ing him to the club as head of re­cruit­ment and I be­lieved he’d be a fan­tas­tic man­ager. In truth, he had all the tools to do well. The staff. The money. Where every­thing fell down was the sum­mer re­cruit­ment. Nine straight de­feats tells you some­thing is very wrong in that dress­ing room. For me, though, the prob­lems at Meadow Lane run deeper. The club have a rich his­tory and I think that’s bred an ar­ro­gance – an un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tion of what the club should be achiev­ing. Be­fore I left in May, the at­mos­phere was toxic. The fans were blam­ing you, me and ev­ery­one. The staff were blam­ing some­one else. Man­agers came, promised a rev­o­lu­tion, then moved on again. Be­hind the scenes, you had good peo­ple try­ing hard to make the club work. The money was com­ing in. Then you had owner Ray Trew pay­ing for every­thing. Ray and his wife Aileen are proper Notts County fans who have put their life and soul into that club. Peo­ple have crit­i­cised his strat­egy but he pumped money into try­ing to get them pro­moted year in, year out. If that’s a bad strat­egy, what more do fans want? Yet all he ever got was ver­bal abuse. He’s a fan­tas­tic, gen­uine guy and it’s been hor­ri­ble for his fam­ily. They’ve been bat­tling illness, bat­tling money loss. As a foot­ball man, and a work­ing class lad who used to stand on the ter­races, I know how the fans feel. Every­body has a right to pay their twenty quid and start shout­ing. But they need to be re­al­is­tic and say ‘Are we the Notts County of 25 years ago? No, we’re not. So let’s just be grate­ful that we’ve got a chair­man who keeps putting his hand in his pocket and gives me some­where to go on a Satur­day’. If Alan Hardy comes in and buys the club, which is look­ing likely, let him breath. Give him time to find a for­mula. Maybe I’m be­ing naive, but sup­port­ers should sup­port the club, not hin­der it. As for Ray, he is never go­ing to get his £20m or £30m back. He’s never go­ing to get back all that time and ef­fort, all that pas­sion and com­mit­ment. But he saved the club from death’s door and can leave proud of what he’s done since.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

BRO­KEN DREAMS: Former Notts County man­ager John Sheri­dan In­set: Ray Trew

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