After a season of nothing but insecurity and turmoil, Notts County knocked on the door of Steve Cotterill at just the right time.
Ever since the takeover by Munto finance in July, the club has been shrouded in a cloud of confusion but with four wins out of his first four games in charge, Cotterill has well and truly steadied the ship.
The club has been shrouded in a cloud of confusion ever since the takeover by the Munto finance group in July. Since then the fans have witnessed the ownership of the club change hands twice, seen the team play under three different managers and even be the subject of a winding up order for a late tax payment of around £500,000.
Initially the signs looked good for the fans. A fever of excitement began to take over, firstly with the naming of Sven Goran Eriksson as director of football and secondly by signing former England international Sol Campbell from under the noses of a number of Premier League clubs. Things looked good on the pitch too with the Magpies starting the season with a 5-0 home demolition of Bradford but a downturn in fortunes was only round the corner.
Sol Campbell made his much anticipated debut in a 2-1 reverse at Morecambe’s Christie Park on the 19th September but staggeringly walked out on his five-year deal only three days later leaving the club absolutely stunned. This came as an unwelcomed sideshow for the squad who were slowly being over-burdened with the ‘title favourites’ tag.
Unfortunately however, contentious ownership issues again took over proceedings. Munto finance announced in December that they wanted out and sold the club to Peter Trembling for a nominal fee. When the club was issued with the winding up order in February, Trembling had to sell and sell fast. On the 11th February the club was put in the hands of a consortium led by Ray Trew who also oversaw the departure of Eriksson as director of football and finally the first steps towards security.
Matters on the pitch weren’t helped either with the sackings of Ian McParland and Hans Backe who only just managed to oversee 20 games between them. However, Cotterill’s arrival at the end of February has come as a sweet relief.
With promotion experience with Cheltenham from League Two already, Cotterill seemed the perfect man rescue the free-falling team. Since his arrival the club has picked up all 12 points available to them, are yet to concede a goal and scored 10 in the process, the word ‘revelation’ has never been more relevant.
The club now sit just two points off the automatic promotion places and with three games in hand over faltering third placed Bury who can easily be forgiven for having quite a long look over their shoulder.
Cotterill’s County entertain second placed Bournemouth on Monday night, in the knowledge that a win will definitely see the side leapfrog the visitors due to their impressive goal difference. This certainly looks set to be Cotterill’s biggest test yet but with everything at Meadow Lane turning to gold at the moment, don’t be surprised to see the Magpies sitting in second place come Tuesday morning.