With the 2010/11 season out of the way and a new campaign fast approaching, i spent a little time going through the statistics of last season to pick apart anything that i found interesting.
Be warned, it’s not the prettiest assessment of last season.
This past season, Notts used 38 different players throughout their League One campaign – a stark contrast to the 24 used in 2009/10’s League Two title winning year. Both Michael Woods and Matt Marshall, whilst registered with the club during this period, failed to feature.
For the second year in succession, Lee Hughes finished the season’s top scorer with 13 league goals to his name despite only starting 24 games (7 appearances as substitute. Hughes also ended the season with 54 shots on goal (30 on, 24 off target), which is two less than Ben Davies (31:25) who left the club at the end of January.
Of Notts’ 46 goals in League One, 25 of them came from Hughes and Westcarr, with 14 different players putting home the other 19.
Westy, Davies and Hughes were to finish first, second and third respectively in both the on-target and off-target charts also. Westcarr finished with a 42:30 ratio, Davies (remembering still that he left in January) took 31:25, with Hughes on 30:24.
Davies also managed to hit the woodwork more in his short Notts season than anyone else did for the length of the campaign, with five. Other notables include Kevin Smith hitting a respectable ten shots on target as opposed to his four misses. Alan Gow’s 21 misses overshadow the 10 he managed to get on goal. And Karl Hawley, finding the target nine times, with only six efforts off wayward.
Davies in fact ended the season with more League assists than anyone else in the Notts squad with seven in his 22 games, one more than Craig Westcarr (6) produced in 36. Westy did however manage 12 goals across the season, one behind Hughes – who didn’t notch a single assist all season.
Goalkeepers Stuart Nelson (seven) and Rob Burch (five) , were able to keep 12 clean sheets between them. Notts only lost points in one of those defensive shut-outs, the 0-0 draw at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium.
In defence, John Harley’s 39 starts were three more than Mike Edwards, whilst Krystian Pearce was the next highest 26, and John Thompson and Stephen Darby both started 23 times. Pearce’s absence through injury for much of the final third alongside Steady Eddie is one of many reasons highlighted as to why Notts struggled late on.
The goal difference in the past two seasons has gone from +65, to -14, a swing of -79 goals. Still, that +14 is better than the two campaigns previous to 2009/10’s league winning season.
Of the ten permanent signings that Craig Short made prior to the season’s start, only John Spicer, Rob Burch, Stuart Nelson and Krystian Pearce remain part of the club’s plans for next season.
Jon Harley, Liam Chilvers and Ben Burgess have been told they are free to find another club, whilst Kevin Smith has not had his one year contract renewed.
Meanwhile – Matt Marshall and goalkeeper David Grof didn’t make a single appearance in League One or either cup competition.
Of the three loanees that Short drafted in, Luke Hubbins and Jake Jervis returned to Birmingham City never to return again, whilst Alan Judge made his move from Blackburn Rovers permanent.
Notts loaned 12 different players (inc Alan Judge who signed to a permanent deal mid-January) throughout the season who between them were able to weigh in with four goals during their loan periods (two goals each for Tommy Ince and Lee Miller), with a grand total of four assists (two from Judge. one each from David Martin and Connor Clifford).
The 12 loanees were accompanied by the addition of five free agents who supplied two goals (Alan Gow & Njogu Demba-Nyren) and just two assists, both from Gow. Of these 17 players, two (Woods & Lewis Gobern) didn’t even start a league game.
As for the men responsible for such an influx of part-time Notts players, Craig Short was responsible for just three (scoring no goals), whilst despite protestations of having “someone else’s squad”, Paul Ince drafted in the other 14 (those two goals each from Ince Jnr and Miller). Only two players – one from each manager have stayed at Meadow Lane, being Sam Sodje and Alan Judge.
STRENGTH IN DEPTH
Karl Hawley was the player called on from the substitute’s bench the most through 2010/11, with 12 introductions. Jake Jervis and Ben Burgess were the next highest with nine calls up – for both men this was more than either’s starting appearances. These three men between them accounted for one goal and four assists for the season.
Hughes’ seven cameo appearances however, added five goals across the course of the season.
Player’s & Fan’s Player Of The Year Neal Bishop made the most appearances in the Notts starting XI with 42, three ahead of recently transfer-listed Harley. So many appearances offer little comfort for their opponents as Bish also led the way with fouls with 74, again just ahead of Harley (67).
Harley and Hughes were the most booked players over the course of the season with ten each. Ricky Ravenhill lay in second with nine, with Bish on eight. Harley also adds one red card to his efforts for the term, whilst Graeme Lee, Edwards and Ricky Ravenhill all picked up two sendings off each.
Whilst Sam Sodje, Judge and John Thompson were also amongst the red cards, Hughes ten yellows across the season never saw him pick up a single red card.
FA CUP HANGOVER
Following Sunday, February 20th’s 5-0 loss away to Manchester City in the FA Cup, County (under three different managers) won only four of their remaining 19 fixtures – finishing with 15 points from a potential 57.
Aside from using so many players along the length of the season, as is customary, County of course worked their way through four managers – three permanent (loosest sense of the term) and one stop-gap appointment.
The above chart is the league positions Notts County sat in for the duration of the 2010/11 season. This of course takes into account those 38 players, 46 goals, 83 yellow and 10 red cards and four managers.
Last summer’s appointment lasted 13 league games before being shown the door for reasons unclear. He guided his Notts team to five wins (four of which coming at Meadow Lane), one draw, and seven defeats.
Short bowed out with a points ratio of 1.2 per game.
Next in line was a man tipped to have been Steve Cotterill’s replacement ahead of Short – Paul Ince. His 24 league games yielded seven wins, five draws and 12 losses. Ince’s ratio, which took in the side’s best and worst form of the ended on 1.08 per game.
The middle of March saw Notts go under the worst run of form in the club’s history, nine straight defeats, scoring just three goals and conceding 17 goals – taking with it the managerial reign of Paul Ince along the way.
A reign that saw County’s best form of the season and some memorable FA Cup performances will most likely only be remembered for the seven straight defeats that saw a premature end to Ince’s contract.
Former club scout Carl Heggs was to take charge of two games, defeats at home to Rochdale and away at Dagenham & Redbridge. The most notable moment of Hegg’s brief tenure being Lee Hughes’ consolation strike against Rochdale – ending eight games worth of play without a goal from open play.
Heggs will also unfortunately be remembered for the public post-match roasting he gave his players after the 3-1 defeat at Dagenham – mere days after stressing the importance of keeping team morale high.
Current manager Martin Allen’s first business for Notts was overseeing the club record eighth straight defeat at Yeovil Town, but he was to lead the club to League One safety in his seven games via two wins, two draws, and three defeats – a ratio of 1.14 per game.
Martin is the man responsible for bringing the eventual run of nine defeats to an end with a backs to the wall win away at Tranmere, and the final day draw with Brighton & Hove Albion. Read more here.
FORTRESS MEADOW LANE
In the 100th year of Notts County’s tennancy at Meadow Lane, Notts were to draw three games. They also won nine games, but lost 11. This despite only conceding 25 goals all season at home – just three more than eventual League One winners Brighton & Hove Albion.
The tally of 24 home goals scored though, was a joint-second worst in the divison shared with relegated Bristol Rovers, only four more than also-League Two-bound Swindon Town.