Notts County travel to Swindon Town on Saturday knowing that anything less than a victory will see them lose their EFL status for the first time.
Neal Ardley’s men will be backed by over 2,000 loyal supporters hoping the day will turn into a survival party but confident in the knowledge that even if the Magpies do come out on top, a point or more for Macclesfield in their home game with Cambridge will see the famous old club play National League Football next season..
Notts County were founded in 1862 and became one of the twelve team founder members of the Football League in 1888. Their status as the oldest Football League club is universally recognised.
They have had a disastrous season, plagued by off-field problems and beset with poor form from a bloated and expensive squad that has managed just nine wins under three different managers.
They play a Swindon side that was in terrific form in the early part of the year under new boss Richie Wellens but have since tailed off, failing to win any of their previous six matches.
County crucially won last time out 2-1 against Grimsby Town at Meadow Lane to keep their hopes alive and will fancy their chances of picking up the three points in Wiltshire against a side that may well be already on the beach.
However, they will fear that a poor Cambridge side, with nothing to play for and having taken only one point from the last fifteen available, will not offer too much resistance to Sol Campbell’s motivated Macclesfield men, leaving the Magpies facing the devasting prospect of non-league football for the first time in their one hundred and fifty-seven year history.
It will be a shame to see them go, but I can’t see any outcome other than Notts County relegation.
History counts for nothing in football, and the ownership of Alan Hardy has been damaging for the famous old club.
But rumours of new owners will fill the faithful with optimism for the future and the example of Orient who went down under poor owners a couple of seasons ago and since returned under new owners will give them heart.
One thing is sure, owners might come and go but it’s the supporters who are the soul of a club, and the 2000 or so loyal souls that travel to Swindon will stick with the club no matter what, and that’s why the club has a future.