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Club News

A message from the chairman

1 December 2017

Notts County chairman Alan Hardy has issued the following message to supporters.

Firstly, a huge thank you to all our supporters for making Notts County the fastest-growing football club in the East Midlands.

Secondly, a challenge to all of you to help us make Meadow Lane the busiest it has been for 25 years.

As many of you will know, I'm an impatient sort of guy. I want success. And I want it yesterday.

But when I allowed myself a moment to take stock of what has been achieved so far this year, I realised how much all of you, the fans, are buying into our Magpies revolution.

My ticket office team told me our average crowd had slumped to just 4,353 when I arrived at the club and the underlying trend was for the average to have dipped below 4,000 within a matter of weeks.

Just how far the club had been allowed to degenerate was characterised by a record of three home victories in the calendar year of 2016.

In the first 10 home league matches at Meadow Lane this season, our average attendance is 7,186. And we've won almost three times as many home games than we did in the whole of 2016!

That's a massive crowd increase of 65% - dwarfing any rises made by any of the other clubs in Nottinghamshire.

But we are only just beginning our journey to turn this city 'black and white', as Jimmy Sirrel so famously said in the 60s.

For us to be successful we must continue to sustain major growth in our fanbase year-on-year.

That's why I'm challenging all Notts fans to deliver the highest average crowd at Meadow Lane for a quarter of a century.

Not since 1992, when Derek Pavis and Neil Warnock had us playing in the top flight, have we had a 10,000-plus average.

The best in the following 25 years was the 8,314 in the 1994 campaign - we're not far behind that at the moment. The challenge between now and the end of the season is for us to better that.

Our manager and our players deserve it. Thanks to Kevin Nolan, his coaching staff and playing squad, we boast the third-best home record in the whole of the Premier League and EFL in 2017.

We've not been outside the top two in the league for over two months. Our home form is the best it's been for the best part of 20 years.

My commitment to you as supporters is to fund and create an environment in which this club can challenge for promotion, deliver an ongoing programme of improvements to the club's infrastructure and facilities both on and off the pitch and give you a club of which you can be justifiably proud after two decades of chronic mismanagement and lack of investment.

But I need your help. I need you to support me, support Kevin and support the players.

I firmly believe we are the true club of the community in this region. I am a local businessman, born and bred in Eastwood, and a father of five children who all call this community their home.

My businesses are all in the county, we employ local people - I like to think that as a football club chairman I truly understand the heartbeat of this region.

Every Saturday morning, every Sunday morning and afternoon I'm in a tracksuit involved in grassroots boys and girls football across the pitches of Nottinghamshire as a coach, referee, ball boy and tea-maker. I even put up the nets and the corner flags, because I love it.

I challenge you to find any other chairman of a professional football club who does that week in, week out?

It matters to me that Notts County is successful. It matters to me that we grow this football club.

I know over 3,000 of you have already come back in the past 10 months to watch us regularly. But there are many more of you out there who I know are wanting to come back. Do it, you won't be disappointed.

Let's also nail a myth about our ageing fanbase: it isn't.

We are attracting more children as a percentage of total support than any other club in the Midlands. We provide a safe, family-friendly environment where local junior teams get the chance to take penalties on the pitch every week. These young people are the future lifeblood of this football club.

We run a host of complimentary ticket schemes for local junior teams which are always oversubscribed. We have created a series of strategic partnerships with local schools to encourage regular attendance.

Did you know our Community Day game against Forest Green Rovers attracted the highest individual gate of the League Two campaign of any club so far - 13,267.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be unveiling further ambitious ticket promotions and incentives. I cannot stress the importance of you doing your bit for this football club. Support us in every way possible.

Persuade a friend, relative, neighbour or whoever to come on down to Meadow Lane.

I have another challenge to you all as well: I want Meadow Lane to be sold out for at least one game between now and the end of the season. I'll do my bit to make it as affordable as possible for 19,500 fans to come - make sure you do yours.

The atmosphere at our games is unrecognisable compared with 12 months ago.

This season has the potential to be a special one for the club. Make sure you play your part, starting this weekend when we welcome Oxford City for an exciting Emirates FA Cup tie.

Your support will be more important than ever - so see you down at the Lane!

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