Sam Slocombe says the overall package on offer at Meadow Lane makes it the perfect place for him at this stage of his career.
The 34-year-old goalkeeper signed a new two-year contract with us this morning and is ready for the latest chapter.
“The next couple of years are possibly going to look a little bit of different for me,” said Slocombe, who first joined us ahead of the 2019-20 season.
“It may be possible to operate in League Two with one senior, experienced goalkeeper, but I don’t think it’s the right approach for a club that has ambitions of being successful.
“For the benefit of the squad, we need strong competition in all areas. That’s football and that’s what I’ve had all my life – competition brings the best out of everyone and if we can get that in every position it’s a really positive thing.
“That said, I back my own ability and will put up a big fight for the shirt - as I always have. I would never be comfortable accepting life as a number two.
“I’ve got strong experience in League Two, having won three promotions at that level. I know what it takes to get out, whether that be automatically or through the play-offs.
“I want to be available to play for as long as I can. From a young age, even before I turned pro, I always said that until my body gives up on me I would never do anything that restricts my opportunity to play football.
“I don’t feel 35 – my body feels good and I know I can still compete at a very high level, but I’m also mindful of what’s further ahead.
“There were multiple options for me this summer, whether that was to go higher and become a ‘shoulder to lean on’, knowing I wasn’t going to play, or going lower and being guaranteed games.
“But this is a big stage in my life. It’s my wedding anniversary today and we’re due to have a baby within the next couple of weeks.
“What’s best for my family has to form a huge part of any decisions about my future - and the whole package this club provides is brilliant.
“My wife went to more matches towards the end of last season than she has since the start of our relationship. The biggest thing she had to say after the play-off final wasn’t anything about the game, but about how everyone at the club is so nice. That’s big for me.
“It’s also great to be so close to where we’re based so my family can regularly experience the brilliant matchday atmosphere at Meadow Lane and I can always be around for them.
“The great feeling behind the scenes is credit to the owners and all the staff. Everyone’s in it together – we all understand that it’s not always easy and we have to be there to support each other.
“All of that, combined with me being able to continue imparting my knowledge and experience to help my team-mates and the club progress, means everything blends together nicely for it to be the right decision.
“It’s exciting to be involved in this club at the minute and I think it can only go one way.
“Notts has been a big part of my life over the last four years and I’m pleased it’s going to continue.”
Having already attained coaching qualifications, Slocombe will continue to pursue more over the duration of his new contract and believes he’s in a great position to learn from our backroom staff.
“It would be stupid of me not to take on board the techniques of people like our goalkeeper coach Tom Weal and head coach Luke Williams,” he said.
“Working with Tom is very different to my experiences elsewhere, but it’s helped me massively. We’re very fortunate to have someone of his quality and work ethic.
“The gaffer, meanwhile, has been incredible in the way he’s worked with more experienced players like me, Connell Rawlinson and Jim O’Brien.
“He knows we understand what he wants and trusts us to be part of the process by passing our knowledge on to younger members of the squad.
“That’s something I enjoy and take a lot of pride in. Along with Tom and our previous keeper coach Jake Kean, I’ve been able to influence young keepers who have gone on to do really good things.
“Joe McDonnell, for example, has had a good few years since he was here, and Anthony Patterson’s progress speaks for itself.
“I’m really honoured to have left the tiniest stamp on these keepers – and it’s going to be another big couple of years for Tiernan Brooks. If I can have an influence on him reaching his potential, I would be just as proud of that as I am of my performances and achievements over the last four years.”