Season 2013-2014
It was easy to see that The Pies faced a troubled season. Not only did the lack of any statement of ambition from the board make the fans anxious but the news that the player budget would be cut caused a stampede for the dressing-room door - Jeff Hughes' departure for Fleetwood epitomising the lowly expectations of staff and supporters alike. Names like Bishop and Judge followed. Sure, there were murmurings of giving youth a chance but it all smelled of an owner whose patience and cash flow were in short supply.Even so, it was a calculated gamble for which there was a good reason. Sniffing possible domestic and even potential European success, Mr Trew was about to start funding a second professional squad at Meadow Lane - the WSL Ladies team and was risking reducing the men's squad outgoings yet gambling on their ability to still stay in the division.It was a tough, business decision considering the disappointment that the fans had shared since promotion.Mid-table mediocrity was suddenly an aspiration with the usual battle of statistics, survival and 'what ifs' threatening to loom large again come May. Time, perhaps, to dust off my Big War Movie Themes LP and turn to track three - The Great Escape. Back in August though, things were still vaguely positive... but then the season hadn't even started.
  The youths who were to be given a chance weren't much in evidence when it all kicked off. Chris Kiwomya relied on the remaining members of the previous season's first team squad with a few additions to fufil the CEO's stated ambition of mid-table. Even that looked ambitious, though, after only a few games. Without the enthusiastic youngsters who had ended the previous season, the football looked drab and uninspiring - hardly suprising really as the players that remained were probably there because they couldn't get anywhere else and had to take their paycut. The only high-spot was a televised League Cup tie against Liverpool.

Notts County Squad 2014-2015

1. Bartosz Bialkowski
2. Mustapha Dumbuya
3. Alan Sheehan
4. Gary Liddle
5. Manny Smith
6. Dean Leacock
7. Jack Grealish
8. Callum McGregor
9. Enoch Showunmi
10. Danny Haynes
11. David Bell
12. Marcus Haber
12. Hayden Mullins
13. Francois Zoko
14. Adam Coombes
15. Yoann Arquin
15. Kwesi Appiah
16. Joss Labadie
16. Jimmy Spencer
17. Tyrell Waite
18. Andy Haworth
19. Ronan Murray
20. Jamal Campbell-Ryce
21. Curtis Thompson
22. Mark Fotheringham
23. Fabian Spiess
24. Enda Stevens
24. Keiron Freeman
24. Joshua Vela  
25. Greg Tempest
26. Haydn Hollis
27. Jeremy Balmy
28. Andre Boucaud
29. Callum Bennett
29. Gareth Roberts
30. Malcolm Melvin
31. Romello Nangle
32. Kyle Dixon
33. Malachi Lavelle-Moore
34. Jordan Holt
35. Kevin Pilkington
36. Bradley Jordan
37. Colby Bishop
37. Morgan Fox
38. Callum Ball
39. Nathan Tyson
40. Harry Andrews

The last year of Fila sponsorship saw a controversial shirt. Many remembered the 'bar-code battlers' from twenty years ago but affection is always stronger in hindsight. It's hard to deliver black and white stripes in a different way every year so when the odd design doesn't quite work out, you have to just acceot its only for a season. It's safe to say though, this was not one of the most popular styles.
The Pies aquitted themselves very well but inevitably lost anyway and things continued to go badly in the league. Cue, the usual remedy.
Chris Kiwomya duly departed in the Autumn and Steve Hodge took over temporarily whilst deliberations began as to a successor. Many fancied Danny Wilson - the old stalwart who picked teams up and was used to doing a lot with a little in the lower divisions. One thing the fans didn't want was another cut-price, untried, ex-player with no experience brought in on the cheap. Step forward Shaun Derry, an un-tried ex-pie who was, remarkably, still on QPR's books as a player at 35 years old.It didn't looked very convincing. A man with no managerial experience was going to suddenly energise a group of under-performing, un-motivated players and help us take the league by storm. It started predictably badly.Five losses and a draw showed the extent of the task that the ex-Notts man and his assistant Greg Abbott had taken on. Then, gradually, slowly he they began to turn it round. The loanees came in, the dead wood was turfed out. Those unwilling to fight for their place were sidelined and Meadow Lane began to see the likes of Jack Grealish come in. The young eighteen year old had yet to make his mark on the premiership but he was comfortably better than much of the opposition two divisions further down. As the results improved, so did the stock of the young manager, winning over the fans, who coined their own chant 'He's one of our own' in appreciation and acceptance of him and his efforts. Even so, the run-in to the end of the season still saw Notts seven points adrift of safety at the bottom of the league. What happened then can only be put down to self-belief, determination and hard work. Certainly nothing changed externally but the results started going the Magpies way and the failure of other teams around them allowed a remarkable six wins in eight games to set up a glorious season finale against Oldham.Why do we never start the season with this much determination ?
Notts fans often give their managers a hard time if they don't perform but Shaun Derry, an ex-player was soon taken to the hearts of the faithful because of the work ethic he instilled into a jaded and lack- lustre squad. Probably, on balance, one of Ray Trew's better appointments.