Notts Landing, Now Ardley Wants World To Know Their Story

Neal Ardley sits down for his first conversation with the National League and transfer deadline day is bubbling away in the backdown.

Romelu Lukaku has just gone for £74million. We’re still no clearer if Wilf Zaha is heading to Everton for £65m. The night before, Manchester City splashed out £60m on a full-back.

There are certain top flight fans in a flap that their club has “only” spent £130m on improving their defence during the window. First world problems.

This summer, Ardley nearly didn’t have a job to go back to. A number of staff almost lost their livelihoods.

Notts County fans almost didn’t have a team to support.

“It’s a little bit different at that end of the game, isn’t it?” the manager told us. “I keep hearing it’s deadline day. It’s not deadline day for us - and it’s a good job, we’d have had quite a job on.

“It’s been a bit of a strange summer, surreal is probably more the word.

“I’m used to spending June and July meeting players, getting on the road, planning what you’re doing.

“We didn’t have a budget, and we certainly didn’t have answers for anyone. I would be taking calls from agents, but I would have nothing to give back to them. It was never my intention to walk away, I couldn’t.

“It was waiting for phone calls, hoping the club was going to be alright and learning a totally different management skill. It got harder and harder but do you know what, Notts County are still very much standing - we’re in new hands and there’s excitement about what’s to come.

“It has been difficult but the way I see it, there’s no future in looking back.”

Notts, now in the safe hands of Danish brothers Christoffer and Alexander Reedtz, now have the chance to showcase their club on a national scale.

This weekend their live BT Sport game with Barnet is an opportunity to not only get things up and running with their first win, but to open the door to the outside world and prove they are very much on the road to recovery.

“Maybe there are some people who have been in a bubble of their own club that don’t know what’s gone on,” said Ardley, whose team started with a narrow defeat at Eastleigh before Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Stockport County.

“Now hopefully they will hear the story and and say ‘oh wow, this club have been through a lot’.

“It’s a chance for us to show we’re getting ourselves sorted and with a bit of luck we can take three points and give the fans something to remember.”

Teething problems perhaps in the first four days, but not exactly unexpected.

Losing their treasured Football League membership was a bitter pill to swallow, but paled into insignificance compared to what could have happened. And Ardley knows it.

“A win would give everyone a lift, of course it would,” the former AFC Wimbledon manager, a League Two promotion winner at Wembley, adds.

“But if we don’t? It’s not the end of the world. This is an evolution, we have long term, short term and medium term goals. The supporters have been first class in understanding that.

“What we need to do - and make no mistake what we will do - is respect the National League.

“We can’t get hung up on who we are and what we’ve done. First of all we give these fans a team to be proud of. The rest then takes care of itself.”

Where next?

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