Notts County

With a foundation date of 1862, Notts County FC is the oldest professional football club in the world. Despite the early start, however, they haven’t managed to claim a top-flight title; two third places in Division 1 (1891 and 1901). Their greatest success arrived in 1894, when they won their only FA Cup. They’re nicknamed “The Magpies” for their black-and-white kits, which were adopted by Juventus in 1903.

Basic facts

Founded: 1862
Country: England
City: Nottingham

Home grounds

The Park (1862)
The Meadows (1864-1877)
Beeston Cricket Ground (1877-1880)
Castle Ground (1880-1883)
Trent Bridge (1883-1910)
Meadow Bridge (1910-)

Main trophies

FA Cup: 1

Prominent players

Harry Cursham, Jimmy Oswald, Jimmy Cantrell, Tommy Lawton, Paul Devlin

Club records

Most games played: Albert Iremonger (564)
Top goalscorer: Les Bradd (125)

Notts County team in 1894
The Notts County team in 1894 with the FA Cup trophy.

History

The various firsts

Following its foundation in 1862, Notts County initially focused on playing a game that they invented themselves. Once the Football Association was formed, they switched to football. Soon thereafter, their full-back Ernest Greenhalgh participated in the first-ever international match: England vs. Scotland. In 1888, Notts County was one of the 12 founding members of the Football League, finishing their first league season in 11th place.

In 1891, the Magpies missed out on their first big chance to win a major trophy by losing 1-3 to Blackburn in the FA Cup finals. They made up for it three years later, with Jimmy Logan scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers. This remains the only major trophy in the club’s history, as well as the first time that a team outside the top division won the FA Cup.

After many years of playing at different home grounds, Notts County moved to Meadow Lane in 1910 for a long-lasting stay. Still, this didn’t stop the team from yo-yo-ing between the top two divisions of English football. In 1930, they were relegated to the Third Division for the first time, though they managed to bounce back the very next season.

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Wartime and freefall

In 1941, Meadow Lane was hit by enemy bombing, and the stadium was subsequently closed. To this day, this remains the only season where Notts County played no football whatsoever. Following the end of WWII, Notts County returned to the public eye by paying a then-record fee of £20,000 for Chelsea’s Tommy Lawton. This resulted in bolstered attendance at Meadow Lane, which helped the club return to the Second Division in 1950.

By the end of the ‘50s, however, Notts County lost the race for the city’s biggest club to Nottingham Forest. They were back in the Third Division by 1957, and were soon relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time in 1959. The club continued to struggle during the ‘60s, with most of their efforts aimed at avoiding the embarrassment of having to apply for re-election,

The Sirrel era

Things finally changed for the better with the appointment of Jimmy Sirrel as manager in 1969. During Sirrel’s time at the club, Notts County made huge strides, earning promotions to higher echelons of English football on a regular basis. This culminated in a historic victory over Chelsea and a return to the First Division in 1981. They remained in the top flight for the next three seasons, recording many notable results along the way.

In the years that followed, the Magpies continued to achieve solid results. They returned to the First Division for the final time in 1991, though they were immediately relegated again. This was the beginning of another long freefall, which came to a head when the club was relegated to the fifth tier of English football in 2019.

The oldest club?

Notts County FC is probably more famous for its heritage than its merits. It is generally considered as the oldest English club and thus the oldest in the World. Sheffield Wednesday is, however, sometimes mentioned as the oldest club. Which of the both that is the oldest depends if the foundation for the Sheffield club is set to 1857 or 1867. About that the opinions divide, but the latter is the most recognized version.

By Martin Wahl

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Logo

Notts County logoIn the center of the crest there are two magpies with their feet on a football. Magpies have been visible on several versions of the logo, but in some earlier version only one. The bottom part is filled by black and white vertical stripes, just like on the team's shirt.

Notts County FC timeline

1862 The club is established.
1888 One of the founding members of the Football League.
1893 Relegated to the Third Division for the first time.
1894 Winning their first FA Cup title.
1930 Relegated to the Third Division for the first time.
1959 Relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time.
1995 Anglo-Italian Cup Winners.
2019 Relegated from League Two and falling out of the EFL.

Trivia

Football clubs also founded in the 1860s

Nottingham Forest FC logoNottingham Forest FC
Stoke City FC logoStoke City FC

Football clubs ordered after establishment

Club nicknames:

Magpies

League statistics

League record

Titles in total: 0
Premier League titles: 0
First participation: 1888-1889

All seasons

Season League Position Points Notes
2018-19 League Two 23 41 Relegated
2017-18 League Two 5 77  
2016-17 League Two 16 56  
2015-16 League Two 17 51  
2014-15 League One 21 50 Relegated
2013-14 League One 20 50  
2012-13 League One 12 65  
2011-12 League One 7 73  
2010-11 League One 19 50  
2009-10 League Two 1 93 Promoted
2008-09 League Two 19 47  
2007-08 League Two 21 48  
2006-07 League Two 13 62  
2005-06 League Two 21 52  
2004-05 League Two 19 52  
2003-04 2nd Division 23 42 Relegated
2002-03 2nd Division 15 55  
2001-02 2nd Division 19 50  
2000-01 2nd Division 8 69  
1999-00 2nd Division 8 65  
1998-99 2nd Division 16 54  
1997-98 3rd Division 1 99 Promoted
1996-97 2nd Division 24 35 Relegated
1995-96 2nd Division 4 78  
1994-95 1st Division24 40 Relegated
1993-94 1st Division7 68  
1992-93 1st Division17 52  
1991-92 1st Division 21 40  
1990-91 2nd Division 4 80 Promoted
1989-90 3rd Division 3 87 Promoted
1988-89 3rd Division 9 67  
1987-88 3rd Division 4 81  
1986-87 3rd Division 7 76  
1985-86 3rd Division 8 71  
1984-85 2nd Division 20 37 Relegated
1983-84 1st Division 21 41 Relegated
1982-83 1st Division15 52  
1981-82 1st Division15 47  
1980-81 2nd Division 2 53 Promoted
1979-80 2nd Division 17 37  
1978-79 2nd Division 6 44  
1977-78 2nd Division 15 38  
1976-77 2nd Division 8 48  
1975-76 2nd Division 5 49  
1974-75 2nd Division 14 40  
1973-74 2nd Division 10 43  
1972-73 3rd Division 2 57 Promoted
1971-72 3rd Division 4 62  
1970-71 4th Division 1 69 Promoted
1969-70 4th Division 7 52  
1968-69 4th Division 19 42  
1967-68 4th Division 17 41  
1966-67 4th Division 20 37  
1965-66 4th Division 8 50  
1964-65 4th Division 13 44  
1963-64 3rd Division 24 27 Relegated
1962-63 3rd Division 7 51  
1961-62 3rd Division 13 43  
1960-61 3rd Division 5 51  
1959-60 4th Division 2 60 Promoted
1958-59 3rd Division 23 29 Relegated
1957-58 2nd Division 21 30 Relegated
1956-57 2nd Division 20 30  
1955-56 2nd Division 20 31  
1954-55 2nd Division 7 48  
1953-54 2nd Division 14 39  
1952-53 2nd Division 19 36  
1951-52 2nd Division 15 39  
1950-51 2nd Division 17 39  
1949-50 3rd Divsion S 1 51 Promoted
1948-49 3rd Divsion S 11 43  
1947-48 3rd Divsion S 6 46  
1946-47 3rd Divsion S 12 40  
1939-46   - - WWII
1938-39 3rd Divison S 11 43  
1937-38 3rd Divsion S 11 41  
1936-37 3rd Divsion S 2 56  
1935-36 3rd Divsion S 9 42  
1934-35 2nd Division 22 25 Relegated
1933-34 2nd Division 18 35  
1932-33 2nd Division 15 40  
1931-32 2nd Division 16 38  
1930-31 3rd Divsion S 1 59 Promoted
1929-30 2nd Division 22 33 Relegated
1928-29 2nd Division 5 47  
1927-28 2nd Division 15 38  
1926-27 2nd Division 16 35  
1925-26 1st Division 22 33 Relegated
1924-25 1st Division9 45  
1923-24 1st Division10 42  
1922-23 2nd Division 1 53 Promoted
1921-22 2nd Division 13 39  
1920-21 2nd Division 6 47  
1919-20 1st Division 21 36 Relegated
1915-19   - - WWI
1914-15 1st Division 16 31  
1913-14 2nd Division 1 53 Promoted
1912-13 1st Division19 23 Relegated
1911-12 1st Division16 35  
1910-11 1st Division11 38  
1909-10 1st Division9 40 6th league title
1908-09 1st Division15 36  
1907-08 1st Division18 34  
1906-07 1st Division18 31  
1905-06 1st Division16 34  
1904-05 1st Division18 18  
1903-04 1st Division13 29  
1902-03 1st Division15 31  
1901-02 1st Division13 32  
1900-01 1st Division3 40  
1899-00 1st Division15 29  
1898-99 1st Division5 37  
1897-98 1st Division13 24  
1896-97 2nd Division 1 42  
1895-96 2nd Division 10 26 Promoted
1894-95 2nd Division 2 39  
1893-94 2nd Division 3 39  
1892-93 1st Division14 24 Relegated
1891-92 Football League 8 26  
1890-91 Football League 3 26  
1889-90 Football League 10 17  
1888-89 Football League 11 12  

Note. The 1939-40 season was abandoned after three rounds and is therefore excluded.

Premier League – facts, stats and history

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notts_County_F.C.
https://www.nottscountyfc.co.uk/club/history/club-history/
Image source:
Unknown