lunedì 11 giugno 2012

A night to remember. Notts County 150th Anniversary Gala



With the anticipation mounting we met in the Trent Navigation Pub, what a surprise greeted us when we entered the bar, sheer glamour. Hundreds of men in tuxedo’s and black ties, and ladies dressed to impress and ready to be part of our historic evening, 150 years of Nott’s County Football Club.


7 o’clock arrived and we made our way to our very favourite place, Notts County Football Club at Meadow Lane. Through the main entrance, ahead of us arriving were many a dignitary – the Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillor Unczur pulled up in the well recognised, green Bentley and was warmly greeted by Notts County staff.  Our very own Winston (Head of Security) smiling as always, greeting people, we were already welcome


Notts County Timeline
 We were led to the players tunnel which had now been transformed into a Notts County timeline, featuring the likes of Tommy Lawton, the legendary Jimmy Sirrel and right at the end of the timeline, a special mention of our memorable meeting with Juventus Football Club, the image titled “A special bond” and finally a list of Notts County achievements.


The Notts County Timeline:



As we walked the timeline, reading and indeed remembering our historic past, nothing could have prepared us for the fantastic venue. We entered the marquee to be met by an array of black and white, chandeliers; twinkling lights and sheer opulence.  




Not only were we surrounded by glamour, we were surrounded by past and present Notts County legends, directors and friends. I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Les Bradd, all time goal scorer for Notts County with a 137 goals in his career, and Ray Trew, the owner of Notts CountyI congratulated Ray on the occasion and of course for the fantastic event that we were now part of.
  
Andy with Les Bradd and Ray Trew

Andy with Don Masson
During the evening I met many people who were part of Notts County history, Phil Turner, Captain for Notts County in 1990, Don Masson, Captain for Notts and Scottish International, Michael Johnson, ex Notts player, youth coach and Jamaican international; Kevin Barlett, ex Notts player & fastest player over 100 metres in the football league; Ian McParland, ex Notts player and Notts Manager and a real opportunity not to be missed, a meeting with Lord Mawhinney who was president of the Football league, and made a great speech about Notts County.

Andy with Phil Turner
Andy with Ian McParland
Andy with Michael Johnson 
Andy with Kevin Barlett
Andy with  Lord Mawhinney
We were asked to take our seats and the special evening commenced.  Hosted by Colin Murray, a famous Radio 5 live and Match of the Day 2 presenter. He started with explaining why he was delighted to be hosting. 


Andy with Colin Murray
Originally, he had said that he wouldn’t be able to host because he was in Belfast on the Wednesday for the Olympic Torch relay and then travelling to Poland to commentate on Euro 2012.  
So, he thought hosting a football event on the Thursday would be impossible. But then he asked which football club and was told “Notts County” he said, “I’ll do it!!” He said the whole of the football community respected Notts County and he couldn’t pass up the chance to be part of the event.  


Ray Trew's speech
Followed by speeches from Ray Trew who presented Aileen Trew and NCFC staff with gifts for their efforts in organising the event. In between the fabulous menu courses, we heard from Joseph S. Blatter and Andrea Agnelli (these speeches can be seen on Magpie Player). It was truly special to know that our Notts County, had, for this night reached an International football stage, absolutely fantastic.


Joseph Blatter' speech

Andrea Agnelli' speech
The wine flowed (Lisa’s hangover the next day proved it); we shared memories with other guests on our table and of course talked fondly of our own trip to Juventus and our Italian Magpie friends. Lisa took the opportunity to collect the programmes from the event to send to our Italian Magpies who visited Nottingham in May 2012, special programmes that only few will own. It was great to hear Agnelli mention that he is aware of our friendship, the visits that have been made and that he keeps in touch with what is happening on line.  
We like to think that he reads Italian Magpies.

Elysium III
After the speeches and the food, the entertainment started with a group called Elysium III, a trio of beauties who started the evening with a touch of class.  
It wasn’t long before the beer also starting taking effect and we had an impromptu rendition of “I had a wheelbarrow” performed on stage three ex players, including Les Bradd and Phil Turner, we all of course joined in.



Following which an announcement was made for guests to move outside, where we were treated to a firework display.
150 was lit up on Notts County goal posts, and with these fireworks, we announced to Nottingham that Notts County, the Worlds Oldest Football league club was celebrating.  After which we moved back indoors for the party to continue.

Aileen Trew and Lisa
Aileen Trew and Lisa were some of the first onto the dance floor as the evening’s entertainment moved to a disco, and the smiles grew along with new friendships and of course a sense of pride and passion for the club, which of course never waivered.

It was a night to remember, one that I was proud and lucky enough to have been part of and one that I am delighted to share with my friends on Italian Magpies.

Onwards and Upwards

Andy Black

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