BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES is a stunning showcase of the world’s greatest collection of matchworn Newcastle United shirts. It tells the story of one man’s lifelong labour of love as a Magpies supporter and collector – and also works brilliantly, both visually and emotionally, as an informal fans’ history of the club spanning the late 1950s to date.

Every Newcastle United fan will be transported back in time by the historic matchworn shirts featured, each of which recalls a season, a past hero, big-match thrills and heartaches. Through the power of the shirts they wore, BLACK AND WHITE STRIPES puts you in touch with memories of Peter Beardsley and Alan Shearer, Gary Speed and Jonjo Shelvey.

Here is the shirt worn by hat-trick hero David Kelly in the 7-1 thrashing of Leicester in 1993, when the lads were presented with the First Division trophy. The Aertex number nine jersey prepared for the Japan Cup in 1983, but never used. Paul Gascoigne’s well-worn away shirt from the 1987/88 season. And many more…

Foreword by Newcastle United legend David Kelly.

 (Publisher: Conker Editions Ltd. August 2022. Paperback: 208 pages)


Read our review here: Black and White Stripes

2014/15: Pre-season Friendly – FC Halifax Town v Notts County

The 1991/92 season was the last of the ‘old’ First Division prior to the advent of the Premier League and saw West Ham United, Luton Town and Notts County relegated. How different would The Magpies future have been if they have been part of that inaugural Premier League season? Instead since that time, County have bounced around the lower divisions of the Football League, with their League One status only retained last season after winning six of their last eight games.

Teams prior to kick-off

FC Halifax Town have fought their way from the Northern Premier League Division One North in 2008/09 to the verge of promotion into the Football League last season. Unfortunately The Shaymen couldn’t clinch a return to the top 92 clubs in the country as they lost 2-1 in the Play-off Semi-Final to Cambridge United.

Still a new season brings new optimism and on a blindingly hot day, FC Halifax Town hosted Notts County at The Shay. Prior to kick-off, the sizeable travelling contingent of fans from Nottingham mixed with the home fans in the bar; where the news that ex-Manchester United keeper Roy Carroll was starting in goal for The Magpies was the main talking point.

In truth this was a poor ninety minutes, which may have been down to the extremely hot conditions (which necessitated a drinks break in both halves), but was also due in part to numerous substitutions that are a feature of pre-season games. The opening forty five minutes contained very few memorable moments in a goalless first-half. Town’s best chance fell to Matty Pearson as he forced Roy Carroll in tipping his effort over the bar. County though had the best of the opportunities and they had the ball in the net through Garry Thompson, but the effort was ruled offside. An even better chance fell to trialist Akwasi Asante, but his shot from six yards out was magnificently saved by Halifax keeper Matt Glennon. Then just before the break, Zeli Ismail had a long-range effort for The Magpies which hit the post.

Corner to Notts County

Both sides made various changes before the start and during the second-half. The most impressive player was Halifax trialist Jamie Jackson who proved to be a constant threat to the County defence and he scored the deciding goal with a jink and fine strike which fizzed past Carroll with nine minutes remaining.

For Notts County their mixed bag of pre-season results continued, whilst for Halifax it was a case of five wins out of six. However, both management teams will claim that these results mean very little and of course that is true and in reality it will all be about where these sides end the 2014/15 season. Will the experience of Alan Smith, Hayden Mullins and Roy Carroll keep The Magpies away from the relegation zone? How will The Shaymen manage without last season’s leading scorer Lee Gregory after his transfer to Millwall?

Bring on the new season!

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Book Review: I Had A Wheelbarrow by Luke Williamson

Prior to the summer of 2009, Notts County were probably most well known for being the Oldest Professional Club in the World. However they shot into the consciousness of the country on a wider scale when it was announced that the club was to be the recipient of a huge financial investment. Within weeks ex-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson had arrived and there was ambitious talk of Premier League football and ultimately European participation from the new Board at Meadow Lane. Expectation amongst the County faithful was sky-high. That 2009/10 season saw the Magpies get promoted into League One. Therefore you would assume that the promised investment had had its desired effect and the first stage of the master plan had come to fruition?  If only it was that simple.

Luke Williamson, a Notts County fan since childhood, like many that summer in 2009, couldn’t quite believe what was going on at his beloved club. So feeling that something special was about to happen, he embarked on a journey to record the events of the 2009/10 season which have been captured in the book, I Had A Wheelbarrow. For those wondering the relevance of the title below is the explanation used by the author.

“…On 17th April 1990 as Notts trailed 2-0 away at Shrewsbury, the home fans started singing “On Top of Old Smokey” in their strong West Country accents. Mocking those fans for the way they spoke (or sang) the Notts following began to mimic the song with the following words:

I had a wheelbarrow, and the wheel feel off,

I had a wheelbarrow, and the wheel feel off,

I had a wheelbarrow, and the wheel feel off,

I had a wheelbarrow, and the wheel feel off,

County, County, County, County…”

Notts ended by drawing that game and went on an unbeaten run which saw the Magpies triumph at Wembley in the Play-Offs. The song is now very much part of County folklore.

Of the book itself, the first thing to say is this is no run of the mill diary of a season. The author weaves details of the Magpies 2009/10 title winning season and the controversy off the field, amongst football memories of his childhood and the bittersweet experience of relationships. What is refreshing is that whilst the book runs chronologically, it does not take the reader game by game through the season in a dry match report style. Instead key dates and key matches are featured and County game details sit side by side with those from a trip to see England v Croatia in a European Championship Qualifier and those of CSKA Carnabys, the Sunday League team that Williamson is player-manager of. Williamson also has garnered interviews with Colin Slater, BBC Nottingham’s legendary commentator as well as Notts County Chairman Ray Trew and the Board which help add insight to the drama at Meadow Lane during 2009/10.

The passion and commitment of the writer to all things football and especially Notts County is evident. Readers get the authors view on such topics as post-Sky football in England and looks to the game beyond the confines of Nottingham. Indeed the book captures how football for many is engrained into their psyche and the impact it has throughout their lives and on family and friends. The tales of getting to away games, the feeling of belonging amongst your own supporters, the thrill and disappointment of wins and losses are all described with an authentic manner that will be familiar to football fans the world over and not just those within the confines of NG2.

More than that though, Luke Williamson has produced a book which allows the reader into the writers personal life in an intimate yet frank manner, with an engaging conversational style. There are moments of reflection that are shared with the reader in respect of his relationships, of family and friends that have real pathos.

The book ends with the 2010/11 pre-season friendlies just starting. As we know now, County survived in League One on the last day of the season with a 1-1 draw against Champions Brighton, with a backdrop on and off the field that mirrored the drama of 2009/10. I hope that Luke Williamson has recorded this season events as I’d willingly read his take on them.

Any good book leaves you wanting more. I Had A Wheelbarrow does exactly that.

Book Details

I Had A Wheelbarrow

(a fan’s story of a Notts County adventure)

Luke Williamson

Pure Phase Publishing

The People’s History of Football Series #2

ISBN: 9780956114440 


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