My name is Paul Donaldson, I was born and raised in the Mapperley & Gedling areas of Nottingham.
To say that I’m a big Notts County fan is an understatement. I have nearly every Home and Away shirt for the past 25 or so seasons, plus a few collectables like signed footballs of the 93 Championship winning side, the 150th Celebration Legends Match Ball and the 2017/2018 season squad, and a few signed shirts with all signatures. I can also include a montage of Colin Slaters all-time best Notts Team signed by Colin Slater himself and the late great and legendary Notts County Manager Jimmy Sirrel.
It all began during childhood, my father; himself an ardent Notts fan, would take my brother and I to watch The Pies.
I recall going down to the ground and being passed over the turnstiles in the County Road Stand. Two big hands in black gloves of a Policeman holding on to me, until my father collected us to go into the County Road side. We would be perched on the black crush barriers which where all over the stand and hold on to us whilst we all watch the game. Then it was players such as Trevor Christie, Pedro Richards, Ian McCulloch, Raddi Avromovich, Arthur Mann, Willy Carlin, Ian Scanlon and the like, everyone a hero
The 80’s and into the 90’s were no different, apart from being perched on the crush barriers!!! I could stand by then. Saturday afternoons were dominated by either going down the lane with my younger brother, standing at the back of County Road, singing and chanting and watching the likes of Tommy Johnson Mark Draper, Kevin Bartlett, or having my ear stuck to Radio Nottingham and the excellent commentary of Colin Slater.
I was a season ticket holder from 2000 till 2015. I have sat in Z Block in the Jimmy Sirrel Stand and in top tier of the Kop, since home supporters were allowed back in. There was always a great atmosphere, and along the way I made some good friends in the process. By the way who agrees that the Kop should be renamed The John Mountney Stand?? I do. He was a great man who I had the pleasure of driving around with wife Daphne on many occasions. He was like a stick of rock with Notts County right through every bone in his body.
Best games ever? Would be the two championship winning end of season games , and the Coca Cola cup game against Tottenham Hotspur when we beat them 3-0 at Meadow Lane. This one sticks in my mind because a friend, who was with me at RAF Coningsby, was a huge Tottenham Fan. Leading up to the match he kept boasting it would be a walk over for Spurs! Yeah right! Needless to say the conversation was very limited on the trip back from Nottingham to Coningsby.
Whilst serving in the Royal Air Force, all over the world, I had a Notts County Shirt with me! When we played football at work, the Black & White stripes would come out, and the mickey taking would begin, Did it bother me? Never. I always was and still am proud of my team
For many years when arriving back in Nottingham from Germany, I still came to the games played during my visit. It gave me the chance to meet up with old friends and go to the games together, travelling home and away travelling in my little red smart car good times had by all.
I now live on the West Coast of Ireland in County Mayo. You would be surprised how popular Notts County is out here. Local hero Ronan Murray played for Notts as did a lad called Cieron Keane who hails from Nottingham but has strong connections here.
Via the App I listen to every game. Will miss Colin Slaters dulcet tones. I do miss coming to the lane every other Saturday and Tuesday but hope to get to a few games this season which, after the past few years, looks an exciting prospect under Kevin Nolan.
And, I have a new convert to Notts County. My Godmother who has just turned 70. Been to one game and she can’t wait to get to the next!!