That Familiar Feeling. There’s always a sense of crushing normality at this point in the summer. The night’s are drawing in, back-to-school equipment floods shop shelves and the garden furniture is dragged sodden back to the shed.
But just as we wave goodbye to one season, we welcome the warm, fuzzy familiarity of a football season truly underway. The same prematch routines kick in to control the familiar feelings of optimism and dread, as we make our way to the same seat, sat amongst the same faces.
After an uncomfortable introduction to life in the Football League against Sutton United, there’s something reassuringly familiar about Notts following their promotion from the National League. Our possession-based performances have continued, despite facing improved opposition, with Notts averaging nearly 70% possession across all league games so far.
The fact that Notts have done this while showing loyalty to the majority of the squad that helped get them out of the National League only adds to the sense of solidarity sweeping through Meadow Lane. On average, League Two sides made 12 signings this season and, with many squads still finding their feet, Notts have found their stride early and are now unbeaten in four league outings including two wins in front of over 10,000 fans at Meadow Lane.
That’s not to say that Notts’ five new additions haven’t been welcome ones. While we wait for Will Randall to recover from a preseason injury, Dan Crowley and Aidan Stone have taken to life at Meadow Lane smoothly with performances that are increasingly impressive. Crowley’s role in the goals vs Tranmere epitomises the start he’s made, expertly tying his marker in knots before threading a pass through to David McGoldrick for the first, before playing a similarly intelligent ball to Matty Palmer in the build up to Notts’ second:
The returning Jodi Jones and David McGoldrick don’t exactly feel like new faces but are already making their mark at Meadow Lane once again, contributing two goals each to Notts’ impressive nine goals in the first five games. But as importantly, both are contributing heavily to Notts’ all-round performances, utilising their experience at higher levels to lift Notts when they most need it, with McGoldrick and Jones combining well for Jones’ 50th minute equaliser vs Grimsby before Jones providing a sublime turn and cross for Notts’ winner.
One familiar face Notts fans will be delighted to be seeing much more of is Macaulay Langstaff, after he agreed to extend his stay at Meadow Lane for four years. There is little doubt that interest would’ve been high for a player who had hit 42 goals from open play last season, but as the player himself acknowledges: “The club is unbelievable…I honestly wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Langstaff acknowledges the importance happiness played for him in deciding his footballing future, and perhaps this best summarises the current mood at Meadow Lane. Despite the impending wet and windy months, despite the despondency of not seeing the sun again for a while and returning to months of central heating roulette, Meadow Lane feels a happy place to be, full of familiar faces. And that is a feeling I can get used to.
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