Notts County is the oldest of the world’s professional association football clubs. There are older professional clubs in other codes of football, and Sheffield F.C., an amateur club founded in 1857, are the oldest club now playing association football. Founded in 1862, Notts County became one of the founder members of the Football League when it was formed in 1888.
Third place finishes in the top tier in 1891 and 1901 represent their best ever league position. They won the FA Cup in 1894, having been beaten in the final 3 years earlier in 1891.
They are nicknamed the Magpies due to the black and white stripes of their home kit, a kit which was copied by Juventus in 1903. However, since the War, they have tended to bump up and down around the 3rd tier. There have been some golden years, masterminded by manager Jimmy Sirrel and trainer Jack Wheeler. The pair brought the club from the lower reaches of the 4th tier, back up to the top tier – an achievement they eventually managed in 1981. But there have also been some darker days. Financial struggles culminated in County being relegated from the EFL for the first time in their history in 2019. After 2 seasons of play-off failures they finished last season with 107 points but were still second to Wrexham. However, this time the play-offs went well (albeit not without incident) and they defeated Chesterfield on penalties in the final to secure the 2nd promotion spot to the EFL last season.
The club have probably the largest number of overseas fans in the EFL. These are mostly from Hungary and Italy, apparently! Perhaps the Italian connection shouldn’t surprise – on 8th September 2011, to mark the opening of their new stadium in Turin, Juventus invited Notts County for an historic exhibition match.
The club’s main rivalry, not surprisingly, is with Nottingham Forest. But nowadays they are more likely to play another Nottinghamshire rival, Mansfield Town. Derby, Lincoln and Chesterfield also figure as local(ish) rivals.