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Could Nottingham Forest and Notts County merge?

Thursday 9th March 2017
Clubs are often built on their strong individual identity, it's their colours, crest and supporters which make the club what it is. But, what about if you combine two clubs? An almost unthinkable prospect for most supporters – but in times of peril, could these two Nottinghamshire teams come together and go forward?

Whilst club mergers are rarely heard of these days in the higher tiers of English football, we must not forget the successes that mergers have had. Newcastle United, Stoke City and Watford were all born out of multiple clubs putting aside their differences and coming together for the good of the local area.

Nottinghamshire City F.C. – Nottingham Forest & Notts County

The two clubs from the Robin Hood county rarely ever play each other; and whilst meetings can boil over – it's nowhere like the fiery atmosphere between Forest and Derby. Right now, both clubs are hanging on in their respective divisions. Nottingham Forest should just about scrape safety from relegation although a lot of that is down to the poor opposition, rather than their abilities. Notts County in League 2; are having a bit of a renaissance under Kevin Nolan – but still in the lower depths of the division placed 22nd.
Footage from one of the more recent competitive encounters between the two clubs.

The two clubs could come together for the prosperity of the city's footballing fortunes. After all, Nottingham, lest we forget has played a major role in England's football history. Notts County is the world's oldest professional football club; and forever indebted in football history. Nottingham Forest won the European Cup in 1979 and 1980.

When you look at the two clubs and their proximity; are very close. Undoubtedly they'd be some tough decisions to make. Nottingham Forest regularly gets 20,000+ strong attending their home games, whether as County tend to average less than half of that. Suggesting that the City Ground would be the ideal candidate for merged club's ground. Meadow Lane would still play an important role as the club's training facilities. The large space could even work as a footballing museum, with an emphasis on Nottinghamshire's achievements in the game. Failing that they could alternate between the two stadiums.
The two kits are rather different, so provides a relatively easy design each year. Red for home, black-and-white for away. Again, this facet can be alternated every year. In terms of a badge, it couldn't be any easier. Nottingham Forest's emblem is a tree, County's a magpie – being a bird and all – it wouldn't be too hard to graphically represent a bird in a tree.

The biggest question is – how will the fans react? The important thing with the introduction of this club merger would be to ensure the history of both clubs was preserved. None of the respective fans will forget the first professional football club was Notts County, neither two iconic European wins for Forest at the advent of a merger. It's important that the hypothetical new club considers that. Although history is history. It should be remembered and revered, but not looked to as a barometer for the future – and at the moment it's hard to see a profitable/enjoyable one for both clubs.

It's often said in football cliché law, that nobody is bigger than the club. Well here's a new one. No club is bigger than the city. The cities were here long before football; and the clubs have to pay the cities taxes, wages; just like any other business. Nottingham needs a good football club, now – before the rest of the country (and potentially world) forget the debt of gratitude owed to Nottingham. It's that why the two clubs should put differences aside and come together, for the good of the city.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 

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