Notts County fans have spoken of their “excitement and nerves” ahead of the Magpies’ National League Play-off final against Harrogate Town at Wembley on Sunday August 2.
County will visit Wembley for the first time since 1996 in an attempt to bounce back from their demoralising relegation out of the Football League in 2018-2019.
They will face Harrogate Town – who are hoping to play in the Football League for the first time in their 106-year history.
Notts manager Neal Ardley has said that promotion would be “fantastic” for the club and would be cause for “celebration” after a turbulent 18 months.
“What we have achieved in the last 18 months has been pretty remarkable,” he said.
“People who are close to the club will know that. I am not going to let one game define that.”
County’s opponents, Harrogate Town, are hoping to enter the Football League for the first time in their history and have made the National League play-offs the past two seasons.
Ardley has warned of the North Yorkshire side’s fast starts and ability to score early.
“They [Harrogate] play with a real intensity and we will have to match that,” he said.
“We have to be ready for that,” he added.
“At the moment, I’m feeling incredibly nervous but whatever happens, I will be so proud”
Notts fan Adam drifill
Notts County earn their right to play in the final, after beating Barnet 2-0 at an empty Meadow Lane on July 25.
Fans will not be in attendance at Wembley for the final, so will be consigned to following the game from afar.
Notts fan Adam Drifill will be one of the many fans watching at home alongside the “generations of Notts fans” that are in his family.
“I am absolutely gutted that I won’t be able to go to Wembley,” he said.
“At the moment, I’m feeling incredibly nervous but whatever happens, I will be so proud.”
Other fans have expressed their nerves and excitement ahead of the final.
What I’d give to be back at Wembley cheering on @Official_NCFC today. ⚫️⚪️👏🏻🏟
— Simon Ball-McQueen (@SBallMcQueen) August 2, 2020
Good luck to Notts County today with their play off final. The biggest club in Nottingham. #youpies
— Michael Vallely (@mick_vallely) August 2, 2020
The Magpies were taken over in the summer of 2019, by Alexander and Cristoffer Reedtz who own sports betting company Football Radar.
Charlie Slater, who works for BBC Radio Nottingham, has spoken about the impact of the new owners and the “stability” their ownership has brought.
“You cannot underestimate the importance of stability at a football club and too often there isn’t stability at football clubs,” he explains.
“The owners deserve a huge amount of credit for coming in, backing the manager and then stepping back and allowing him [Neil Ardley] the chance to do his work.”
Charlie Slater on Notts’ recent off field struggles
Win or lose, Notts fate will be decided at Wembley with either another season in the National League or promotion to League Two beckoning.
“I think if Notts play their game, get their patterns going and stop Harrogate implementing their style, they are favourites,” he offers.
“It may come down to who handles the occasion better.”