Enter Jolley and enter hope

Cod Almighty | Article

by Ian Jackson

30 April 2018

Michael Jolley has turned a squad into a team. It's progress that even the youngest fan can see.

Remember me? The storyteller of my eight-year-old boy?

I'm writing again, quite emotional really. Just got back from Notts County at home. The previous home games I attended with the boy were Chesterfield and Barnet, but prior to that it was mid Xmas and losing 3-0 to Accrington. We left that game at 75 minutes and he told me he wasn't fussed much for the rest of the season.

It wasn't the result that put him off, it really wasn't. Even at 3-0 down v Accrington, he knew the soul-destroying feeling of futility; that was the lesson for me. Even a child could see what wasn't working, and that was in a grown-ups' world.

Fast forward. New manager, a six-pointer versus Chesterfield and a draw against Barnet, and generally an upturn in the young one's interest after nearly four months off. Results not really too different up until then, but a deserved late penalty, bang, a Rose goal, a win.

My boy knew who Harry Clifton was when he came on against Barnet. He knew he was local, and young. Another deserved penalty after great Clifton work down the wing, bang, penalty, a Rose goal and to where we are now. An academy newbie in the first team, who the kids know and who Jolley trusts. A renewed Hooper out wide, a back four who are stingy (Fox is a really good asset) and a man in a sharp blue suit on the sidelines who seems to be channelling Derren Brown when it comes to mind games and confidence boosting.

Notts County came perhaps not expecting what they got. A team prepared to challenge them, a team mopping up second balls and pressing when they didn't have the ball. I'm giving the method away, aren't I? A team. One goal, one vision, as it were. Same squad, different team.

Yes, emotional on my part. This season has been tough, but it now feels like a winning season when we left Blundell Park today. It's not just me: everyone seemed to be feeling like that. I'm serious as well. What we have seen, what we have gone through in the last eight to ten games has not been 2010 all over again. It has been 2018 and hope. Nobody actually wants the season to end just now. But it will: see you in August.

Thanks Mr Jolley.

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