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Ex-Hammer Kevin Nolan leads Notts County to stay in the Football League

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Player-Manager Nolan saves the oldest Football League club from relegation nightmare

Notts County Press Conference Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Easter Monday featured a number of Football League matches all over England, and with the season winding down, the promotion and relegation places are starting to take shape. While some teams may feel the joy of promotion, like Portsmouth or Brighton, others such as Coventry City or Rotherham United wonder where it all went wrong along the way.

While the thrill of promotion for Brighton & Hove Albion is perhaps the biggest story of the day, 20 years after the club avoided relegation on the last day of the season and 34 years since they last appeared in the top division of English football, other compelling stories were starting to take shape all over the footballing landscape.

One of the stories that may of some interest to West Ham United fans is the fate of Kevin Nolan’s Notts County. As we’ve detailed here at Brace The Hammer before, Nolan took over managing the team in January while the club was struggling and looked almost certain for the drop. While Nolan’s time at Leyton Orient was not a happy one for the ex-Hammer captain, this stint as manager should prove to be more fruitful, as Notts as avoided non-league oblivion, at least for another season.

While Notts County lost Monday 1-3 at home to now-promoted Portsmouth, they nonetheless are out of range of the drop zone as Newport County, who are in 23rd place, lost 6-1 to another now-promoted team, Plymouth Argyle. With the results in at the end of the day, Newport County now sit at 42 points after 43 games, with three games remaining the greatest number of points they could now achieve is 51. Notts County now sits in 15th place, with a total of 53 points, ensuring that they are officially safe from relegation this season.

Hopefully, the scenes of joy from Portsmouth fans will be repeated next year by Notts County fans at Meadow Lane. The historic club has suffered in this century with dodgy ownership and bad results, but things are starting to look up for them. Their neighbors across the River Trent, Nottingham Forest, are outside of the relegation zone in The Championship for now, but not for lack of trying, as the clubs below them continue to display inconsistent form and the the final relegation spots will likely come down to the final day of the season. For now, at least, Notts County fans can breathe a little easier and look forward to next season.