Date: 24th January 2011 at 8:03pm
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Vital Manchester City turns its attention to this weekend’s FA Cup Fourth Round tie at Meadow Lane and today, we focus on John Anderson, a Notts County fan of 30 years.

The last time both clubs squared up to one another in the FA Cup was way back in 1995 when City defender, David Brightwell managed to level the score at 2-2 and take the Magpies back to Maine Road. The subsequent replay saw Blues legend Uwe Rosler hit the County net four times. The final score, for those who can’t remember saw the Citizens go through to the Fifth Round 5-2 winners.

VMC would like to thank John, who incidentally volunteered time out from the FootyMad Network to answer the following.

VMC – The FA Cup Fourth Round is a special occasion especially when your team is drawn at home. Are the County fans looking forward to the game and if so, why?

John – “Very much so. We have a decent team who might just unsettle you and if not it’ll be great to see your stars in front of a sell out. There is a great atmosphere at Meadow Lane even when it’s got 6,000 in it. Better I dare say than half the Premiership grounds!”

“Everyone always says the league is much more important than a cup game but there’s something honest about the FA Cup where suddenly your status isn’t worth as much, it’s 11 against 11 and a just a chance for glory and dreams and all that…surely football is about an escape from the mundane and predictable; and a chance for some magic! Think the FA cup offers that in a way that is unique.”

VMC – The local press are always pivotal to the ‘big match’ build up. What, if anything are they saying about the visit of Manchester City?

John – “I’m not local to Nottingham at the moment so I’ve not caught much.”

VMC – According to Wikipedia website Meadow Lane’s capacity is just over 17,000. Are you expecting a sell out?

John – “Health and Safety!!! Have heard a few variations of why this is but basically our 20,500 stadium is reduced to 17,500 give or take courtesy of the local council. But the atmosphere will be great and definitely a sell out.”

VMC – Which County players should City be worried about?

John – “I think what has made us the best Notts team in years over the last two seasons has been that they are strong as a team. That and Lee Hughes who is the best striker I have seen at Notts for 20 years. He’s a bit like Paula Radcliffe – doesn’t really look all that comfortable the way he moves but he’s class. That said he has some quiet games so it might not be obvious that he’s world class on the day (tho I really hope it is!).”

“Another player to watch is if we manage to get Ince Jnr back from Liverpool – his touch is magic. A bit inexperienced but exceptional quality running with the ball.””

VMC – City has spent millions on new players and some say they are trying to buy the Premier League title. What are your thoughts?

John – “Think most Notts fans have a unique perspective on this. In late summer 2009 we were bought by Munto Finance and were suddenly one of the richest clubs in the country.”

“Sven came, Schmeichel came, Sol came (and went the next day), £millions were going to be invested and suddenly everyone was interested in us. Rumours that Beckham and Raul were joining; surrounding land round the ground was going to be invested in for hotels, casinos, youth academy facilities and most importantly of all a monorail was going to be built!”

“To cut a long story short (involving Munto not existing, near bankruptcy, bizarre false promises and Svenos letting us off millions of pounds owed to him) the money was never there. Our new chairman Ray Trew came in and picked up the pieces. Despite much disappointment and scepticism at the time he has been an absolute life saver and more than that seems to love the club.”

“Anyway with all that in mind to answer your question I think more than most we wouldn’t despise you having some real money to spend. In an ideal world players wouldn’t get paid millions, fans could watch games for a tenner and money wouldn’t be so much part a part of the game.”

“Personally I love supporting Notts with all the ups and downs and I think most people see the average City supporter as a bit of a tortured soul (no disrespect) so wouldn’t be too down on you having all that cash.”

VMC – How long have you followed Notts County and do you go to home and away matches?

John – “30 years – since I was seven. First game I went to we beat Aston Villa 2-1 at home (I think – it’s all a bit blurred – think they were recent European champions (Villa not Notts) but under Sir Jimmy Sirrel anything was possible in those days). I watch Notts as much as I can but I live in Sheffield and have two young lads who aren’t quite old enough to watch Notts yet so get to around 15 games a year.”

VMC – County are in the bottom half of League One. Where do you think the club will finish come the end of the season?

John – “Having had about 27 managers in the last two seasons it’s a bit hard to tell where we are heading generally speaking. Under Cotterill last year we started winning every game – not always beautiful but effective. Think Ince has started to bring some of that steely efficiency back (that we lost after Cotterill left). Plus we can play decent football.”

“If we don’t get too carried away with the cup run think we should get in the play-offs. Perhaps with a couple of additional players.”

VMC – Who will win the FA Cup?

John – “Us or City. Or maybe Arsenal.”

VMC – Notts County v MCFC. Who will win and your score prediction is…?

John – “The way we played at Sunderland was class and I think we genuinely deserved the win. But the gap is so big between us and you. Hope springs eternal though…so somewhere between 2-1 to Notts and 6-1 to City.”

Thanks John.


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