Notts County appoint Ian Burchnall as new manager

Ian Burchnall will replace Neal Ardley at the club. Credit: Notts County FC

Notts County Football Club has appointed Ian Burchnall as its new manager.

It's after first-team manager Neal Ardley and assistant manager Greg Abbott parted ways with the club on Wednesday (24 March), following an amicable meeting with the club's owners.

The owners of the football club say they have "huge respect" for Ardley and "will never forget the job he did in guiding us to last season’s play-off final at Wembley and some of the excellent performances he has extracted from the team during our time at the helm".

Despite the "upturn in recent results", the owners added that they've had to "consider many factors which far outweigh our results in the last few matches".

The owners have also thanked the assistant manager Greg Abbott, who has been described as a "terrific support to Neal and a valuable member of our backroom team since his arrival last year."

Notts County are not inviting applicants for the manager's position but say it will provide an update for supporters in the near future.

Analysis by ITV News Sports Correspondent, Steve Clamp

When a football manager is sacked, the majority of fans are usually pleased, or at least relieved and hopeful of better to come.

But social media paints a different picture in the case of Neal Ardley.

"Wow, genuinely shocked" was the first line of one tweet, "Absolutely gutted" was another, while this one "Decent manager and a good bloke, the best in years. Hope we don't live to regret this" was the third I read.

To be certain I wasn't painting an unfair reflection of fans' thoughts I scrolled through another 30 tweets, only four thought it was a good decision.

Most pointed out that the club were in a playoff position and overall performances on the pitch had been better in recent weeks. 

However, the club statement that came with his departure was interesting , this wasn't a knee jerk reaction, this was something that the club's owners, who are from a football stats background, had given consideration to over a long period.

And if anything, at least it is refreshing to see owners making managerial decisions based on a long term view and not just a few results.  

However, there is one statistic that perhaps suggests this is harsh on Ardley.

Notts County have only lost two games in this calendar year. Two losses in 16 games, not a bad record for any manager with any team.

And this decision leaves the club with a level of uncertainty as they approach the FA Trophy semi final this weekend, let alone the fast approaching matches that could make or break their aim of returning to the football league.

My dealings with Ardley echo the view of that tweet from earlier: "A good bloke".

And his record last season and this suggest he was far from a bad manager, arguably quite a good one.

So whoever is coming in to replace him will have big shoes to fill and a clear mandate.

They must take Notts County back to the Football League. If they don't, many fans will say Neal Ardley should never have gone.

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