At 4:50pm on Saturday May 3rd, Boundary Park Oldham, the Notts County great escape was completed, we had got the point we needed and finished 20th, just above that dreaded dotted line and had stayed up in League One! At 5:00pm, I was on the pitch with most of the 3,500 Notts fans who had made the trip and the players were there mingling with us and I got a hug off Callum McGregor! My day was complete!
Callum finished as our top goalscorer, 14 goals in all competitions, he was on 13 for a very long time, and suffice to say the second half of the season wasn’t as good as the first, but you could tell that this club had got under his skin, when his first loan had ended, he stayed in Nottingham and trained with the team, such was his desire to stay, and despite his form dipping and him being on the bench a lot in the run-in, he was mostly the first sub that came on to go and turn the game, but one moment will stick in the memory of all the Notts fans who were there, the goal that, in the main, was the goal that kept us up, the goal that will be seen as a turning point in this clubs history.
He returned on loan to us officially in late January, just before deadline and he scored on his second debut an absolute worldy free kick, unfortunately, we were 5-0 down at the time so it didn’t matter but still a great goal! That was his last goal up to end of April as the squad and team were shattered of any kind of confidence and losing games aplenty, as new boss Shaun Derry tried to stamp his ideas on the club and some of the squad had had their nose put out of joint and were asked to leave, others just weren’t good enough, but Callum stuck with it and even in those games that I don’t want to remember, such as the 6-0 defeat away at Rotherham, you could tell he actually was trying, which in that team, at that time, was an achievement in itself.
It has been his first full season in league football, and he is still a young lad so it was obvious that his form would dip, but he kept his head down and he got on with it and his reward for all that perseverance was that goal!
At home to Swindon Town, our last home game of the season, they still had a mathematical chance of the play-offs so it was a hugely important game. We went 1-0 up in the 9th minute, the rest of the game is a blur to me, was just so tense and horrible. Swindon then had two players sent off at the end of the game as they had lost their heads and then in the 99th minute, a Swindon free kick, their keeper came up for it, a last throw of the dice, but it was cleared to Jamal Campbell Rice, and he saw Callum racing up next to him, the pass was perfect, Callum controlled it and just inside the penalty area, he placed it into the open goal, and at our own Kop end as well, the crowd went absolutely wild as Callum raised his arms! It will be a moment in years to come that will be seen as a turning point as I hope we don’t ever have a season like this one again. The fact that all of the team went to him to celebrate the goal showed the new togetherness that had been put in the team, but it showed how important that goal was and how pleased everyone was that it was young Callum that had scored it.
So we say goodbye to Callum, we wish him all the best and thank him so much for all his efforts and his goals and the memories of this season. I believe he could play for Celtic and do well, god forbid Kris Commons ever gets injured but Callum could step into his role and do well in there, and he could go up front and cause problems as he lies deep and runs at players, he’s got skill aplenty, he’s got a great shot on him, he is genuinely, a very good player who could go on and have a great career. I do have hope that maybe we could get him to come back to Notts, a pipe dream obviously, but you can always hope.
Thank you Callum, Hail Hail!
Ian Marsden (@IanMarsden76)
Check out Ian’s half seasons report from January.