Football: Relegation ends Notts County's 131-year stay in Football League

A 1994 photo shows Wolves' Steve Bull and Notts County's Dean Yates in action in a English First Division match.
A 1994 photo shows Wolves' Steve Bull and Notts County's Dean Yates in action in a English First Division match.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Notts County's 131-year stay in the Football League is over after a 3-1 defeat at Swindon condemned the oldest club in England's top four divisions to relegation on Saturday (May 4).

County needed to win and hope relegation rivals Macclesfield lost to Cambridge to stand any chance of staying up.

Kane Hemmings gave County hope in the 53rd minute when he slammed home a penalty after Craig Mackail-Smith had been fouled in the area by Tom Broadbent.

But Kaiyne Woolery's equaliser and a brace from Theo Robinson helped Swindon send County crashing out of League Two into the National League.

Formed in 1862, County's mantle as the oldest Football League club now passes across the River Trent to Nottingham Forest, who were founded in 1865.

Some claim Stoke are the oldest league club, but even City's own website admits "many details remain sketchy" about their formation, purported to be in 1863.

While County have rarely enjoyed sustained success in their long history, they are famous for providing current Italian champions Juventus with the colours for their iconic black and white striped kit.

In 1903, County answered the call of a Juventus player, an Englishman named John Savage, to send a set of the club's black and white striped shirts to replace the old pink ones worn by the players of the Italian side since their foundation six years earlier.

Juve never forgot the gesture and remembered their roots when it came to the inaugural game in their new stadium in September 2011, with County provided the opposition in the Juventus Arena.