Can Sven-Goran Eriksson Bring Notts County To The Premier League?

Former England, Manchester City and Mexico manager Sven Goran-Eriksson did not become director of football at Notts County “for the money.”  Nor, apparently, did he go for the prestige or mild degree of difficulty.  Eriksson inherits a club that finished 19th in League Two last season, essentially the worst club in England that can be called professional.

Not only did Eriksson inherit difficulty, but he set his goal inordinately high.  He wants to bring the club nearly as old as football itself back to the top flight.

“I think it’s the biggest football challenge of my life, trying to take Notts County back to the Premier League, but that’s the target. The challenge is perhaps the most difficult football job I’ve had so far. But, I am looking forward to it.”

Eriksson signed a five-year contract.  He wants to bring the club up within those five years, meaning promotion in nearly every season.  The task is arduous.  Can Sven do it?


Lower league teams survive week to week financially.  Notts County was bought by a Middle Eastern consortium, with millions to spend.  The lower leagues have resources parity without terribly complex tactics.  Even a modest investment, could give the club a decisive advantage.  It’s not inconceivable that Notts County could spend their way to the Championship within three or four seasons.

The jump from the Championship to the Premier League, however, is bigger.  The Championship has large clubs, now including one of the largest in the world thanks to Newcastle, and seasoned clubs just down from the top flight.  Even with heavy spending and luck, promotion requires a greater level of guile.  Even QPR with its enormous financial advantage and stable building project has yet to escape.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has proven with cash he can construct a team, but he has never overseen the development of an academy and scouting infrastructure required for the top level.  Eriksson can be successful with Notts County’s raw material, but it’s an endeavor alien to his track record.

The Notts County project would be interesting in football manager.  Though, for a figure of Eriksson’s stature who would be in the mix for a Premier League or top-level European job come the first round of firings this fall, his decision to accept it seems curious.

12 thoughts on “Can Sven-Goran Eriksson Bring Notts County To The Premier League?”

  1. How many times have I heard these things before, Premier League in 5 years blah, blah, blah, but it has happened before. Fulham did the job in five years if I remember (think it was 96/97 when Al Fayed took control) so it’s possible but harder in todays climate, like you say, the Championship is more like a EPL2 league these days.

  2. He was so obsessed with playing young guys and below the radar players with Mexico, I guess he was preparing for this job by searching for players where no one else would look- no previous Mexican national team coach nor any journalist in Mexico who covers the national team. Sven made so many odd selections, even I who watches 3-5 FMF games every weekend was searching Wikipedia to find out who some of these guys were.

    Sven likes to prove to journalists and critics that he knows more than we do by picking players no one thinks about. Sometimes it works like with Martin Petrov. Sometimes it doesn’t like with Theo Walcott. And in Mexico it totally blew up in his face.

  3. Thank God Sven is back! Love the guy. Peter Trumbling seems like smart guy as well. I bet they do it. I hope they do it… just not at the expense of Fulham dropping down a league.

    England ain’t the same without Sven.

  4. I like this although I feel like if they are actually given money to buy some players sven can get them to the championship with some ease, couldn’t he just have hoped on when they got to the championship? That is a difficult enough task.

  5. Why people still spend this sort of silly money hiring Sven is beyond me. If he sticks it longer than a year (which I doubt), Notts County might eventually go somewhere, but it ain’t gonna be year on promotions.

  6. Notts County will have no problems getting to the championship. Because Sven is there players that are better than a league two level will want to play for Sven (I know he is not the manager) and I think they will be promoted this year and next year. Once they reach the championship that is where the challenge is, especially if they were promoted twice in two years if they spend a few seasons in the mid table championship, will they give up on Sven?

  7. It is purely speculation on my part (since I’ve seen nothing written about it), but I have to assume Sven has been offered a share of the team in addition to his salary. Hypothetically, this creates a risk-free shot at a financial windfall. Under this theory he still gets to collect a pretty substantial salary, but if he can get the team to the premiership he generates a tremendous back-end bonus. I’m not sure about the value of a promoted club with the history of Notts, nor can I do anything but guess at what percentage of the club he’s been offered, but is it unreasonable to suggest the value of the team could rise to 150M and that he can get 20%? A 30M option would put this project more in line with his previous wages. As for the owners, I think it still makes sense. They share both the risk and the reward, while financially incentivizing Sven to be successful.

  8. I’m dying to see them make fun of this on Special1 TV (assuming it survives Setanta’s implosion). What was the joke? “Q: What is the difference between Sven and the Swine Flu A: The swine flu had an impact in Mexico”

    I wish him the best of luck, but jeesh, talk about a self-imposed exile to Siberia!

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