Jimmy & Jack - Legends of The Lane
Launched in May 2010, the aim of the Jimmy & Jack Memorial Fund was to once and for all create a statue for Jimmy Sirrel and Jack Wheeler. The fund formed a committee May 2010 whose role is to ensure the management of the fund and to co-ordinate and manage a campaign. The committee hold’s a monthly meeting at Meadow Lane and amongst those attending are Colin Slater MBE and the Magpies all time number one goalscorer Les Bradd, who also act’s as the fund patron.
The statue has already been designed with sculptor Andrew Edwards and the fund intend to raise the money in time for the monument to be unveiled during the club's 150th anniversary season – 2012-13.
If there is one name synonymous with success at Notts County it is Jimmy Sirrel. The Scot is considered the greatest manager in the history of the World’s Oldest League club, leading them from the basement division to the top flight during his spells at the club.
Jimmy grew up in Bridgeton, Glasgow amidst the razor gangs and ‘malky’s’ of that time. He said that he could never see any point in getting mixed up in that business and stayed well clear of the religious problems in the city as a young man. During the war, Jimmy went to sea and came back to begin his professional football career being offered contracts by Rangers and Arsenal as well as Celtic.
Progressing into management, Jimmy took over County in1969. He quickly turned the side into a hard working, tough to beat team with players like Don Masson and Les Bradd and in his second season at the club Jimmy’s team won the Fourth Division title in storming fashion, remaining unbeaten at Meadow Lane and conceding just 36 goals.
After just missing out on a second successive promotion, the following season, the 72-73 season saw Notts move their way up to the second tier after a second half to the season which saw them lose just twice. Sirrel left to take charge at Sheffield United. but after just two years he returned to Meadow Lane leading County to secure a return to the top flight of English football.
In 1993 Meadow Lane was redeveloped and Sirrel’s accomplishments were honoured when the County Road stand was renamed the Jimmy Sirrel Stand in his honour.Jimmy Sirrel died, aged 86, on September 25 2008, Sirrel was laid to rest on October 7th 2008, his funeral attended by some of the biggest figures in football including Sir Alex Ferguson and Howard Wilkinson.
To many people Jack Wheeler is “Mr Notts County”, the former goalkeeper, born William John Wheeler, came to Meadow Lane in 1957 and worked in various capacity at the club until arthritis of the hip forced his retirement in 1983.During that time Wheeler never missed a first-team match, attending 1,152 consecutive games. Wheeler filled a range of roles including trainer, coach, caretaker manager and scout and many people will comment on Sirrel and his magic sponge, reference to the old bucket and sponge treatment used for injured players back during Wheeler’s time at the club.
In recognition of Wheeler’s services to the club he was awarded lifetime membership and a permanent seat in the Meadow Lane Director’s box, the Meadow Club was also named Wheeler’s Bar in his honour until the summer of 2010 when the venue was renamed the MLSB. One of the clubs banqueting suites is now named in Wheelers honour. Jack Wheeler passed away on 10 January 2009 at the age of 89.