x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Campbell a County man

Notts County show their pulling power, despite operating in League Two, by signing the former England defender Sol Campbell.

Sol Campbell lifts the FA Cup in May 2008 after helping Portsmouth beat Cardiff City in the Wembley final.
Sol Campbell lifts the FA Cup in May 2008 after helping Portsmouth beat Cardiff City in the Wembley final.

Notts County, backed by the Qatari group Munto Finance, have shown their pulling power - despite operating in League Two, England's fourth-tier of football - by announcing the arrival of the former England defender Sol Campbell from Premier League side Portsmouth. Campbell was unveiled at a Meadow Lane press conference earlier today and joins on a free transfer. The former Tottenham and Arsenal defender, 34, is once again reunited with Sven-Goran Eriksson, County's director of football, who was his national team coach in the England set-up for five years between 2001-2006. "League-wise it's dropping down. But we have got the ambition to move up and we will," Campbell said at his press conference. "I am totally focused on getting them as a team into the Premier League and we will go from there. I just want to play football, I'm hungry." On the subject of teaming up once again with Eriksson, who he played under at two World Cups in 2002 and 2006, as well as Euro 2004 in Portugal, the giant stopper said: "He's a great man, he's known all over the world. He's a football man. He has seen the future here. It's a fantastic dream to keep on winning and get the club into the Premiership. "I'm looking at the future. Notts County, the oldest club in the world, fantastic heritage, I want to be a part of that. The club has great ambitions and I want to be a part of it." The Magpies manager Ian McParland pointed to his new recruit's achievements in the game and said he had all the right attributes to lead the club to promotion. "Sol's record speaks for itself and he's achieved just about everything in the game," said McParland. "He's a great player and a great organiser and his experience will be invaluable to our push for promotion this season. "We are very happy that he has taken on the challenge and we are looking forward to getting him settled into the team and seeing him pull on a Notts County shirt as soon as possible." Campbell has won a host of honours in a trophy-laden career. He first made headlines in the summer of 2001 when he incurred the wrath of the Tottenham fans by joining bitter rivals Arsenal on a Bosman free transfer. Campbell moved despite assurances that he would sign a new contract at White Hart Lane and would never play for their bitter north London rivals. However, the lure of Champions League football proved too much and Campbell joined the Gunners where he went on to collect two Premier League medals and three FA Cups, adding to the League Cup success in 1999 with Spurs. He was also part of Arsenal's legendary team of 'invincibles' during their unbeaten 2003-04 season. He joined Portsmouth in August 2006 where he collected another FA Cup winners' medal in 2008 and helped the club preserve their Premier League status last term. Campbell is the only England player to have played in six consecutive major tournaments, appearing for his country between Euro '96 and the 2006 World Cup, winning 73 caps in the process.

sluckings@thenational.ae * With Agencies