It took less time than I though it would, but it’s happened – the list of players to be released has been announced. From the OS :
Jay Conroy, Derek Duncan, Elliott Godfrey, Will Hendry, Alan Inns, Ben Judge, Paul Lorraine, Ross Montague, Glenn Poole, James Pullen, Peter Rapson, Lewis Taylor, Danny Blanchett and Nathan Elder.
And all of a sudden, Gateshead feels like a totally different season.
We all had inklings about who was staying, and who wasn’t. Some of the guesses were educated, some weren’t. But it’s now plain for all to see who’s gone. Let’s break down why each individual player left…
Jay Conroy: He was never going to stay when Sam Hatton kept getting the RB position, and Ryan Jackson looks a better long term bet already. Likelyhood of getting sent off each game wasn’t going to help him.
Derek Duncan: Ultimate “meh” player of the season just gone. Never really got going, did he? Also another one likely to bring us down to ten men for every game. Can see why he’s never stayed at a club for long.
Elliott Godfrey: Won’t go full time, was only a squad player this season.
Will Hendry: The first of the 2010 failure signings. Was he ever properly fit?
Alan Inns: Big disappointment for many fans, but he’s got a decent teaching job and wouldn’t have had one more season out of him.
Ben Judge: See Inns, though he wants to go into coaching.
Paul Lorraine: Further proof that you can’t go home again, as the Americans say. We had such high hopes for him when he returned at the beginning of last year. But he always appeared clumsy this time, and was very good at scoring own goals. Guess it proves why you shouldn’t sign players from relegated clubs.
Ross Montague: This is a shame, because we apparently spent a lot of time tracking him. Too injury prone, basically.
Glenn Poole: Another 2010 failure signing. He sounds a bit of a slapped arse in the Surrey Herald today, too. His alleged strop at Gateshead on Saturday wasn’t going to get him a new deal.
James Pullen: So much for the “bug” that TB said he had. Allegedly telling a fan to fuck off during the York game clearly was the final straw for somebody whose kicking was RP level, and whose attitude towards us generally appeared pretty shitty. Can’t say we’ll miss him.
Peter Rapson: Perhaps the biggest surprise, in the Luke Pigden manner. Never really got going with us, what with being injured then going out on loan and not playing. Some suggest Matt Harmsworth has usurped him in the pecking order. Another unfortunate victim of our reserve policy.
Lewis Taylor: Another one who ultimately disappointed. Rumour mill suggests he was being touted around other clubs by his agent, so not really a surprise. Guess it must look callous to the outside world that we’re getting rid of players still on the long-term injured list though.
Danny Blanchett: Who?
Nathan Elder: I have to be honest, I feel a bit sorry for him. He never fitted in after his initial burst, and must have felt pretty unwanted when both DK and TB more or less said he wasn’t what we needed. Will forever be remembered for his miss against Grays from 2cm out.
So, 14 on the out list. I doubt if there will be any more, but you never know. We assume that Gregory, Hatton, Luke Moore and Kennedy are staying. Although not yet confirmed by the club, it’s likely that DK and JM will be putting their signature to paper, ditto Brett Johnson. Last week Ryan Jackson signed, and we guess that Seb Brown and Jack Turner will be here next season as well.
I suppose the run-in we had made it a lot easier to give out the P45s.Â Some were always going to go anyway, but you would have thought that people like Will Hendry and Lewis Taylor would have staked out some claim. There’s no point in shedding tears though, they all had their chance and they didn’t take it. Football is a cut-throat world, after all.
The more you hear of how we played against Gateshead, the less sorry I am that this has happened. Yes, it’s a lot, and we’re going to need a load of new pens for the contracts to be signed. But when you go through the list one by one (as above), none of them are a total surprise.
I do wish that TB wouldn’t say things like this though:
â€œThere is a terrific team spirit at the club, so much so that some of the players who are leaving have asked to be considered for the cup final on Wednesday night. I hope to accommodate them so that our fans can give them a proper send off.â€
If there was, why did we look like a collection of individuals at times? Unless the piss-up in Newcastle reaffirmed some friendships? Hopefully not including exchanges of bodily fluids, though. Still, nice to see that some of them want a farewell on Wednesday. They’ll miss it when they’re not playing for us.
All of which begs the question : where do we go from here? As above, there are about ten players left in the squad (though the best ten players). And now the scouting and negotiations begin. I expect we won’t have heard of most of who we get in, bit like we didn’t know who Danny Kedwell or Luke Moore were.
What we do have now is a clean slate. We don’t need to get promotion next season, or even the playoffs, so we’ve bought ourselves some much needed breathing space. I know I said that last year as well, but there’s no way we could have done in 2009 what we’ve done today. Don’t forget that at least six of the players released were with us from the BSS days, when they were signed for different reasons to what we faced since August 2009.
Anyway, now the fun really begins….