Another SW19 update in the space of a couple of days? I spoil you.
Now that the 19/20 campaign is over, and goes down in the annals of history as the strangest conclusion in modern times, it’s time to start planning for next season.
Whenever that comes, and whatever form it takes.
It’s one of the features of this time of year – and at this club more than a lot of others – where those who have been servants in the blue/yellow now have to face life elsewhere.
This of all close seasons is going to be a difficult one for many of them, although if you’re a pro footballer you should know that regardless.
In other words – the player cull is under way.
As regular SW19 readers know, this is where we go through everyone and pretty much justify why they’ve gone.
It’s a bit stranger than usual, for obvious reasons, but somehow it feels like a little bit of normality has returned.
Always felt like the fourth choice centre-back, and probably no real surprise he’s gone. Like most on the released list, one suspects wages are the main driving reason for this.
Didn’t realise he’d been here since August 2018, which might either say a lot about his contribution or the fact your editor doesn’t get to many games these days.
Signed by Ardley, reborn under Walter, but seemed to be permanently crocked after the Great Escape season.
Somebody who we spent a lot of 19/20 awaiting to return, doing so, then disappearing again soon afterwards.
Injury has done for him here, though if the rumours are true about him not always being a positive influence…
Promised so much, excited many with his crossing when he first arrived, yet ultimately failed to deliver.
No pun intended.
Maybe would have stayed on a cheaper deal if we were in normal times, but one has to wonder if the alternative version to the Starman song (“he loves a fucking sesh”) had an element of truth to it.
Hipster beard, and that fucking awful Baby Shark bollocks sung to his name. I’m glad he’s gone.
Actually, that’s more than a touch unfair, as his departure seems to be one that has raised a lot of eyebrows.
Helped tear WHU apart in the FA Cup, but never seemed to match those heights afterwards. Ran around a lot, mind you.
If anyone summed up the wretchedness of NA’s latter day transfer policy, it would be the man termed Mr Championship-Quality.
The notion that he was actually scouted beforehand seemed a preposterous one (did Ardley panic and look at old games when he was originally on loan?), although not nearly as far-fetched as the medical we supposedly gave him.
Whoever the high priest of voodoo we got in to do that was, we should ask for our money back.
Regardless of why we signed him, it never happened for Appiah here.I don’t believe he wanted to be as injured as he turned out to be, but he always played like he was one bad tackle away from ending his career.
We knew that, and I think he did too.
I forget what game it was, it was towards the back end of the 18/19 campaign, but he came on as sub and managed to look beyond slow.
Seriously, it was shocking to see him labouring about in the manner he was – he couldn’t even muster a sprint at one point.
Whether Walter did try to move him on this time last year we’ll never know – if he did, it failed due to pesky things like”contracts” and “employment law”.
His supposed wages, at a time when we needed all the pennies we could get, always felt like a piss take.
Not that I think he helped himself with blocking people on Twatter, although his farewell message is apparently more conciliatory.
That and going away on international duty despite being unavailable for us means he won’t be a cult hero somehow.
Wrong player, wrong time, and living proof of how bad our recruitment was back then…
The invisible member of the swashbuckling crew known as our centre forward lineup last season. Which is the equivalent of being the fifth best bassoonist in Libya.
Walter’s first signing, IIRC, and blew us all away with his Andy Clarke-esque runs into the area.
And like the man we called Jigsaw back then, blew himself out and eventually ended up at Bradford on loan.
Returned from Valley Parade, but one is left wondering what might have been. But that’s often the case with speedy wingers.
Reuben Collins / Finlay Macnab / Kyron Stabana / Ossama Ashley
Young lads who made cameos in the fLeasing.com type games, but never really looked like troubling the first team.
So, a fair amount departing the scene – eleven, I make it. Of course, there’s the loanees as well, who have all gone back to their parent club…
Came in on loan from Cardiff, did little wrong. The sort of player that ends up getting signed on a permanent deal if we get nobody else.
Did well to come out of the shadow of Aaron Ramsdale, though always looked like a twig.
Was unfortunate to lose out to Day thanks to WHU’s confusion, but grew into his role with us.
Mads Bech Sorensen
Like Marcus Forss, a Scandinavian from Brentford. Unlike Marcus Forss, he was somebody who singularly failed to make any sort of impact whatsoever, except for the odd booking.
One of the promising loanees, and is apparently due to be out of contract at Brighton this summer…
He had a nice name, I’ll give him that.
So, that’s the out list thus far. Sixteen I counted, but you’d be best double-checking yourself.
We’ve offered Hartigan a new (cheaper?) deal, and also Shane McLoughlin, with the interesting term of “aiming to take up the option”.
What it means – especially in context of GH’s comments to the South London Press – is that we’re not going to keep anyone costing money if we have to.
Even before CV19 that was likely to be the case, to some degree, but we’ve had to be even more ruthless.
It feels a bit like the wholesale changes we used to do in the Ryman/Conference South days, where whole squads were effectively released.
To be honest though, I’m not that fussed one bit about losing these players. It’s a cull, and we’ve done so many of them over the years, but I won’t miss them.
Our better players have been the youngsters, and most if not all of them are under contract.
Other than them, this was not a great squad.
It lacked a lot of things, too many things in truth, and we’re lucky that the demise of Bury and the Coronavirus has kept us in L1 again.
Some are lamenting that we’ve lost our “characters”, but I’m struggling to see that. There was nobody in the mould of Darius Charles or even Akinfenwa that we’ve let go.
We’ll need to rebuild, and budgets etc are TBD, but there’s many of us in the same boat.
It doesn’t matter right now whether we could have as few as eleven players on the books during the summer – next season isn’t coming back until around September.
And we haven’t even had the playoffs yet.
It’s a challenge for Hodger, who has now got a clean slate, and this is where he can build a team in his own image.
I doubt if he’s been entirely happy with who he’s had at his disposal. We can justify it with finances anyway, but we didn’t need much excuse for the departures.
Now more so than ever, there’s going to be a lot of talent about who will need to lower their wages and expectations to have employment.
We’re lucky insofar as we’ve been able to let go a lot of the high wage earners. Many clubs will still have to pay some hefty wedges this summer and beyond.
And as we’ve seen, they’re not that good in League One. Decent money is paid for a lot of crap at this level.
I don’t think we need to buy quantity this summer, though some areas need more attention than others.
Perhaps focusing on a couple of players with quality rather than five or six squad members? We saw the difference even just a Forss-type figure made for us.
Under GH, I think even the now-dismantled squad was about mid-table in terms of league position.
Undoubtedly, we were helped by our Flying Finn, and if he hadn’t got injured at Fratton Park we might not be the target of Tranmere fans’ ire right now.
The world is a different place right now. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we will be at a disadvantage…