Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The end of an era

Its that time of year again when players get released from their clubs. Fans favourites are let go, that prospect who looked so good 6 months ago has not quite improved and doesn't make the grade. Its a tough time for the players, after all this is their livelihood we are talking about.

These aren't Premier League players we are talking about, most of the average ones are on £30-40k a week plus bonuses. These are players earning on average £30k a YEAR. These are players that when they retire they don't end up with newspaper columns or on Match of the Day most of them will never play above League 2. Yet every week 95% of them work hard and make the most of the talent they have.

At every club there is that player, that 5% who don't quite put the effort in, we've all seen them down the years, a flash of brilliance then nothing for 6 months. They frustrate us, polarise fans opinion, we wonder how they can waste the talent they were born with, for them I have no sympathy when contract renewal time comes around and they don't get the renewal. They only have themselves to blame.

Then there's my club who this week have released 5 of our first team regulars. Our captain Mark Arber, a veteran of over 650 league games and has been at the Daggers since Christmas of our first league campaign. He played for most of the season with an injury, and played his part in keeping us up. Peter Gain, our battling midfielder who unfortunately spent moist of this year injured. When hes fit he is the lynch pin of our side and we missed him massively this year when he was injured.

Damien McCory who replaced the popular Scott Griffiths and the shambolic Jamie Day. He has battled for a regular spot this season with fans favourite Femi. On his day hes excellent, unfortunately he hasn't had that many this season as his form has been sporadic. Phil Walsh has been a bit part player who always tried his best but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

Finally we have the ever versatile Jon Nurse, our Wembley hero, the man who made me cry with joy as he shanked in the winner, the Chuckle Brothers faces fell to the floor and we were in raptures as we entered the promised land of League 1. He has played in so many positions for us and has been an excellent player and loyal servant.

Two years ago we were playing at Wembley, since then we have sold Paul Benson, Danny Green, Romain Vincelot, Tony Roberts retired and now we have the contracts ending of Mark Arber, Damien McCory, Jon Nurse, Peter Gain and Phil Walsh. In the Premier League you don't lose that amount of players but in League 2 you do. Some move on to higher wages and bigger clubs. Others don't.

We had to use some of this coming seasons budget on getting players in to help us survive last year when we had all the injuries and the knock on effect of that has been there is no money to renew the players who's contracts have expired. Some of our fans think that some of them are too old now and the time is right for them to move on.

Me? I think if we have another injury crisis like we did last year we really are going to be in trouble, but I'm a realist and this is the price of a club that gets 1500 average home gates. Its always sad when a player leaves your club, football is such a short career as it is anyway, the only constant is us the fans.

However that is not to take away from the service the players have given and I wish them well. It does appear though that there may be a chance they could stay if we can get some funds in by selling a few, for now though they face an uncertain future, a footballers life is not all glory, LA partying lifestyle that is often portrayed in the press especialy in the lower leagues. Its about men paying mortgages and keeping their heads afloat just like you and me and that why I support the club I do.