John Sheridan announces 'a necessary and expected' clear out at Chesterfield FC
A clear out was inevitable and necessary at the Proact Stadium this summer.
Few will be surprised that as many as a dozen players have been allowed to move on to pastures new.
When Jack Lester said it would take four transfer windows to ‘sort out’ Chesterfield’s on-pitch problems, he was spot on.
Who is leaving and staying at Chesterfield FC?He was talking in terms of building the kind of team that could halt the slide the club were on, a team that would bring upward mobility, while gradually shedding the players who couldn’t do that.
He couldn’t have foreseen that he would only get one transfer window in the Town hot seat and that, before the four windows were up, another two men would occupy the manager’s office.
But it’s taken four windows for the club to finally, almost entirely, part company with the players brought in during Gary Caldwell and Guy Branston’s summer 2017 recruitment process – players who experienced relegation this time last year and some who came alarmingly close to it again this year.
It simply didn’t work out for the vast majority and now only one – Robbie Weir – remains.
John Sheridan’s 12-player cull includes four Caldwell players who Martin Allen unsuccessfully attempted to move on.
What can only be described as a bitterly disappointing two years for Joe Anyon, Brad Barry, Gozie Ugwu and Jerome Binnom-Williams has come to an end.
Effort might not have been lacking, but consistency was.
Chesterfield did not see the best of any of those players.
Only Ugwu could say, with any real conviction, that he didn’t get much of a chance to impress.
Injury saw to that last season and after seven games at the start of the 2018/19 campaign he was sent out on loan.
Binnom-Williams was a baffling case, a player with all the physical attributes to make a game-changing impact, but it only ever came in flashes.
Barry did show improvement under Sheridan but what came before simply wasn’t good enough.
And while Anyon remained a model pro throughout his stint here, he wasn’t ever really able to instill in the fanbase, or in a number of defenders, sufficient confidence in his abilities.
As for the rest, the writing was on the wall for almost all.
Louis Dodds wasn’t in Sheridan’s plans when Port Vale sent him back from loan, and despite his pedigree, never changed the manager’s mind.
Marc-Antoine Fortune, 37, didn’t do enough to prove worthy of a new deal.
At 39 a contract was even more unlikely for Michael Nelson.
Kyel Reid never really got going as a Spireite, nor did George Smith.
It’s never nice to see an academy product like Ify Ofoegbu released, but having looked close to a breakthrough once or twice, it just wouldn’t come.
It’s sad to see Sam Muggleton, recovering from horrendous injuries, facing such uncertainty at a tough time, yet there was no chance of a prolonged stay had he been fit.
The real shame is the way in which Drew Talbot departs.
Yet another injury, this time a complicated one, has robbed him of the chance of a new deal or even a goodbye befitting a legend.
He deserved better.
Hopefully football will deliver good times for him and the club he’s leaving, in the very near future.