The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

No more heroes any more

19 May 2017

Devon Diary writes: I was hoping to do another lighthearted diary today. You know, one of those 'there's not much news, let’s kill some time thinking about how many players we have in common with Alfreton' type of diaries. 

That was the plan until late morning yesterday. John Tondeur trailed it; our hearts collectively sank and then the player himself confirmed it before we'd even sat down for us teas.

Shaun Pearson didn't look like a player looking to leave. He lives in the area, he's part of the community and is involved in the club much more than players are expected to be these days. After six seasons with Town since joining us from Boston he wanted to stay, saying as much to fans and friends at the recent player of the season night at the Beachcomber.   

So, what happened? Shaun was one of two players in negotiations with the club when the retained list was announced just over a week ago, so how did that not result in a decent contract offer for arguably one of the key players of the season?

There's no point looking to the club for an explanation, of course. They were focusing on a fucking golf day and then following JT's bombshell, the club told the Telegraph that it wasn't the case.  

Still, as I write this, it looks like Shaun is off and joins the list of dedicated, decent players, like Podge and Arnold, who've inexplicably been forced to walk away from the club despite wanting to stay. From his autobiography, we know that even Macca was forced to pay the price for his loyalty. If we don't hang on to Collins and Andrew then Slade will have a bigger rebuilding job on his hands than Hursty did last summer. 

While most fans wished Shaun all the best, there were a few who suggested that he wasn't all that and that we could do better, even that he wasn't likely to improve so we needed to move him on. Seriously. Like a rewriting of Aesop's Fox and the Grapes. Words fail me. Players like Pearson (and Disley) are few and far between and in this era of approximations of football, such as FIFA and the Premier League when a player arrives at our club, willing to buckle down and work hard, both for the town and the team, we should do what is necessary to hold on to them, rather than see them return playing for a rival. 

The club needs to look at what's happened since Wembley. The surge in support and season ticket sales last summer had a lot to do with the feeling of community; the feelgood factor of Operation Promotion. If as expected James McKeown also heads out the door then young Harry Clifton will by default be our longest serving player, despite not having appeared for the first team! Think about how this looks to the younger fans who grew up with the squad and wore shirts carrying their names. Those kids' link to the team is gone. I hope Russ can find some new heroes for them. 

While Town didn't announce Shaun leaving yesterday (they do know, don't they? ) they did announce a few pre-season friendlies, including a trip to Devon. 

Apart from league fixtures, if I'm not mistaken this is our first jaunt to the land of cream teas, funny accents and er.. me, since Mike Newell led the team to the massive piss-up Errea South West Challenge back in 2009. Back then, Town played Yeovil, RRFC Montegnee and Rushden & Diamonds before pulling out of the final against Luton because of (cough) safety fears.

This time we're playing tier eight side Bideford and tier ten Tavistock. I'm looking forward to it of course, but if we're preparing for the new season and a promotion push then wouldn't a game against Torquay, Plymouth and Exeter pose a more rigorous test? 

Who's running the Shaun Pearson destination sweepestake? Wrexham, Barrow, Lincoln and now Mansfield have been mentioned. Where have YOU seen Shaun's agent today? 

Have a great weekend. UTM