Having secured our league two safety a month or so before the season was out- and let’s face it, even staying up seemed an impossibility earlier in the season- its fair to say that Yeovil Town FC have had plenty of time to get things together. Manager Darren Way knows which players he wants to keep and which ones he doesn’t, and largely, his retained and released list didn’t contain too many surprises. Jack Compton, a winger who is amazing on his day but tends to go missing in tougher games, was let go, and so were Marc Laird and Jakob Sokolik. In the end, these players would have been welcome to stay another season, but for whatever reason they were unable to stay and none of them are what I would describe as untouchable. They can- and will- be replaced. Other players who released, too, although they all were injury prone or just not good enough, and thus were no real surprise.
Meanwhile, there was some good news for fans of Yeovil’s talented and talismanic Polish goalkeeper, Artur Krysiak. He has seemed a two year contract which should see him see out two more seasons, at least, barring a bigger club putting in an offer for him. If they do, though, it won’t be disastrous- they will need to pay the club money to get us to part ways with a contracted player. Ryan Dickson, who has shared the captaincy with Darren Ward this season, signed a new contract also. From what I’ve heard, he has accepted a slightly smaller weekly wage in exchange for an extra year on his contract, which goes to show that sometimes job security is worth more than a huge pay packet. Nathan Smith, a revelation at centre back, has extended his stay at Huish Park for a further year. All of this is good news, but with a few players yet to accept their contract offers and the loan players returning to their player clubs, there is still room for fresh blood in the squad- and at least a couple of those additions should be permanent signings.
In terms of recruitment, it is clear that a right back is on the shopping list, what with the club having to rely on Swansea loanee Connor Roberts last year. He did a fantastic job and thoroughly deserved the many awards he got given at the end of the season, but ideally, a more permanent option may be preferred. A lot of fuss has made about former York City full back Marvin McCoy, who has been released from the club to free up their budget upon their delegation into the conference. He would be the right sort of player- an experienced league footballer, but one that would be unlikely to demand big wages. Geography may play a part, however, with Yeovil a very unattractive proposition for Northern-based footballers. A striker is also essential- even if Francois Zoko decides to stay. One striker is fine, but you need a few reliable people and whilst Ryan Bird is a decent poacher, he is utilised much better as an impact sub. Another starting attacker would be needed or, at the very least, a creatively minded attacking midfielder who could provide that killer ball that Yeovil have been lacking too many times this season. And with Compton gone, a decent wide player is needed, assuming of course that DW decides to play a formation that uses the wings. Of course, at this level, wing play cannot be ignored, and so a pacy wide man should be signed even if he operates as a boost from the bench. Jermaine McGlashan has been released, and I’ve always been a big fan of the player, and some fans have suggested him as a potential signing, but I feel that his wage demands may be beyond our budget.
As for strikers, I have no idea. Darren is off to Toulon on a scouting trip today, to oversee an under 18s and under 21 international tournament. However, whilst he suggested he would be viewing a few England matches, I don’t think he will find much success for potential loan players there. The likes of James Ward-Prowse and John Swift are playing, and they are on the periphery of Southampton and Chelsea respectively. A loan deal might be tempting for them, but it certainly won’t be at a league two club. Instead, I highly suspect Darren is going to make friends with coaches and scouts from other clubs and try to network a little. There may be another youth player at one of these clubs that would be the perfect fit for us. He’s doing it to gain contacts as much as to gain players.
Also, with Chris Weale having been released, the club are without a second choice keeper and also, by extension, a goalkeeping coach. To continue as a football league club without a coach for goalkeepers would be draft, but whether a new staff member will be recruited or whether a current staff member will have their role changed remains to be seen. As for a substitute goalie- well, things aren’t quite so desperate on that front. Yeovil can rely on Academy keeper James Needles to fill the bench and, if they are hit by an injury or suspension crisis and can prove they have no suitable first team keepers available, the FA rules still state they are allowed to negotiate a short term loan deal for a goalkeeper- but a goalkeeper only. If won’t be ideal, but it is a situation that at least can be managed, should it arise. However, Chris Dunn- who formerly was the understudy to Marek Stech during Yeovil’s Championship season- has been released by Cambridge. He had a good time at Yeovil and, quite frankly, I get the feeling he would’ve stayed had the club not released him. Maybe he can be tempted back to Somerset, although perhaps in a coaching capacity, rather than to compete for the Number One jersey. Whether he would be happy with that is another thing, and whether he would want to return to a club who showed him the door once before is another consideration.
As long as Darren is given the budget he needs, and the time to build his squad, he should be fine. The more players that stay, the better- it helps build chemistry between players and it shows faith in both the manager and the club. However, if this summer resulted in a mass exodus of players, it wouldn’t be the first time that Yeovil have had to rebuild a squad from next to nothing. After all, we operated for years with only loan goalkeepers, which should tell you all you need to do about how desperate things can get at this club. But I’m sure Darren already has targets in mind, many of which none of us will have even thought of, and I’m sure he is already working tirelessly- as is his mandate- to recruit the best people he can. Yeovil will do what we have always done and ACHIEVE BY UNITY.