Seven Mansfield Town players have today been released as manager Adam Murray began his promised summer cull.
Defenders Lee Beevers, Michael Raynes and Martin Riley, midfielders Simon Heslop and Ricky Ravenhill, striker Alex Fisher and young keeper Sasha Studer have all left the club.
Murray will meet with strikers Liam Hearn, and Rakish Bingham later in the week. And decisions have been delayed on long term injured duo Matty Blair and Luke Jones.
Junior Brown, Liam Marsden, Jamie McGuire, Ollie Palmer, Matt Rhead, and Ritchie Sutton have all been offered new deals while extension clauses in the contracts of Reggie Lambe and Ryan Tafazolli have been activated.
Joe Fitzpatrick, Dan Fletcher, Corbin Shires and Jack Thomas are already under contract for next season and fellow youngsters Anthony Dwyer and Chris Spencer have now also been offered professional deals.
Loan players Callum Elder, Terry Hawkridge, Vadaine Oliver, Lenny Pidgeley have all returned to their parent clubs and centre half John Dempster has accepted a permanent role as academy manager.
I imagine the lads walking out today will be hurting. But it’s part and parcel of the industry
Murray said: “It’s not been a very nice day. Obviously you’re speaking to people about their futures and their livelihoods, so it’s not been a pleasant day, but it’s obviously something that comes with the industry and something that needed to be done.
“Today has been horrendous and has not put me in the best of moods, and I imagine the lads walking out today will be hurting. But it’s part and parcel of the industry.
“We haven’t just offered contracts to people we feel are technically good, we’ve offered contracts to people that we feel can impact the group and certain games and certain situations in different ways.
“We’ve also given ourselves the space and the opportunity for movement to bring in a fairly large number of players that we feel will be able to add to the core of good people we’ve offered contracts to to take the club forward.”
Of the players offered deals, more money on better offers elsewhere could yet see some of them jump ship and Murray admitted: “In all honesty it could be a 50-50 split.
“We’ve offered what we feel is value for money for the product and the part the product can play within our environment and within us moving forward, so it will be down to the lads to decide what they feel is best for them and if they feel they want to be part of what we are doing here.
“We’ve offered people what we feel is fair. Like any industry you have to sensible with your contract offers and your business work. It’s a tough business and have to make sure you put the right eggs in the right baskets.
“It could end up that it could be a complete overhaul because we’ve only got the young lads that are on contract and a couple of options that we’ve taken up. It could be big change, but we knew that would be the case.
“I feel the club has been in a certain tunnel for a few years now and we need to move on and go down a different tunnel now with a new, fresh focus. That has started today and the positivity that that brings is good because it’s been a long old season for a lot of us.
“It’s important now that we refocus, re-energise. You’ve seen the lists coming out of the the clubs around the country over the last few days and they will do for the next seven to 10 days, so it’s all go at the minute.”
Murray would clearly love to have a fit Blair and Jones for next season, so is happy to bide his time a little longer and see how they are healing.
He said: “The actual contracts don’t expire for a couple of months, so there is still a little bit of breathing time that we need to look into. We want to look at people’s progress, sit down and have a chat with them and find out where we move forward.”
Murray is also hoping to bring in his intended targets as soon as possible.
“I’d like to move quite quickly on a couple of things,” he said.
“Obviously it doesn’t happen like that, there’s a lot of negotiating to do and a lot of work behind the scenes. I’d like to set a precedent how we go about this transfer summer and, like a say, there is going to be a lot of movement.
“I think you’re looking at least 10-13 new bodies in which is a big one – and that’s minimum. So there is a lot of rebuilding to be done.
“I think people have seen with the core of young lads we have coming through, if we can add the right experience and the right calibre of player then the future is bright. We have to make sure we do out homework well.
“We’ve got some good players we are talking to and it’s a positive place at the minute.”
Murray is excited by the youngsters coming off the club production line right now, but stressed they wouldn’t be expected to go straight into the side.
“We must be patient with them and some of them will go out on loan straight away to gain the experience and game time they will need,” he said.
“We’ve gone through the mill the last few months so it’s good to have a bit of light next season at the end of the tunnel.”