FLEETWOOD Town seem to have had nothing but happy days in recent months, but yesterday was an unhappy one which manager Micky Mellon admits he had been dreading.
Town yesterday released nine members of their Conference title-winning squad as they set about rebuilding for the Football League.
Sean Clancy, Jack Duggan, Paul Edwards, Matt Flynn, Matt Hughes, Paul Linwood, Gareth Seddon, Dave Stevenson and Magno Vieira were all told that their Highbury contracts would not be renewed, while striker Richard Brodie has returned to Crawley Town after his season-long loan.
Mellon met all the players individually yesterday, then told The Gazette: “It’s the day every manager dreads. It is never easy and it takes about six hours but you have to be professional.
“It’s very difficult because you get an emotional attachment to players, but this is the business we are in and people move on. We have done everything properly and the players leaving us know they will always be welcome back at Fleetwood Town.”
Of the nine, striker Gareth Seddon probably played the biggest part in Town’s rise to the Football League, winning promotion in two of his three seasons at the club.
He appeared in 38 of last season’s 46 league games and scored eight times.
Mellon said: “It is particularly difficult to say goodbye to someone like Gareth, who has been through so much with us, but we feel we have to move the football club on and try to take it to the next level, and that means freshening up the group.
“Gareth is a smashing lad who did very well for us. They call us big-spending Fleetwood but Gareth cost nothing and was a joy to work with.”
After a sensational first season at Town, in which he was top scorer with 22 league goals, Brazilian Vieira has struggled to hold down a place this term and his imminent move to Forest Green became public knowledge last week.
Mellon anticipates no other summer departures, with one possible high-profile exception.
The manager added: “The situation with Jamie Vardy is ongoing and we are still talking.
“We have options on all the other out-of-contract players and they will be re-engaged.”