Dom discusses the Retained List statement
SIGNED NEW DEALS
It’s no surprise that Dean Moxey and Asa Hall were offered new deals to stay at Torquay United. In 22-23 they remained important players, and Gary Johnson knows he can count on these veterans, even if fitness-wise there will be question marks. The biggest question mark hangs over Asa Hall. The skipper managed a reasonable 33 games last season, but with a number of plastic pitches in the NLS and another year in his legs, the skipper needs to be rotated and protected more than ever. Meanwhile Dean Moxey was still driving forward in the closing stages of the chaotic Wrexham game, a sure indication that his motivation to play football continues to be strong. A shame that both have to face the prospect of regional football, and it shows how much they care about the club, that they are happy to commit to another year.
CONTRACTED FOR 23/24
At least one good deal was done by Torquay United last year and that’s signing up Aaron Jarvis on a 2 year deal. You’d have to expect offers to come in for the striker this summer, so whether or not he’ll still be here by August is debatable. If I had to guess then I think we’ll negotiate what we can for the striker, wish him all the best and (with Clarke’s blessing!), use those funds to help with the squad rebuild. Shaun Donnellan remains at Plainmoor, and he’ll be back in a yellow shirt unless he wants to force the issue to try and stay in the NL. He should be a solid NLS player. And then you have the foursome of Brett McGavin, Ryan Hanson, Dylan Crowe and Ross Marshall. Out of those four I think McGavin has the best chance of doing well in the NLS, he is talented but needs to work on all facets of his game as we all know. Marshall has shown glimpses of being a half decent centre back, whilst Hanson and Crowe looked entirely out of their depth at Plainmoor. If agreements can be made for departures then I’d imagine at least two of those will leave for pastures new. Poor scouting here has cost us, another mess that needs clearing up this summer.
OFFERED NEW DEALS/IN DISCUSSION
It’s no-brainer to offer Mark Halstead, Tom Lapslie and Jack Stobbs deals for next season. All 3 would be more than good enough for the NLS, but I’m not sure if any of them will accept! Tom especially should not be stepping down to regional level with his qualities, and has been recently linked to Aldershot Town, so I can envisage him leaving. Meanwhile Halstead and Stobbs have decisions to make, are they happy to stay/move down South, and having played EFL football not long ago, are they happy to step down to the NLS? Stobbs clearly enjoyed his brief time down in Devon, whilst Halstead had a strong season as the undisputed number 1. Let’s hope Gary Johnson can persuade at least 1 of those 3 to sign on. Rhys Lovett is not a bad back up in goal, though maybe he’ll move elsewhere on the look out for first team football. Ollie Tomlinson’s and Dan Martin’s futures are being discussed. Ollie only got brief opportunities last season, so it’s somewhat surprising that GJ has not just released him. Meanwhile Dan’s injury and illness issues have spoilt his recent time at Plainmoor, but we know his quality when fully fit.
I’m still not sure why Olaf Koszela was offered a new deal last year, one substitute appearance on the opening day and then shipped out on loan, never to be seen again. A strange decision, it’s sad that Olaf never made an impact at Plainmoor and it has been a long time since the youth system provided anybody of note to the first team, one of the many reasons why we are a struggling non league team. Lewis Brooks, Jack Winsor and Alex Moyse were loaned out and never sniffed the first team last season, a shame but there’s no point prolonging their Torquay careers if Gary Johnson doesn’t rate them. It was hoped that Ali Omar would make strides in his United career last year, and despite some solid performances it didn’t happen. A guy full of heart who could have done a job as a NLS player, but hopefully we can do better. After playing in the EFL Ben Wyatt should have been good enough to make a strong impression in the NL, let alone the NLS, however GJ clearly feels he’s not worth pursuing further and that maybe Dan Martin is a better bet, if fit. That leaves Jacob Mensah, another player to enter the Torquay records under the category of ‘Who was he?’. A strange signing and inevitably released.
Frank Nouble is assessing options, so I don’t think we’ll see him again, well not until he’s linked to us next year anyway! Kevin Dawson is returning to Gloucester for the time being, but Gary Johnson will definitely be offering him a deal for 23/24. His inclusion would be a big boost and I’d expect him to be well up for the challenge of taking the Gulls back up to the National League. Good lad Kevin.
No surprises in this statement to be honest. It’s a disappointing one for people who think we’ll get a totally clean slate (though shipping out of unwanted contracted players is still possible) and for people who rate Ali Omar and Ben Wyatt, but overall we have to start somewhere. The list just shows how much has gone wrong in the last two years, and how much needs to be done to get this team up to scratch. Whether the likes of Jarvis, Halstead and Lapslie stay or not, Gary Johnson should still be able to assemble a strong squad for next season, one hopefully full of energy and pace to help us banish the blues of 23/24, and one that most importantly wins.