League Two side Torquay United have today continued their summer clear-out by releasing one player from his contract and making another available for sale.
This week has so far seen defenders Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and Ed Palmer released, winger Lloyd Macklin transfer-listed, and Nathan Craig, Ryan Jarvis and Ashley Yeoman offered new deals to keep them at the club for 2012-13.
Not content with an already busy week, United boss Martin Ling has now added utility player Chris McPhee to the club’s growing transfer-list. McPhee, who can play both in midfield and upfront, first joined the Gulls in 2006 and was re-signed by Ling in June of last year.
However, the ex-Kidderminster man has found first-team action at Plainmoor hard to come by in his second spell at the club, prompting Ling to believe that the 29-year-old’s future lies elsewhere. Indeed, the ex-Cambridge chief told Torquay’s website “I feel it would be best for him to move on. For someone at the age of 29, Chris needs to be playing regularly and he is a squad player here… a player of his age would want more than that and I want more than that for him.”
McPhee made 26 league appearances for United this season, scoring twice. Many of his games came early in the season, and the Sussex-born man struggled to hold down a starting role or even a place on the bench during the latter stages of Torquay’s league campaign. Ling concurs: “He wasn’t getting in the squad towards the end of the season… he has gone from a bench-player with a couple of starts to someone out of the squad”.
More controversial is Ling’s decision not to offer Kenyan international Taiwo Atieno an extension to his expiring one-year contract. The former Puerto Rico Islanders frontman scored 7 goals in all competitions and appeared in all bar one league fixtures during his only season at Plainmoor, but as Ling explains, the decision was taken with the club’s small budget in mind: “It came down to a flat choice between Tai and Ryan Jarvis. I feel I’ve had the peak of Tai but not the peak of Ryan Jarvis, and I feel the peak of Jarvis will be better. I only had the money to keep one of the two and that was the big issue”.
“It came down to a choice between Tai and Jarvis… I only had the money to keep one”
28 of the 26-year-old’s league appearances came from the bench, and Atieno, capped four times for his country, only settled in to the side’s starting XI when first-choice forward Rene Howe was injured. Taiwo’s goals included vital strikes in victories against Bristol Rovers and Swindon, as well as a consolation in the play-off semi-final defeat to Cheltenham Town.
Ling’s shockingly honest approach to releasing players and explaining his decisions could have potentially divided fans, but the former Swindon midfielder seems to have impressed the majority of supporters with his no-nonsense modus operandi. Ling has also played down reports that United playmaker Eunan O’Kane is set to leave the club, stating “I want Eunan to be a part of our squad next year and it’s not written in stone that he will leave this football club in the summer… there have been no offers on the table”.
Several Championship and League One clubs, including newly-promoted Swindon Town, are rumoured to be interested in the former Northern Ireland under-21 international.