What to do with older players?

HertsWolf

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We often say football is a game of disloyalty and over-inflated egos, but what do you do with good, decent players who don't stand a chance of getting back in the team?

Sam Ricketts was/is club captain but has zero chance of getting back in the first team now, with three players ahead of him at RB and at LB. He's 33 and although he hasn't been at the club long, he's seen as a loyal, genuine grafter and one who symbolised the turn-round of the club last year. He reminds me of Jody Craddock, who also faded away, spending a few months on the bench, then mainly seen at charity events. Both remain popular figures.

On the one hand you know that they aren't up to it, but you do want to be able to chant his name one last time and give him a send-off. That's what testimonials did all those years ago, so that the club could raise £450 for the older geezers to put as a deposit at a pub or a shop making sports trophies and cutting keys somewhere.

Feels bad when good players just slip further down the squad numbers. Hope he gets a good move to somewhere because despite it all, just a few months ago he was a top player. Blackpool could do worse than Sam Ricketts, because Sam knows not to run into his fucking goalkeeper at full pelt.
 

markwwfc1992

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I think Sam is good enough for this level, he's just been unlucky in the fact that since Doherty and Golbourne both suffered injuries, Iorfa and Hause have both been brilliant for us, and thus kept him out of the team. Like you say although he has only been here a short time, he's a very well respected player both in the dressing room and with the fans (mainly because since he has been here the club has been on the up).

I still think he has a couple more years of playing in him, but sadly can't see it with Wolves. Would like to see him come back in a coaching capacity one day though, similar to George Elokobi.
 

Layer Cake

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#3
We have a 35 year old in John Eustace who is still well capable of doing a job at this level, missed him terribly on Saturday.
 

Jockney

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We let Paul Robinson go to Portsmouth this month. A player who's been with us for over fifteen years. Definitely past his prime, but considering who our other centre backs are it's hard to say with a straight face that he'd have done any worse. It's always good to keep an old head or two about, even if they aren't getting much game time. Their influence and insight behind the scenes is invaluable, and they're often players who can keep a dressing room united.
 

Bobbin'

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Unfortunately, much like players moving on for more money etc, it's just part of the game.

Johnnie Jackson will go down in folklore at our place, been a great servant for 5 years, a real captain fantastic but this season he's had a couple of niggly injuries and you can see him struggling with the pace of the game a bit. It's a shame to think that in probably two years, he'll probably be elsewhere or not even playing at all.
 

Madejski

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If they're good enough for first choice keep them, if they are only ever going to be backup, might as well bring in someone younger with more potential - and as they are less proven probably have cheaper wages. This is why i'm glad we have a good academy setup so that we can shift on the older players and have able backups who have that potential.

Not many old pro's in our squad currently though. Think we have eight players older than 25. Oldest are Stephen Kelly and Pogrebnyak (31) who have 6 and 18 months respectively on their contracts which won't be renewed and Federici (29) who is young for a keeper. I know earlier in the season we had the youngest squad in the division, not sure if that's changed.
 

HertsWolf

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If they're good enough for first choice keep them, if they are only ever going to be backup, might as well bring in someone younger with more potential - and as they are less proven probably have cheaper wages. This is why i'm glad we have a good academy setup so that we can shift on the older players and have able backups who have that potential.

Not many old pro's in our squad currently though. Think we have eight players older than 25. Oldest are Stephen Kelly and Pogrebnyak (31) who have 6 and 18 months respectively on their contracts which won't be renewed and Federici (29) who is young for a keeper. I know earlier in the season we had the youngest squad in the division, not sure if that's changed.
That surprises me. I really thought we had the youngest squad. Wonder if someone has all the details? Probably Jose
 

Bobbin'

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What's the attitude towards Ricketts at Bolton then? Wouldn't have expected bad blood, tbh... Maybe I'm wrong.

Loads of players leave clubs, and usually with no ill-feeling.
He probably means the answer to the thread title is to ship the older players out to Bolton. :cool:
 

Madejski

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That surprises me. I really thought we had the youngest squad. Wonder if someone has all the details? Probably Jose
If I remember correctly, we were youngest, just ahead of Fulham. But we have had less youngsters in the team over the past two months, and our strikers have been older too with both Pogrebnyak and Murray being 31.

Can't for the life of me remember whether that was just averaging the age of all players or if it was based on time played as well. Might have just been the former which may explain why Wolves aren't there?
 

Muzzle

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#13
Ricketts. Good profesional, could play in many positions, but sometimes to move on and for them to get more football, clubs and players need to move on
 

Rammy

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Shaun Barker, now 32. He's been out injured for three years now, after pretty much having his knee destroyed against Forest.

We've stuck by him, helped with his recovery...but there's absolutely no chance he'll ever play again. He and the club say otherwise, but I don't see it. He's had one contract extension whilst he'd been injured, and his current deal expires this summer. Will be interesting as to whether we give him another year or he retires. I expect the latter, and hope he comes on in the 90th minute at Pride Park for a cameo
 

Costello

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#16
We had Greer (34), Hughes (35), Bruno (34) and Calderon (33) all in the starting line-up the other night - with the former unleashed in an unexpected roaming midfield role. Must admit I was expecting us to have phased a few of them out by now, but Calde and Greer especially have proven hugely reliable stalwarts during our rise from L1, even if they're a little on the slow side now (well, a lot).

I think there's sometimes a pre-concieved negativity surrounding older players given that they don't represent the future, and you're not building towards any sort of potential peak with them; but players who've been at a club long enough to experience the good and the crap times under different managers can often provide that dressing-room "constant" that may help you out when you need it most.

It does seem though that players, especially centre-halves and keepers, are going on for longer now than, say, 10 years ago. We had a 36-year-old Radostin Kishishev for one-season during our League One winning campaign under Gus, and he was terrific for us, one of my favourite players in recent years, and brought on Liam Bridcutt like you couldn't imagine.
 

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