It seems churlish to criticise what was the best defence in the league, especially as it was at the other end of the pitch where the real problems were. What frustrated most, I feel, was the groundhog day feeling of the goals we did concede. Typically set pieces from the right and attacks down the left. All season (at home, anyway) we conceded only one ‘worldy’; against Kidderminster.
The weakness on the left was there for all to see, so it’s no shock to see Johnson and Brevett go. Both had their moments, Johnson was excellent until the Northwich game when his hamstring pinged. Brevett looked the business for about a month. In truth both were in bits and as the weather turned, pitches softened and they thrashed their ragged engines, it showed. There’s little reason to try and retain George Santos, who looked OK when he played, but has age, fitness and competition for places playing against him.
On the right the problem was less apparent; Eddie Analcet was my player of the season. Not because he was the best player, but because, in a season that was one massive big-dipper of inconsistency, he was the most consistent. He has weaknesses, no doubt, but for me, he was the most reliable most of the time.
We’re flooded with central defenders, Willmott, if he can recover from his injury, is the defender who ticks most of the requisite boxes for next season whilst Day offers good versatility. The duo of Corcoran and Luke Foster, if they can be retained, should be able to offer much.
This leaves the two stalwarts – Gilchrist and Quinn. Gilchrist is being held together with gaffer tape, and although he is well past his best, was the principle component in last year’s success. If there was a viable alternative, I would be tempted to move him on. Quinn, for all his professionalism, is not a great defender. He lacks some of the steel the pure breeds of Gilchrist and Willmott have, and has no pace to speak of. He does offer stability and professionalism that managers often like. There’s still enough uncertainty in the other contract negotiations so it’s understandable that Quinn is being offered a new contract. Again, if there was more certainty vis-a-vis Corcoran and Foster, it may have been tempting the release Quinn’s wages for a more needy cause.
(This all ignores the details of who is and isn’t in contract and was done before today’s announcement)