Listening to Josh Staunton talk to the ‘Football, Bloody Hell’ show on 3 Valleys Radio this week was not easy.
Here we have a 26-year-old man with an injury which, in any other walk of life would have been operated on weeks ago, saying that he and his (in many cases even younger) team-mates have absolutely no idea if they have a job at the end of next month.
Any Yeovil Town fan knows all about the ‘will they? won’t they?’ situation with the takeover of the club, the apparent complete absence (at least publicly) of chairman and owner Scott Priestnall and a rudderless ship at Huish Park which has allowed manager Darren Sarll to walk away and join a rival club – and who can blame him?
Just read this that Josh told Adi Hopper at 3 Valley Radio:
“We are surrounded by uncertainty now and it is disappointing when you get to this stage of the season and you don’t know if you are wanted or unwanted.
“That is not just me, that is every player that is out of contract, we would like some sort of clarity of whether we need to look elsewhere or are going to be offered something.
“One of the benefits of having a younger team, that blind loyalty is there. If we had a group of older players who were more family-orientated, I think it would be a lot more toxic around the dressing room.
“Especially at this time of year when people are worrying about their futures.”
Now the first thing to say is to praise Josh for his honesty and openness. There are few players in our squad – or indeed any squad in recent years – that clearly have the best interests of the club at heart more than Josh, so this is clearly something he has deep concerns about.
Now, I know that a footballers’ career is naturally more transient, but, even if you justify this situation that way, what of the other people who are employed by the club? The people looking after the stadium, running our community organisation, doing the finances, the media, all the other things that keep our club going.
Yesterday we paused and reflected on the tragic death of former captain Lee Collins and read heart-breaking tales about the demons which tormented him off-the-field.
As you will have heard Ian say on the latest podcast, we need to make sure the memory of Lee’s story stays with us as a football club – in our thoughts and our actions.
Lee’s concerns included about his future. Yet we have young people who find themselves with the same concerns and yet this seems to be happening. I ask again – how is this being allowed to happen?