If the Nottingham Post is to be believed, it would appear that Terry Hawkridge has chosen to turn down a one-year deal with City, in favour of two-years working under Kevin Nolan at Notts County.
The Nottingham Post is reporting that he is due for a medical tomorrow, and if they’re confident enough to print it then I’d be fairly sure that it’s going to happen. In truth, who can blame the lad? We’re football fans, if it were me I’d play for Lincoln for free, but he isn’t a City fan and playing football is a job. He’s been offered security and better pay, unfortunately emotion doesn’t always come into it. If I were Terry, and it was me simply choosing between two jobs, I would choose to move to Notts County.
I’ve just spoken to my Dad on the phone, and I put it this way. Paul Farman signs a two-year deal. Luke Waterfall signs a two-year deal. Terry Hawkridge turns down a one-year deal. What does that tell you? Now I rate Terry, I’m not here to start kicking a man once (if) he’s left us, but surely the length of those contracts speaks volumes about how integral he is to our success. He had a good season, scored some goals and certainly improved as he got more games, but if he was absolutely critical to what Danny wants to achieve, wouldn’t the duration of his deal match that of the other players?
I class Lincoln’s players of last season in three bands. There are the critical players, those who made 50+ appearances, the likes of Luke Waterfall, Alex Woodyard and Nathan Arnold. Then there is a second band of player, able and effective but perhaps someone who sees a bit more of the bench. Terry Hawkridge and Alan Power fit into that role, players who featured regularly, but who were not the first names on the team sheet. Then there was the third bracket of player, the likes of Callum Howe, Adam Marriott and Jack Muldoon who could have been classed as fringe players, albeit good ones.
Here’s a stat for you, I’m sure some of you like stats. Terry Hawkridge was involved in 28 substitutions last season (either coming on or being taken off), which was the fifth highest behind Alan Power (32), Matt Rhead (34), Adam Marriott (30) and Jack Muldoon (29). However, he came off the bench on nine occasions, meaning he was withdrawn 19 times from 37 starts. That is the second highest after Matt Rhead who started 51 games and came off 29 times, but even Rheady completed 90 minutes on 22 occasions. Of all the so-called fringe players Terry was brought off more than any other player. Does that put a slight question mark over his 90-minute fitness? Possibly. It could just mean we wanted to inject pace on the wings, but if that is true why was Nathan Arnold only brought off 16 times from 51 starts? To only complete ninety minutes on 16 occasions does pose a question, does it not?
I dare place a bet now that Danny sees the retained list through very similar eyes to me, and he won’t be offering two-year deals out as a simple reward for promotion. I believe he will offer players deals who may be on the periphery, after all he did say they earned a chance at league football. He’s a man of his word, but I believe the difficult decisions lies in the lengths of contracts, and how hard he fights to keep the players who have their heads turned. Luke Waterfall interested Coventry City, a relative giant compared to the other teams in the league, and yet we obviously fought hard enough to keep him.
I’m not saying Terry wasn’t wanted, I’m not saying he isn’t a League Two standard player. He would have had a role to play next season, but would he have been a regular starter? Harry Anderson usurped him earlier in the season, and as the campaign drove on both Josh Ginnelly and Harry Anderson were competing with him for the spot opposite Nathan Arnold. If he was fighting for his place in the National League, how limited would his chances have been in League Two? We might be pondering our retained list at present, but rest assured Danny will also be signing new players, how far down the pecking order would Terry fall?
Part of me hopes that he does a last minute U-turn and puts City before Notts County, but I can’t see it now. If a paper actually prints a story then they have to make sure they’re fairly accurate, after all if he wasn’t due for a medical the lad would have grounds for a complaint. I’m not going to guess how his move will work out, or what role he’ll fill at Notts County, I’ll leave that for Leigh Curtis. All I know is we should wish him all the best, after all he did score those two memorable goals against Macclesfield that triggered arguably one of the best days of our lives. We’ll always have April 22nd, and no amount of black and white stripes will take that from us. Cheers Terry, all the best.
Picture by Graham Burrell