The Retained List 2017

Yeah, that had a few of you clicking right? Desperate aren’t we to know who is staying and who is going? It was a bit of a misleading title, but this blog is about the retained list so the title seemed apt. Just so you know, reading on will not tell you who is going or who is staying.

What it will do is look briefly a the complex issue of the retained list, and why perhaps there is so much fervour and anticipation regarding it’s release. Firstly, what have we been told about it? That it is all just waiting for Danny to be signed off? That it’s been ready for well over a week? Or have we actually been told nothing official at all? When it comes to this fabled list we are, for want of a better phrase, writing our own stories on social media. I’ve even seen some turn the ‘delay’ as a negative against the club.

That’s right, we’re selling record numbers of season tickets, we’ve won the league, we basically cleaned up at the non-league awards and yet I’ve seen negativity regarding the list of players being offered new deals for next season. It’s crazy, with increased achievement comes an increased risk of being accused of a lack of transparency. Someone had even posted that not releasing the names is ‘letting the fans down’. No, finishing 15th and going out of both cups at the first stage is letting the fans down. Not discussing the future of players until the club and the player are ready is their prerogative.

Apparently the ‘delay’ (and I used quotation marks there because I’m not sure how something with no definite date or time frame can be delayed) allegedly could be attributed to things not going how Danny wants them to go. The Terry Hawkridge story is an indication of that, isn’t it? We’ve offered him a deal and he’s off. Who else are we going to lose? It must all be falling apart, and so on and so on. Give it a rest.

Danny Cowley guided this club to a record points tally last season, he guided us to a record FA Cup run this season as well. For Lincoln City we progressed as far as we ever have in the FA Trophy, and his transfer policy was very strong. He brought National Game Awards Young Player of the Year Sean Raggett to the club and well as Player of the Year Alex Woodyard. He brought us steady Sam Habergham and Nathan Arnold. During the season he had the foresight to bring in other successes such as Harry Anderson, Elliott Whitehouse and even Lee Angol.  In fact, all season I can only think of two players whom we can say didn’t work out, and they were Tom Champion and Dayle Southwell, two players who look very strong on paper. When it comes to recruitment, I trust Danny Cowley.

When it comes to just about anything, I trust Danny Cowley. I don’t just trust him with my life, I trust him with something far more precious; my football club. I used to question some of Keith’s recruitment, but the big man had a great policy of signing twenty players to find five gems. It worked for him, but Danny is very different with his recruitment. Danny wants to know everything about a player before he arrives at the club, he isn’t willing to find out before he does. Team spirit is very important to him as well, and I think that is why we are waiting for the retained list. I still believe it will be after the awards dinner, I genuinely think that 36 hours before wouldn’t represent good timing, especially for those players who might not be retained. As I said, I trust Danny Cowley, I trust him so much if he came to my house to play FIFA I’d let him have controller one to set the game up, and nobody ever has controller one other than me in my house.

Whatever the reasons are, I think that Danny and Nicky have earned the right to a bit of trust and respect haven’t they? This retained list might tell us who will be an Imp next season or who won’t be, but please remember the players are people, and this list to them is their future. It affects their entire lives, where they go next and what path their career takes. However Danny and Nicky choose to go about releasing that information and dealing with players is up to them, and I think they’ve proven over the last twelve months that everything they do is done with the best interests of the club and their players at the centre of it. For us the list is nothing more than a talking point, a chance to criticise and debate, and chance to discuss and inevitably argue. For some, it is their livelihood and their career. Instead of constantly bleating on about when it is released, how about we just trust the manager to release it at the right time for everyone involved?

As for tagging players on social media asking them to stay when we don’t even know what the deals are, how bad is that? Maybe players and their families shouldn’t be on banter, maybe they should, but we all enjoy having such close access to our heroes. I think that comes with a responsibility from us fans as well. Those players gave blood, sweat, tears and in some cases a tooth for us last season, they brought us silverware but they also gave us so many amazing memories. Maybe, instead of banging on about retained lists and tagging players in discussions, we should just all sit down and watch a few YouTube videos of our cup run in, or the day we won the title eh? Let the players have the space to do what they need to do for their families and their careers, and let the fans just get on with the job of enjoying the wonderful season we’ve just had served up. If we do that, we then let Danny and Nicky get on with the job of managing the club. After all, they’re a lot better at it than we are.


  1. There is a deadline date for clubs to issue a retained list, believe end MAY but not certain. This is to allow released players time to find a new club. Whatever the date we are no where near it yet, remember the Premiership has not yet finished!!! So lets stop panicking for nothing and have faith in DC.

  2. That’s a good summary Gary. Some folk are like kids waiting for birthdays etc. In God and Danny we trust, pretty much in that order.

  3. Absolutely right on all points. Let’s let Danny get on with it and when there’s something to tell us, and it’s the appropriate time, then he will do.

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