Bostwick To Leave Imps As Retained List Announced

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I’m a few minutes behind the official news but, credit to the club, I did get the press release early.

Instead of taking to the keyboard, I went to walk my dog in the calm evening sun and ensure I had a clear mind. The big news on the retained list is that Michael Bostwick, arguably my favourite player in the current squad, has left the club.

The Imps are releasing all but one of the out of contract players; Charlie Andrew, Michael Bostwick, Neal Eardley, Lee Frecklington, Akeem Hinds, Jamie McCombe (oddly), Tom Pett, Jason Shackell, Alan Sheehan, Grant Smith and Josh Vickers. Ellis Chapman is the only player to be retained, or rather to continue in talks with the club.

Interestingly, the wording around Ellis is this; ‘prior to Covid-19 we engaged with representatives of Ellis Chapman and conversations remain ongoing’. That clearly indicates that the current financial climate has made it impossible to retain players whom I think we all wanted to see stay. Further on in the official statement, it also says; “Due to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, it has made making any positive decisions around out of contract players impossible at this time. The club would like to express our sincere thanks to all those players who will leave us in the coming weeks and wish them a successful future.”

Credit – Graham Burrell

Right now, I find it hard to be critical or positive about the list. There is a sense that if this were the actual retained list, put into place at the end of a full season and with the summer to recruit as we wished, we might have kept one or two of these players. However, with the pandemic and financial uncertainty, I guess the club couldn’t offer new deals to players. We don’t know where the market will be in two months time, what constitutes a fair wage in the ‘new normal’.

The club added a nice thank you at the end; “To Michael Bostwick, Neal Eardley, Lee Frecklington, Tom Pett, Jason Shackell and Josh Vickers – thank you for being an integral part of one of the most successful periods in the club’s history and helping to create such wonderful memories.” Perhaps for the likes of Lee and Tom, woefully underused post-Christmas, the thank you might ring a little hollow.

For now, I’m going to step away and consider the reaction of others. I can’t summon up the right emotions to be fair and just. I know the club are operating under the most unusual of environments, where survival is simply the only goal right now, and this retained list makes it all the more real for me.

I could help think back to the article I wrote at the beginning of the day about the end of an era as I finished this one. Seeing Gain, Butcher, Yeo and the rest leave 15 years ago was tough; seeing Eardley, Bozzy, Freck and Vickers leave does feel very similar. I suppose the only difference is every team is in the same boat and we are in the third tier.

Please, try not to get too angry with the club on this one, the mitigating circumstances really are challenging.



  1. It was in doubt before the virus whether Eardley and Bozzy would be able to stay for an additional season and less likely given the present financial situation. in my lifetime (49) they are two of my favourite players to have graced the hallowed turf. All the best boys.

  2. Initial thoughts are of real sadness, especially Bossie , Eards and Vickers….. no chance of even showing gratitude. In the grand scheme of things it’s only football. But football does mean a lot to us

  3. Basically it’s all players under contract are staying, all players out of contract are released and all loan players are going back. The only exception to all this being Chapman. I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s all due to the present financial situation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few twists and turns before next season eventually starts.

  4. To be honest I can understand all of those moves and happily live with them.
    All except one and that is obviously Bossie…. Absolutely heart and soul of the team for the past few seasons and he should have been offered a new deal no matter what….
    Sad day….
    On the positive note, despite the fact I’m still not convinced on MA I think that going through the times like this with manager who likes to work with young players rather than finished articles could be a really good for us….

    • I agree with you Diana MA said just after he was appointed he wanted to bring the age of the squad down . Biggest surprise for me was Josh Vickers. MA is a canny man. It would not surprise me to see that he has several irons in the fire already. I hope EllIis’s Dad Darren guides him with some wise words, because there is such a good footballer in that young man. Up the Imps.

  5. Inevitable. Anyone taken by surprise by this needs to wake up and realise the enormous danger facing all lower league football right now. More pain surely lies ahead too. Still a very sad day though. Bozzie is a true legend and there are many other good servants on that list.

  6. Financial….pure and simple. When the future is unclear, how could the Club start offering contracts?… Football will change after this pandemic… depends now who will play for considerably less money.

  7. Players come and go. The club has to remain. No room for sentiment. Get over it and move on.

  8. I genuinely think that were the players who are staying not in contract for next year I think most of them would be going. It feels purely financial as we have to survive. We are far from the only club in this situation, Holloway thinks Grimsby might go under, and there are going to be lots and lots of footballers out there. Selfishly for the club it is great as we can pick through the bones to get what best suits us and in a way it is a good thing as MA can assemble the exact team he wants. It is almost a reset button and arguably we are in a stronger position because of the investment, prize money, and god attendances.

    But I also feel for Bossie and the rest as they are now without any pay, I don’t think they would even be entitled to furlough, and who knows when they will be able to get another contract. They have mortgages and families.

  9. I presume the club know something, or have done some calculations, because what happens if we have to finish the season? Do we have a team?

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