The Imps retained list came out last week, although there was very little retention on it for obvious reasons. The current crisis has meant the club has been unable to budget for the new season and as such, every single out of contract player was released, bar Ellis.
That meant we had to say goodbye to Tom Pett after two-and-a-half years at the club. Pett signed for City from Stevenage in the January transfer window of 2018, making his first start a couple of weeks later as we drew 0-0 with Cambridge United. It is fair to say he struggled to settle during his first few months, but sprang into life on the final day of the season against Yeovil, bagging the goal that earned us a draw and a place in the top seven.
Last season, Tom came into his own and started impressively. He won the Player of the Month award and seemed to be able to fill a dual role for the Imps, both in front of the defence as a typical six, or further forward in the eight. In total, he played 51 times in the league and cup, scoring four goals. He only missed two league games, starting 33 times and coming off the bench for another 11 appearances.
However, he started this season carrying an injury and was never able to get going. He was still out when Danny Cowley left the club and, despite ascertaining life under Michael Appleton was exciting, he didn’t feature in our manager’s plans. Instead, he came back as we lost 2-0 at Peterborough, then appeared just twice more, against Rotherham in the EFL Trophy and in the 1-0 defeat at Gillingham.
Rumours circulated that he could have got a loan move in January but wanted to stay and fight for his place, which left him out in the cold. With the season curtailed early, he didn’t get a chance to force his way back into the gaffer’s plans. However, Pett is a user of social media and in between demonstrating how good he is at FIFA, he said goodbye to supporters, who in turn offered their messages of support.
Tom Pett played a key role in our title-winning side but, had the crisis not taken hold, it is unlikely he would have been offered a new deal. We wish him all the best, he was always great when I interviewed him and he firmly understood what it meant to be a footballer in the community. He clearly impressed some of Twitter users, who had nothing but nice things to say about him.
We’ve got the best of the reaction, as well as a special Tom Pett gallery courtesy of Graham Burrell, on the next page.