Captain Liam Bridcutt has opted not to sign a new deal with the club.
He leaves after two-and-a-half seasons with the Imps, the first period on loan from Nottingham Forest, and latterly in a two-year spell as club captain. Clearly talented beyond League One, only injuries held the midfielder back, restricting him to just 41 starts in his spell, and just 15 last season.
The club tweeted the news in the form of goodbye, saying: “Liam, It’s been quite the journey… Thank you for your contribution during the last two and a half years at the club. We wish you well for the future.”
Personally, I’d expected him to stay at the end of his contract, right up until the point Michael Appleton left the club. At that point, I felt certain he wouldn’t stay, hence me not including him in my starting XI rundown yesterday. Sadly, unless he was on a pay-as-you-play contract, or came in as a player-coach, he didn’t represent value for money. Maybe 25 games with Liam Bridcutt in your team was acceptable, but last season’s write-off was far too damaging.
In fact, it is my opinion that had he turned in 35 games during the 2020/21 season, we’d have been in the Championship last season. Had he done the same last season, we’d have been closer to seventh than 17th. I’ve always maintained he is one of the best footballers I’ve seen play for the Imps, and I stand by that. He reads the game superbly, he’s a great professional, but as last season pressed on without him, it was what he didn’t do that became more impactful than what he did do.
I always liked interviewing Liam, he was a consummate professional who trained like he played and perhaps that was an issue; there was no low gear, and there was never a Liam Bridcutt at half-mast. He was full throttle at a time when perhaps his body just couldn’t quite stand for it.
I’m gutted, because the central defensive midfield role is vitally important to the way we play, and on his day there was nobody quite like him, certainly not in this squad or during my time supporting the club. Replacing him is the big issue of the summer, I’ve said it since Michael Appleton left and I don’t care to keep repeating myself, but it really is.
Best of luck in the future Liam Bridcutt.