We’ve all been hearing for a few weeks now that he isn’t part of the club’s future, and Mark Kennedy confirmed it after our 0-0 draw with Grimsby in last night’s friendly.
When quizzed on Maguire’s future, having not seen him in pre-season at all, Mark admitted the 33-year-old was not a part of the club’s plans in the future, despite having had an injury in pre-season.
“I’ve had a chat with Chris, a very adult conversation; he won’t be a part of the plans going forward,” he said. “I discussed that with him; he’s been incredibly respectful and professional about it.” When said if he’d been in a situation where he wasn’t fancied himself, Mark stressed it wasn’t he didn’t fancy Mags, just that there wasn’t a place for him in the club’s direction. “It’s not that we don’t fancy him in the plans; it’s just the direction I see and want to do things.”
What was interesting was the statement that he was still training with the first team and being treated with respect. We have seen in the past key figures forced to train on their own, away from the squad, after being told they weren’t part of the plans. That should never have been the case, and it is nice to hear Mags is still be treated well by the club, which isn’t a reflection on how he treated supporters, at times.
It’s fair to say there won’t be any tears at today’s news. Despite his obvious talent, Chris Maguire never seemed to settle at the club. I must confess, alarm bells rang for me before the season even kicked off; in a chat at an event I asked how he was settling in at the club, and he basically said there was nothing to do in Lincoln and he was heading to Sheffield when he wanted anything. He felt unhappy, and whilst I convinced myself it was awkwardness with public exchanges (and still, to a degree, do), it made me worry.
When he then got injured early and struggled to find match fitness, it left him behind the others in my eyes. He did have decent impact against Charlton at home, and for a while he seemed to be fitting in nicely. I think Maguire in a winning team is a top player, but when eyes are on him to help lead, then it isn’t so easy to see his influence.
Of course, he turned up against Sunderland and gave us a night to remember, but that really is it; he could impress his ability on the team, and he never settled into a position. I recall as the season died away, and he played on the wing, wondering where exactly he was meant to be playing. By the final few games of the season he looked bored, tired of those around him and frustrated. That was summed up by him having a pop at a linesman for not kicking a ball back to him one game; when have they ever done that?
His antics were a bit Matt Rhead, but he didn’t have the goals, assists or link with the fans to back them up. Instead of earning the honour of being a king wind-up merchant, he came across at times as petulant and childish.
Finally, you can maybe have an exchange with supporters once, perhaps. Twice? I’m afraid that’s too far. I could almost forgive the Hartlepool incident, almost, but to do it a second time? That just shows you never learn. When we had our injury crisis, and played without a striker, who was in the team? Chris Maguire. What was his input into those games? Sunderland aside, it was a lot less than most.
It’s nice he’s being treated with respect by the club, because the way he treated fans, and vice versa, lacked respect. When he does find another club, few will remember anything than that one night in the north east. Still, for that, we thank you Chris. I just wish we could add much more to the list of reasons to mourn your departure, but we can’t.