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MTO | Player retention

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Below is a summary of questions asked and answers given regarding the retention of players during the latest Meet The Owners event.

On rebuilding squads and contract extensions 

James Coppinger 

"We’ve been negotiating and speaking about contract extensions since December, negotiating with individuals. Kyle Knoyle was offered a contract in December and then through January, I’ve had exactly the same conversations with others.  

"I think for us to go into the next season with a squad of 18/19 all signed, all singing from the same sheet, all heading in the same direction is a massive thing. 

“We’re really far down the line with some of the players. It’s a great question and it’s something that has been high on my agenda and something I hope get resolved in the next couple of weeks. 

"Since December we’ve made it clear who we want to keep. We’ve had conversations and it’s not as easy as wanting to keep a player - it’s negotiating a contract, they have to be happy with their salary and they have to see ambition and they have to see a future, they have to see a direction. 

"We’ve had conversations with players that weren’t necessarily going to sign at the start of the season based on the direction where the club were, what direction, what style of football, what sort of environment and culture. We’re having conversations with those players now and they’re sort of turning and are quite happy to stay. 

"It is a process and it’s not an easy process but if we get what we want with 18/19 contracted players going into next season, the recruitment process that we will put in place will make it easier for us to recruit in the right areas to strengthen moving into next season, whether it will be in League One or League Two - and we can plan for both.” 

"I 100 per cent think that we’ve got 18/19 (who can play and improve). We turned down three or four interested clubs in January for our players. We get and a lot of opposition managers, coaches who have a lot of interest in our players. I feel like when we speak about the way that we do things, the players in my opinion are only going to improve. 

"For me it’s about stability in terms of having a core group of players that can stay together for a longer period of time to give us the best chance of being successful. 

“We had it under Sean O’Driscoll and we didn’t necessarily have the best squad of players in League One but what we did have here was a way, an identity and an understanding and we built a trust and a connection with each other.  Every team we went on the pitch, it was bigger and it was better than individual players which is what you’re talking about. We have unbelievable players with unbelievable character and a willingness to learn and improve and that is bigger than anything we can bring in my opinion."

On Adam Clayton and Kyle Knoyle leaving 

James Coppinger 

"In terms of Adam Clayton and Kyle Knoyle, the two decisions for them to move on were solely football decisions. Adam Clayton, since Danny came in he was in and out of the team the back end of January. We came to a decision with him and spoke to him in depth about his limited game time and he and us made the decision to move on. In the replacement, with Charlie Lakin coming in, I feel like it’s probably been a good replacement and it’s working out really well. 

"Kyle Knoyle was exactly the same. Kyle Knoyle made it clear he didn’t want to be at the club and he didn’t want to sign for the club.  We made him an improved offer. It’s a difficult decision because he gave everything for the club whilst he was here, a fantastic professional."

On using resources and loan players  

James Coppinger 

"Ultimately we got a sum of money for Kyle that we was assured we could reinvest into the training facilities, the training ground. 

“Like I alluded to at the start in the presentation - it isn’t just about what we’re do in terms of what we spend on the budget. We then have to support these players and that costs money.  

It’s a big thing for me in terms of having a sum of money to invest into certain things to help the players and those that want to be at the club. 

“In terms of loan players, sometimes again the resources dictate what we can and can’t do. That’s why I showed the recruitment strategies we’ve put in place because we feel like there is and have been some fantastic loan players that have come into this club. 

“We’re forming some fantastic relationships with clubs - Liverpool, Man United etc so their players can come in. It’s about trying to do best with what we’ve got available.” 

Questions asked on the night 

  • The last three or four seasons, we’ve seen total squad rebuilds and this summer again we’re looking at a total squad rebuild. Why do we allow this to happen? What are we doing to improve?  
  • If you look at Danny’s squad, three of the centre halves are out of contract in the summer 
  • Regarding recent transfer windows, we’ve got rid of players like Clayton, Knoyle but we’re reinvesting in loan players constantly. Talking about sustainability and foundation-wise but we’re constantly signing loan players. Where’s the foundation-wise regarding building the team up? These players come in for a season and there going off elsewhere. We’re not building up our own players. 
  • The loan signings that we’ve taken in January, are there plans to recruit them in the summer?  
  • Do you feel in the current crop, we have got enough good players to be playing for this football club next season? Do you feel that we have got 18/19 players in this current crop to take us forward next season or do you feel we should recruit a few more players like half a dozen or possibly even ten players?” 

Questions submitted prior to the event

Via Bulbshare 

  • How much has been invested in transfers this last window? 

Via @NettoFC on Twitter 

  • Is it true the club received around the £50k mark for Kyle Knoyle and that all/a portion of the fee went to paying the youth team staff and players overdue expenses? 

The club does not disclose specific details on transfer fees. However, James Coppinger discussed using fees received from player sales to improve facilities and equipment in order to further support the senior squad.

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