With a sightly heavy heart, it is time to wave goodbye to a quartet of players who will seek to ply their trade elsewhere.
Danny Collins never quite turned out to be the solid lynchpin around which an impregnable defence might be built. He was always happy to put himself in the way and seemed like a good organiser on the pitch - always barking out instructions to his fellow defenders. Yet he was all too frequently caught on the turn and hadn't quite got the legs to recover.
His professionalism is commendable though - he spent a large part of this last season as a squad number only but when he was called upon in the early stages of Dougie Freedman's tenure, he rolled up his sleeves and got on with it without fuss or recrimination. His performances were solid - indeed, some wondered whether a Lazarus style recovery was on the cards. Sadly, it wasn't to be.
Greg Halford arrived in the batch of Sean O'Driscoll's quick scamper around the market to get some players in for Fawaz's, and his, inaugural season (as did Collins and Dan Harding). Initially he partnered Collins at centre back but was also deployed at left back and memorably, as a striker. Deceptively skilful, Halford lumbered around the pitch ponderously and his casual gait could grate on the occasion of some nippy little striker whipping the ball from his feet. As a striker, he weighed in with some valuable goals and had a Paul Warhurst-esque spell until inevitably, the goals dried up and left the team with a rather static target man up front who seemed puzzled by the notion of a forward making runs to create space. He did though sport a natty wristband and for that, credit is owed.
An inordinate amount of cyberspace has been given over to the topic of Dan Harding. HIs lanky legs often got the better of him as he galloped spasmodically down the wing. On occasions, he seemed confused and somewhat surprised to see two rather odd shaped feet type things attached to the bottom of his legs. But he never hid; he always made himself available and kept on galloping down the wing to support the attack. It should be noted that he was never helped when he had Djamel Abdoun playing ahead of him on the wing: Harding could often be seen screaming at the Algerian to support him...but he rarely did. HIs shackling of Wilfried Zaha back when he was really good for Crystal Palace deserves recognition too. We'll miss that floppy blonde fringe blowing in the wind.
Louis Laing never got off the mark. He arrived from Sunderland and enjoyed a successful loan spell over the Trent and up at Motherwell. It seems a shame that this young defender never got the chance to impress but all the best to him.
That balmy pre-season when O'Driscoll legged it up and down the supermarket frantically gathering players back in the summer of 2012 has now been cut adrift with only Henri Lansbury remaining from the trolley dash that brought us Adlene Guedioura, Simon Gillett, Simon Cox, Daniel Ayala, Sam Hutchinson, Billy Sharp, James Coppinger, Collins, Halford and Harding. There were occasions when one wondered whether, with a little time, it might all come together. Time was certainly needed since all of the players above arrived in July and August in 2012. That's pretty much a whole new team cobbled together during pre-season. And we expected promotion? In retrospect, probably would have settled for being in and around the play-offs on Boxing Day. Oh....
Nonetheless, with Collins, Halford and Harding now released, that era is certainly over.
Thank you, gentlemen. Wishing you all the best with wherever your careers take you next.