Coming up to a month after the season has ended; Darren Sarll opened up about some of the reasons behind the early summer decisions.
Sarll admitted that releasing Charlie Lee was an extremely difficult thing to do.
“Let’s make no bones about it; Charlie Lee’s decision was the biggest of my career to date. Charlie has served this club so well and personally he was a real senior player for me. Very experienced, always spoke very well in the changing room but I just felt that the football club needed to turn a corner in central midfield.
“I let him go with a very, very heavy heart. It is actually quite sad because I love having him around the place but I just felt that for the football club, its future and the young players coming through, that we had to make some bold decisions around that part of the pitch.
“We had three very, very experienced, 30+ year old central midfield players that have great qualities but also because of the time in their career, there is an inevitable reduction in some of their attributes.”
Dean Wells also enjoyed three seasons with the club and Sarll discussed his release.
“I don’t feel we used Dean a great deal this year. Again, he has been a terrific player here and I just felt that as another 30+ player in the ranks, we needed to freshen it up.
“With Jack Kings emergence as a centre half, Fraser Franks’ development in playing so many games over the past few seasons and Luke Wilkinson being a big player for us - we are not endless pots of money here. So, we have to choose very carefully where and how we spend that money and I just felt it was time to freshen it up and for Dean to have a fresh challenge.
“We still want to bring in senior players. It is about finding a balance but I just felt we needed to turn over a few of those 30+ers. There will be senior players coming in but those will come in a little later than the younger ones.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Tonge, Lee, Wells, Foxy, Kerr – all the lads.”
Another player who joined in the same window as Lee and Wells was Tom Pett who has recently been placed on the transfer list.
Sarll says that with just a year left on his contract; circumstances meant it was the right thing to do.
“It is quite a well-practiced strategy now. Tom has got a year left on his contract and so I wanted him to sign a new one. Tom just felt it wasn’t the right time to sign a new contract, maybe having one eye on pastures new in 12 months’ time and because of that, he has kind of given us his notice.
“We need to make sure that any player who puts on a Stevenage shirt has absolute, 100% commitment to Stevenage, its drive and ambition.
“Not for one moment am I saying that if and when he plays for Stevenage, that he won’t give that, because Tom is a top lad and we like him very much here.”