Bristol Rovers manager Graham Coughlan has released ten players as he looks to rebuild his squad for next season.
As predicted long-serving midfielder Chris Lines and captain Tom Lockyear are on their way out of the Memorial Stadium, but many fans were surprised the Coughlan made no offer of new terms to popular midfielder Stuart Sinclair and full back Daniel Leadbitter.
They join the less surprising names of Adam Smith, Sam Slocombe, Alfie Clarke, Connor Jones, Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and James Spruce on the list released today. The announcement on club’s official website which also reveals the club is negotiating new terms with James Clarke, Joe Partington and Deon Moore who are all out of contract.
The club also said it had exercised the option to extend the contracts of; Alexis Andre-Jr, Liam Armstrong, Ben Morgan, Alfie Kilgour, Rollin Menayese, Cameron Hargreaves and Rhys Kavanagh.
It then confirmed Kyle Bennett, Bernard Mensah, Sam Matthews and Stefan Payne have returned to the club following their loan spells.
The mention of the name Stefan Payne sparked a reaction on Twitter with many hoping the club would cancel his contract.
Payne has been unpopular with Gas fans since he allegedly made a rude gesture towards them after a disappointing display at Barnsley in October. He was shipped out on loan to his previous club Shrewsbury Town in January where he made just five appearances without scoring managing to score.
Here is a selection of their reactions to the list on Twitter.
Taxi for Payne please I’ll happily pay the fare! ?????????????????????????
— Katy pullin (@Kpz2005) May 8, 2019
Gave him the benefit of the doubt to start with but when he left and the comments flowed on social media I realised I had it wrong! I’m sure a few others will chip in… myself included!
— David Townsend (@Gas1883Dave) May 8, 2019
Let's take a loss on Payne and get rid of him
— Ian John Parker (@Ianjohnparker) May 8, 2019
Disaster. Nicols retained, and Leadbitter, Lines and Sinclair released. How is that going to work?
— Matthew Quick (@MQU1CK) May 8, 2019
Can we not find a place for Sincs at the club? Anywhere…behind the bar, selling £4 sausage rolls, cover him in concrete and place him outside? ???
— Andrew Haskins (@AndrewHaskins85) May 8, 2019
2019/20 season. Bristol rovers have been relegated.
— OC (@OllyClarke1802) May 8, 2019
Can we not just tear Payne's contract up? Waster
— Rob. (@robertbrace94) May 8, 2019
Gutted to see Sinclair and Leadbitter go. At this rate we will have no players left. Has Payne found his scoring boots yet?
— Joanne McGarry (@JoanneMcGarry14) May 8, 2019
He never had any to find!
— S t e v e S i m m o n s ™️ (@sim_simma_85) May 8, 2019