EFL league season ends with Republic of Ireland players looking for new clubs

The end of any domestic soccer league season, there are going to be changes across all aspects of a football club. If a football club is relegated, those impacts are even more profound with non-playing staff being laid off or working hours slashed given the financial realities of dropping down a division.

For players, it is absolutely no difference and particularly for players who have struggled to make an impact at their football clubs in the season just past.

Some of these players have gone out on loan looking for game time, getting themselves out there impressing their loan club and parent club for that matter.

This time of year is one of dread for many professional footballers. The week after a domestic league has completed where decisions on playing staff are taken, budgets for the transfer window are finalized, new blood required.

Hawkeye Sidekick casts his eye on released player lists across the EFL divisions as several Republic of Ireland players are facing life in free agency hoping to be picked up for the new season soon.


Several clubs have acted pretty quickly and released players into free agency. The staggering numbers released from some clubs in the division clear evidence of the financial pressures that these clubs are dealing with given the salaries and lack of matchday gate receipts.

For example, Blackburn Rovers have released the likes of Corry Evans, Charlie Mulgrew and Stewart Downing. Bristol City under Nigel Pearson has released nineteen first team players, a clear sign that the new manager is not happy with the squad inherited and also a reality check for the board on the playing staff under performance last term.

From a Republic of Ireland perspective, Shaun Williams was released by Millwall. Williams has been a fine servant for the football club but Gary Rowett is looking to go a different direction and perhaps giving youth team players an opportunity in the middle of the park during preseason before deciding to acquire players in free agency.

Graham Burke is another player looking at free agency with Preston North End cutting ties. A player who has massive potential but never really featured with the first team as the team struggled for form and consistency throughout the year. This may result in Burke finding a football club perhaps in League One where we see his full potential.

League One

Shane McLoughlin was released by AFC Wimbledon who just staved off relegation by the skin of their teeth.

Burton Albion under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink wasted little time to free up funds to strengthen his squad next season with twelve players released including Stephen Quinn and John Joe O’Toole.

Eddie Nolan released by Crewe. Glenn Whelan released by Fleetwood Town. These are two players who would easily do a job for a side in this division or even league two, experience and quality to boot. Just look at Cambridge United and the impact that Wes Hoolahan had at the club for example.

Barry Cotter, Stephen Ward and Alan Judge released by Ipswich Town, a club who will hope that Paul Cook can turn things around with financial issues never too far away. Cotter and Judge hopefully can rebound.

Cotter was a standout for Limerick FC but his Ipswich Town spell was injury plagued. Judge was a regular in the first team but then came the appearance issue at the end of the season. The club not prepared to trigger the clause on the contract. Alan Sheehan released by Northampton Town who were relegated.

There are several other clubs who have not yet issued their released player list. Rochdale would be one to monitor probably next week given their relegation and the strong Irish contingent at the football club.

Brian Barry-Murphy will have tough decisions to make given the club’s financial concerns and the prospect of playing in League Two which will be cut throat to get out of first time around.

League Two

Bradford City’s budget on the squad should have seen the side challenge for at least the playoffs but it never materialized.

A rethink was required and the board have wasted no time in releasing nine players from their books. Anthony O’Connor and Billy Clarke are among the list so interesting to see where they end up next season.

Several clubs are still in the playoff push so no released players from the likes of Newport County, Tranmere, Forest Green or Morecambe. Stevenage and Southend yet to issue their released players list.

Callum Cockerill-Mollett was released by Walsall who never got into the promotion picture at all last term.

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