Better late than never they say! Luke Rodgers has finally sealed his departure from the club following months of speculation regarding his on/off move to New York Red Bulls.
He leaves having had his contract terminated by mutual consent and goes with the very best wishes of both the club and supporters.
Whilst no one should ever really lay claim to Luke being a true Meadow Lane great, the impact Luke had on last season should not be underestimated.
Not least for two of County’s goals of the season one title clinching night in Darlington, but also for his pivotal last minute strike at Meadow Lane versus Rotherham that many people see as the goal and result that kickstarted the successful run at the League Two title.
Mustn’t go forgetting that hat trick over at Lincoln either!
For the few moments of sheer class though, Luke would never be short of a half a dozen or so of those moments that would have your head in your hands…particularly that day against Rotherham, where’d be amongst the first to tell you how bad a shift he had put in!
The chances also are right now that Luke is probably stood somewhere in an offside position, such was his refusal to beat any offside trap laid in front of him!
Not a single County fan will begrudge Rodgers his move though should it finally happen. Not many would have pictured him in pre-season having that big a role to play for Notts this year.
You could perhaps argue that Dave Kevan’s departure alongside Craig Short was the final nail in the coffin? Regardless, having scored three goals in three appearances under Paul Ince and still not breaking into the Guv’nor’s first team, you could see the exit coming sooner rather than later.
The truth is that it’s a move that has many scratching their heads.
The NY Red Bulls are managed by the Hans Backe. A man who’s brief tenure at Meadow Lane last season left him looking at our talent pool and figuring Luke Rodgers is someone who can see partnering Thierry Henry? Fair enough, perhaps he did us a favour by removing himself from the manager’s office as quickly as he did!
Perhaps most concerning for County fans though is that this is the third such departure from the club where the club has opted to forfeit a transfer fee.
Following on from Johnnie Jackson (having just scored his tenth gosl of the season for Charlton Athletic) and Kasper Schmiechel (currently fourth in the Championship with Leeds United) who have both left in the past six months having had their contracts terminated, Rodgers makes it three big name squad members to leave without Notts making a profit.
The reasoning behind it seems reasonable enough though as Chairman Ray Trew explains: “We took the view that Luke was not going to get a game the rest of the season and therefore being relieved of the burden of his wages was a good deal for Notts.”
Winners all round then perhaps?
Goodbye Luke, was a pleasure having you!