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Player Deals Cut As Groves Clears Out Youngsters

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 24/05/2003

JOHN McDermott's future was up in the air again today after Grimsby Town slashed his contract offer by 30 per cent in the space of just 24 hours said the Grimsby Telegraph today. It means McDermott now faces a 65 per cent pay cut if he is to stay at Blundell Park.

McDermott said yesterday that he was close to agreeing a deal and hoped to sign up before he jets out on holiday tomorrow.

Stacy Coldicott is another to suffer after the club performed a massive U-turn and reduced his package by over a third after he thought he was days away from agreeing a two-year contract. (Stacey's ex-wife Stephanie has just entered the Big Brother house)

But yesterday Paul Groves called them to tell them the deal on the table had bitten the dust.

Groves said that talks were ongoing but he has been locked in a series of meetings with Town directors this week as he attempts to clarify his budget. McDermott's future will now not be resolved until he returns to Grimsby and a first division club and a division two club are now actively seeking his signature and it would seem that Town may have missed out now with the further reduction in wages.

Although Groves stopped the release of the retained list yesterday, he should not have bothered. It looks as though all of the young players have been released.

Midfielder Chris Bolder is hoping to sign a deal within the next 10 days after becoming the only youngster not to be told he can leave for free. Terry Cooke, Stevie Croudson and reserve winger Stephen Downes have all been released and Iain Ward, Graham Hockless, Greg Young and Kirk Wheeler have all been offered reduced terms which means all are free to leave on free transfers.

Chris Thompson has not been offered a deal but Groves has refused to close the door on him. "Thommo is a case of waiting and seeing what the market offers. He's been released due to the TV deal that he was on - but it might be that we speak to Chris and make him an offer later in the summer."

"All the youngsters are frees apart from Chris Bolder. He's one we're able to retain as regards the money. Bolder said, "We've been talking for about a week and it's at an early stage. I was glad to get offered something with all the people that are out of contract. I'd like to get sorted before the end of next week and if I can start the season like I finished the last then I'll be happy."

Steve Chettle is also in limbo as his future depends on whether Georges Santos signs or not. Chettle at the moment has become first reserve but he can't afford to wait around for a new deal.

"I'm in limbo. I've been told what happens with me depends on what George does, but how long can you wait. I have to start to look around. I don't blame George and now the season has finished he holds all the cards. But I can't wait around for him to make his mind up in this matter. I'm not one of them that barnstorms a club and then decide to move on. I was at Notts Forest for 14 years! I missed three months last season but I played the last month and felt I did a good job. That's why I've decided I want to stay."

On Santos Groves said, "There has been no further movement. We've made Santos out best offer at this moment in time and we can't agree. It's now a case of both parties sitting back and seeing what's available. Every one, club and player are waiting to see how the markets sorts its self out. We are all trying to get the best deal we can. The player will wait and see what he can get and the club knows that there will be plenty of players available in the summer."

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