SWINDON Town U18s coach Alan McLoughlin admits that having to break the news to the seven scholars who failed to be offered professional deals with the club was a gut-wrenching experience.
Skipper Tom Ouldridge, striker Scott Twine and midfielder Jordan Simpson were offered full-time contracts last Thursday ahead of their trip to Newport County in the Merit League.
While happy for the three who made the grade, McLoughlin could not hide his disappointment for the players who have missed out, heaping praise on the group of players he has worked with since Scott Lindsey’s departure from the club last summer.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the group I have worked with,” he said.
“In a perfect scenario, and this isn’t just at Swindon, it’s at many clubs, the group needed another year together to develop.
“Unfortunately, at the football club, we haven’t got the resources or the facilities to allow that to happen, which is not their fault.
“For some of the boys, who have been there since eight years of age, to be told that they’re not making the next step was devastating for them and for us as a staff.
“We need to try and help them now.”
McLoughlin conceded that Thursday’s news had an impact on his side’s performance on Saturday, as they fell to a 4-2 loss away to Newport County, their first defeat since December.
Twine and Sebastian Martinez were on target for the visitors, who finished the game with 10 men after substitute Jordan Edwards was sent off.
“Myself and the academy felt it was a little too early to tell the boys but that decision is not just the club’s, the players themselves felt they needed to know,” he added.
“Unfortunately it’s not what they wanted to hear and that leads into a really difficult Thursday.
“Six of the players that were released were actually playing at Newport and the fallout from that led to, I wouldn’t say a flat performance, but we lost 4-2.
“The events of Thursday did have a major impact on Saturday’s performance and I can understand it.
“The players gave their all for me but they were obviously down and that includes the boys who have got offers.”