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Players left searching for a new club include Joey Barton

Thursday 25th May 2017
After a long season, some players face the risk of being released by their clubs. This could be down to a club getting relegated or that the manager is trying to work around his wage budget for next season. For some clubs, it means having to get rid of their best players. Burnley, for example, has just let go Joey Barton and Michael Kightly.

The Clarets have had an interesting season in which they ended up six points above relegation. They have had some great performances this year thanks to players like Michael Keane and Tom Heaton. Another player that has made a slight difference has been Joey Barton. Since re-joining the club back in January, Barton has appeared on 14 occasions scoring his only goal against Southampton in a 1-0 win.
Before arriving back at Burnley, Barton had been playing for Rangers. He only managed to make five appearances before being suspended by the club. This was due to a match betting scandal. Barton supposedly bet on 44 matches within the space of two weeks while he was at Rangers FC. In December of 2016, he was found out to have placed over 1,200 bets over the past 10 years.

Rangers immediately terminated his contract which then meant that Barton was a free agent. Even though the FA threatened Barton with a possible ban, he joined Burnley.

Just three months after joining Burnley the FA decided to give Joey Barton an 18-month ban in relation to betting charges. Burnley released him on the 23rd May.

Michael Kightly was another player recently released by Burnley. The English winger only made five league appearances this season and only nine in all competitions. It was clear that he wasn't needed, therefore, the club eventually released him. Kightly had been loaned to Burnley from Stoke City in 2013 before signing a contract in 2014. He had also been out on loan this season to Championship side, Burton Albion.
Clubs now knowing their final positions in their respected leagues start to release players to free up spaces. This gives managers time for improvement during the summer. Luton has released five players after failing to secure promotion from the play-offs in League Two.

Carlisle has also released three players after also missing out on the League Two play-offs. Southend United has released six players after missing out on the League One play-offs by just one point. Also, Swansea City has let go of eight players after narrowly avoiding relegation this season.
In Scotland, Motherwell has released eight players while Partick Thistle has decided to let go of four of their players. Another Scottish club that has previously let go of some of their players is Hearts. They have released six players so far.

Most leagues have finished but we are yet to see a few more league playoff finals. The results of these games will be an outcome on what players futures will intend to be. Players could be released due to what a manager wants for the forthcoming season. Player contracts will be running out throughout the summer and more players will be released.

Some managers will be waiting for the right time to offer players contracts just as they have been let go. Some of the lower league teams will be hoping to snap up free agents this summer to save themselves money.
Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.


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