On Parade – with John Hendrie
There is no time to be sentimental in football. Once you start to look back, you will go backwards.
Look at what Fergie used to do at Man United. As soon as he won another Premier League, it would be time to move on – shut that particular door and open the next one.
Players would move on and others come on. Nothing would stay the same.
Jones has been brilliant; a great ambassador to the club on and off the pitch. He’s been a credit to his family, his profession and everything else.
But you’ve got to look ahead and that’s what Phil is doing by letting him go.
Is it ruthless? No, but it is brave. He’s got to stand up as the gaffer and make strong decisions.
It all comes down to the budget. Someone like Chelsea, with the money from Roman Abramovich, can keep all their senior players on but it’s very different at clubs like City.
That’s why some of these guys have had to go. It’s purely for financial reasons.
Phil has got to weigh up the package and if he wants to kick on next year with fresh legs, he’s got to save the money somewhere else.
So the likes of Garry Thompson, Gary Jones and Matthew Bates have to make way. It was the same with Andy Gray.
That money you save can now be put towards fresher, younger players with hopefully something to prove.
As I always say, give me a hungry player any day. I like it when they are coming in to prove a point and have to work for their contract.
When I was at Bradford, there were a lot of predominantly young lads with points to prove. We had Greg Abbott, Stuart McCall, Don Goodman, Martin Singleton and myself who all wanted the opportunity to show what we could do.
If Phil can get the same sort of atmosphere in the camp where money’s not your God, then it will help.
You can only play 11 at one time. If you’ve got a squad of 20 on a high salary with low bonus incentives, then you’ve got a problem, particularly in the bottom divisions.
I think it’s more beneficial when people are on a lesser salary but with higher incentives such as appearance money and promotion and top-six bonuses. That’s prudent ownership of the club.
Phil’s got to work to his budget. It’s like a big piece of cake and you have to slice it up for potential new players coming in and loan signings – and I dare say there’s a good chance we’ll have some of them from Premier League clubs.
He’s got to work it out accordingly because his neck is on the line. If the manager messes up, he’s the one out of a job.
Gary Jones will leave a massive hole to fill. I dare say that’s been the best two years of his career.
But now it’s time for other players to step up to the mark. They’ve got to take on that added responsibility and become that talisman.
Who’s going to be captain now? Maybe that’s another challenge for Phil to throw down in pre-season.
Has somebody got the bravado to take on that mantle? That’s got to be another powerful incentive as the next stage begins.