The Not So Secret Footballer #1: Leaving Oxford United
This time twelve months ago, Jack Midson had never played in the Football League. But he approaches this summer having helped one club into League Two and then keeping another one in the division.
Despite these achievements, Jack has left both Oxford United and Barnet behind after the U’s failed to offer him a new contract following the end of his loan spell at Underhill. Jack will be giving us a weekly diary about his next move and answering your questions about life in League Two and beyond.
Up until Oxford United revealed to the press last week that I wasn’t being offered a new deal, there seemed to be a lot of speculation that I would be coming back to OUFC. Some fans still think that I may be returning to put on a yellow shirt again.
Although I wanted this to be the case as much as the fans, I knew my fate back in December or January whilst on loan to Southend. That was when I first knew I wasn’t going to be offered a new contract in the summer.
I always played this down a little bit, always hoping for a return to Oxford but unfortunately I didn’t seem to find favour with the manager (Chris Wilder).
The support has been excellent while I was on loan to Barnet recently, both from Oxford and Barnet fans. But now the time has come to find a new permanent club. I hope to spend at least the next two years at my next club, but I’ll never write off a return to Oxford United – a much loved club of mine.
My agent has been working hard to keep me up to date, which is always good! He has been contacting me regularly to give updates as to who has paid an interest since I was given permission to speak to other clubs in January.
Unfortunately, we messed a few clubs around saying whether I was available or not as Oxford were saying they wanted me to go, then they wanted me to stay several times. I didn’t help myself by scoring a hat-trick against Torquay on my first game back from being on loan! I understand that some clubs got other players on loan with a view to a permanent instead of me, so that obviously didn’t work in my favour.
My recent loan spell to Barnet was, I believe, a successful one as I went there to help them stay up and we achieved that. I was told by them that they can’t confirm if they are going to offer me a permanent deal until they appoint a permanent manager, which is understandable and the way this works is probably no secret to most football fans.
I’ve still got the buzz for football after that momentous day at Underhill and wanted more football, so I went off to watch the second leg of the Blue Square Premier play-off semi-final between AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood Town. There were a lot of goals on the day – and a lot of managers sniffing around. It was good to see some old managers and old friends and I also made some valuable new ones! The game brought back memories of winning in the same semi-final – and then the final at Wembley – last year.
A lot of clubs that pay an interest touch base with me or my agent, then go away and check their financial situation before offering a deal. Although my agent speaks to a lot of people, I have spoken to managers myself just to find out where their club is looking to go next season and in the future.I will be catching up with them again soon!
Some managers have gone away and I will have another chat once they are back from holiday. Others are still involved in the play-offs in certain leagues, so they are understandably not in a position to put anything down on paper straight away because their circumstances may change. Nothing will be finalised this week – it will start happening over the next few weeks.
I will keep you up to date with what’s happening next. It’s all exciting stuff – stay tuned!
Free agent news
We will also be using this column to keep tabs on some of the other free agents on the move in the Football League this summer.
Coventry City find themselves in the unenviable position of attempting to convince arguably their three best players – Keiren Westwood, Aron Gunnarsson and Marlon King – to stay on at the Ricoh Arena. It looks extremely unlikely that all three will stay, despite a wave of optimism accompanying new manager Andy Thorn’s positive impact on both results and Coventry’s style of play.
Republic of Ireland international Westwood has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and Everton are said to be interested this time around, while Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Leicester City has been mentioned as a possible destination for all three players at various junctures.
Thorn has set Westwood, Gunnarsson and King a deadline to sign the new contracts offered by Coventry. They will be removed from the table on Thursday, so an update should be available at the foot of Jack’s next column.
Inspired in part by The Guardian’s The Secret Footballer series.