Cooper: Blues clear out was necessary
Met Police boss Jimmy Cooper has been forced to pull apart the squad that took the Blues to the FA Cup first round in a bid to re-ignite his side’s Ryman Premier League campaign.
Defender Joe Dolan, midfielder Matt Smart, winger Craig Brown and striker Jonte Smith all left the club this week, with only ex-Kingstonian midfielder Sam Clayton coming in the opposite direction.
Dolan was released due to budget constraints following the arrival of Danny Sintim from Walton & Hersham, while Brown has admitted defeat with juggling football with work as a policeman.
Smart, who also started last month’s cup clash with Crawley Town, was another who left the club yesterday in the wake of Romone McCrae’s arrival last week.
Loan star Smith, who scored 24 goals during his short spell at Imber Court, played his last game for the club in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Leiston before returning to parent club Crawley.
With Craig Tanner being forced into early retirement, Cooper is down to a 15-man squad for the weekend trip to Bury Town but the manager, who expects to add a midfielder and striker to his squad next week, would not have had it any other way.
“Something had to be done,” he said.
“Up until the Crawley game everyone was training hard and really committed.
“But since, the players have slipped into some bad old habits. We got bullied out of the game at the weekend and that was not good enough for me.”
Of all the exits, it will the departure of Tanner, pictured left, that will hurt the Blues the most as the Imber Court side have struggled every since he tweaked his knee in a draw with Hendon.
The 25-year-old former Carshalton Athletic, Hampton & Richmond Borough, and Sutton United defender was forced to quit the game last week after knee surgery.
“As you can imagine Craig is absolutely devastated he has had to pack it in,” added Cooper.
“The surgery repaired his cartilage but the consultant told him that if he didn’t pack up football and something happened again, he might need to use a walking stick before he is 30 years old.
“He had established himself as one of the best left backs in the Ryman League, but he is a PE teacher by trade, so obviously work must come first.”