Port Vale’s League Two rivals Cheltenham Town have published their retained list after they were knocked out of the play-offs.
Their veteran former Crewe and Leeds striker Luke Varney, aged 37, is being released, along with Rhys Lovett, Archie Brennan, Rohan Ince and Jonte Smith.
Varney chipped in with seven goals from 23 appearances this past season to help the Robins finish fourth on points per game average when the season was suspended in March.
Meanwhile, former Vale defender Charlie Raglan will be staying because he is under contract. The 27 year old came through the youth system at Vale Park and moved on to Chesterfield and Oxford before a loan spell back at Vale. The centre back He moved on to Cheltenham and has been a regular in the side that was challenging for promotion this past season.
The other players under contract are Scott Flinders, Sean Long, Chris Hussey, Ben Tozer, Charlie Raglan, Dan Bowry, Conor Thomas, Reuben Reid, Tahvon Campbell, Ryan Broom, Will Boyle, Alex Addai, George Lloyd and Alfie May
The remaining games of the regular campaign were called off because clubs couldn’t afford the cost of testing and bringing players and staff off furlough. But the play-offs took place behind closed doors and Cheltenham were favourites to go through after winning the first leg 2-0 at Northampton last week.
However, the Cobblers hit back to win the second leg 3-0 on Monday to go through to the final where they will play Exeter City who overcame Colchester.
Cheltenham manager Michael Duff was interviewed by his club’s website about the players who are leaving. He said: “This is the horrible part of the game. Particularly after last night you’re having to have conversations 12 hours after the disappointment of last night. It’s the ruthless and horrible side.
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“You make an emotional connection to these people. You’ve got a vested interest in their careers because everyone who is working with me I want to do well. Sometimes you can’t have the same XI year on year on.
“Obviously there’s financial constraints as well which sometimes comes into the equation, particularly with the unknown future in terms of crowds and you’ve got to factor that in as well. It’s sometimes a case of not what you want to do, it’s what you have to do.
“We wish everybody all the best. One thing they’ve all been is very good people, which is the most important thing.”
As for striker Varney, who has scored 21 goals in two years since joining the club from Burton, Duff said: “He has been an unbelievable signing and an unbelievable person for the football club on and off the pitch.
“He was a fantastic signing for us. I could be a manager for another 25 years and he might be my best ever signing and luckily he was my first. What he’s done for the club, what he’s done for me means there’s nothing but respect.
“I’ve had a really good chat with him today and we shook hands and said ‘thanks very much’. We’ve been good for each other. A lot of the culture that is now set at the club is down to him, he has driven that with his professionalism and drive.”