NEWCASTLE United released a whole team’s worth of footballers yesterday, but there were no surprises in the 11 names who will not wear the famous black-and-white shirt again.
Peter Løvenkrands, Alan Smith and Danny Guthrie were the only senior players told they will not be getting new contracts.
Aston Villa target Guthrie had already said his goodbyes via social networking site Twitter, while Smith turned down the offer to stay at St James’ Park as a coach.
It was an open secret that Danish striker Løvenkrands had played his last game for the club. He went on a separate lap of honour after he and his team-mates had done one together following Newcastle’s last home game of 2011-12, the defeat to Manchester City. It was his way of saying thank you for the support he has had during an at-times difficult spell personally, which included the death of his father.
Løvenkrands has been released before by Newcastle, when his six-month contract ended with relegation in 2009, only to return as a free agent in the early stages of the next season. He played a vital role as the Magpies earned promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
This time, though, a return looks highly unlikely. Well down the pecking order, the popular Dane has been a bit-part player at best in the season just ended.
He has still had more opportunities than former England striker Smith, who made two very brief substitute appearances in a campaign that ended on loan at League One Milton Keynes Dons. Newcastle would have liked to have kept Guthrie, but the midfielder feels he deserves regular Premier League football.
Of the rest, Hungary defender Tamás Kádár is easily the most experienced, but he never played first-team football for Alan Pardew.
The left-sided centre-back, capped three times by his country, was one of a host of young players signed by Newcastle early in Mike Ashley’s tenure as owner when he joined from Zalaegerszegi in 2008. The plan was for them to save the club a fortune in transfer fees, but almost without exception they have failed to make the grade.
Sammy Adjei, Phil Airey, Ryan Donaldson, Stephen Folan, Jeff Henderson, Greg McDermott and Patrick Nzunzi are the others released yesterday.
James Tavernier, Paul Dummett, Brad Inman, Connor Newton and Michael Richardson have been offered new deals.