We've said all season that Nelson is an enigma, so it's sort of fitting that he represents one of the toughest decisions of the out of contract posse. Capable of moments of sheer brilliance, notably when facing penalties, he has also cost us on far too many occasions this season. For every stunning save, there is at least one horrendous error. His season has hardly ended well either, having been at fault for goals in the games against Bury and Wycombe. I think the deciding moment for me was at Brentford, when he stood on his line like a ten year old who'd been put in goal completely against his will, letting a long, looping ball bounce literally a yard or so away from his line. When the Notts defence needing him most, he looked lost.
It's never really worked for Burch at Meadow Lane, with a string of injuries having meant that the man originally intended to be the club's first choice goalkeeper has never managed to put together a run in the team. He never really did anything wrong when he was getting a game, but he is presumably on decent wages and hasn't shown enough to warrant being given a chance at this stage. Needs to drop back down a level and rebuild his career.
Like most Notts fans, I will readily admit to not knowing a huge amount of Liam Mitchell. Apart from that he went mental when on loan at Tamworth last season. However, his actual performances when at the Lamb Ground earned plenty of praise from their fans, a story that was repeated when he went on loan to Isthmian Premier side Lewes earlier this season. With Fabian Speiss looking like the brighter prospect of the two, Mitchell's chances could be numbered, but with the development squad offering a chance to progress it all comes down to whether Curle thinks he has seen enough of potential and whether he feels paying a relative fraction to Mitchell and Speiss and having three goalkeepers at the club is a worthwhile investment.
If the season Liam Chilvers had had was a film, it would certainly be the sort of uplifting rom-com that could bring a cinema full of hardened Albanian gangsters to tears of joy. In pre-season he was hopeless, being given the runaround by Hinckley United and Kettering Town and generally looking like a footballer who was edging ever closer to the scrapheap. On the transfer list and out of favour, he found himself truly in the footballing wilderness - on loan at Port Vale. But under the guidance of angry, shouty bloke Micky Adams, he found form and fitness, returning to Meadow Lane to become our most consistent centre back this side of New Year's Eve. Whether that is enough to earn him a new deal, even on reduced terms, i'm not sure. Whilst this sort of sours the movie script, the fact remains that Chilvers has contributed nothing for eighteen out of twenty four very well paid months. The fact also remains that, despite improving under Curle, the defence is what has cost Notts this season. If it was up to me, I would be starting again and i'd want the money from Chilvers' wages to allow me to do so.
His story reads almost the same as that of Chilvers, except his falling out of favour was only a few months long. He spent the first half of the season as first choice, putting in consistent if not hugely impressive displays, before being frozen out by Martin Allen. He has returned under Curle, albeit not to being an automatic first choice. As with Chilvers, he has contributed to a central defence that has failed to throw up a consistent, solid partnership and shipped far too many goals this season. Unlike Chilvers, he has previous service to the club to fall back on. If he was happy to accept that he isn't an automatic pick, then he is worth keeping around as his loyalty is undoubted and his ability to put in a solid display when required is extremely useful.
Already on the transfer list, Sodje's hopes of extending his Meadow Lane stay look to be distant. Which is something of an understatement. This isn't news that particularly concerns us. Inconsistent, erratic and thoroughly frustrating, he simply isn't what you want at the centre of your defence under almost all circumstances.
Of all the out of contract players, it is the decision to release Hunt that should come with the heaviest heart. The truth is that, even had he not spent twelve months being blighted by injury, Hunt is possibly not quite up to League One football. None of this should make us forget the fact that he typified the spirit of the title winning League Two side, however, playing the entire season consistently out of position at left back. I think we owe it to Hunt to make sure he is fit and that he can rebuild his career again in League Two.
A man who may benefit more than most from the introduction of the development squad, as well as the sheer amount of out of contract centre backs that Notts have. He's certainly showed enough potential in his appearances against Juventus and Huddersfield, as well as in pre-season, to suggest that he has a future in football. Loan spells with struggling Hinckley United and Darlington should have helped develop his mental strength, but it will all depend on what Curle has seen from him.
Another who has enjoyed something of an Indian summer in the second half of the campaign, having benefited from a loan spell with League Two side Rotherham United. He hasn't quite had the impact on his return that Chilvers has though, so you can see where this one is going. With Alan Sheehan a shoe-in at left back, Harley has performed reasonably well when called upon in midfield, but not well enough to earn him a new deal.
It's easy to put Martin Allen's decision to sign his son last summer down to nepotism, but in this case the easy option is probably the right one to take. No doubt works incredibly hard, and has done so every time he's been given an opportunity, but when your second touch is almost inevitably a tackle then there's only so far hard work can take you. He may have a future in the game at a lower level, but has an awful lot to work on.
Generally, i'm quite a nice guy. I find it hard to dislike people. But there's something about John Spicer that makes me genuinely angry. I've never seen him do anything other than stroll around midfield waving his arms and refusing to get involved in the play. It took Keith Curle one ten minute sub appearance to decided that he was going to transfer list Spicer. Frankly, he should've worked it out sooner. There was one utterly surreal moment when he turned up on Rohan Ricketts' online TV show, dancing and talking about the merits of Krystian Pearce's liking for fried chicken. He put more effort into jiving than he ever put in on the pitch.
Hard to tell with this one, with him having made just one sub appearance for the club, on the last day of last season. Got decent reviews from a loan spell at Lewes and may benefit from the introduction of the development squad. All depends on what possible potential Curle has seen in him.
For all of the warnings about his erratic behaviour, his ability to get arrested at any moment and the fact he is 'unmanageable', Demontagnac has had a pretty quiet season. There's been none of that side of his character, but his pace and trickery have been given equally rare showings. Bizarrely, the one moment of his Notts career that will live in the memory was a quite brilliant last gasp, last ditch tackle at the far post at Wycombe as Notts clung onto their 4-3 lead deep into injury time.
For all of the talk of Burgess rebuilding his Notts career, there really never was all that much to show for it. Whilst the work he put in over the summer to get to some level of fitness is undoubted, he still looked lumbering and ineffective for the vast majority of the time he spent on the pitch this season. Occasionally it clicked and he linked play well, but at no point did he look like a striker with the instinct or the confidence to score goals or indeed the intelligence and vision to be an effective link-up player.
Never has one footballer had so many second chances. Hawley is finished. The sheer amount of new managers, systems, chances from the fans that Hawley has managed to get through during his three years at Meadow Lane is staggering. Even more telling is the fact that it was just one two week spell in this time during which he looked anything like a striker. His touch is good, but he has no confidence, no instinct and, on an all too regular basis, no work rate. I generally like players with obvious talent (take Bogdanovich, who has been fantastic), but Hawley has never looked like translating his talent into performances.