The departure of Billy Paynter was seemingly inevitable and unavoidable. I, however cannot say the same for the exit of our influencial captain Gordon Greer. Experience and leadership qualities are not to be under-estimated; his last gasp equaliser against Norwich summed him up. The popular opinion is that the club should have offered the experienced Scot the contract he wanted. Gus Poyet came calling and he left Brighton who went on to win the league.
As well as the departure of our top scorer and captain, we also had some influencial loanees that returned to their parent clubs. Bolton's Danny Ward really showed his ability with nine goals, including two in the play-offs. His performances showed he is going places and ultimately joined Championship side Coventry and latterly high flying Huddersfield Town. Defender, Stephen Darby was also a consistent performer, whilst on loan from Liverpool, although what the Town supporters will really remember him for if his winning penalty at the Valley.
The 29 goals from the departed Billy Paynter were never going to be easy to replace along with his work ethic. Vincent Pericard has never been and never will be a clinical finisher; this combined with his fitness problems never made him an able replacement. The same could be said for Thomas Dossevi. The Togo international, who despite early promise with two goals versus Nottingham Forest in a pre-season friendly was never really cut out for English football.
Greer's departure left the inexperienced Scott Cuthbert and Sean Morrison as our defensive partnership. Both Cuthbert and Morrison were individually players with a lot of potential. Having failed to keep a clean sheet from October to January, it was evident they both needed a leader alongside them.
One word I would use to describe some of Danny Wilson's signings. Unnecessary. The signing of David Prutton, for me did more of a hindrance than help. He upset the balance of the midfield and broke up the winning partnership of Jonathan Douglas and Simon Ferry. The signings of two left-backs in Michael Rose and Alan Sheehan also stunted the development of the young but consistent performer Callum Kennedy. Loan signing David Ball was largely uninspiring, although I feel he wasn't given enough opportunities. The loan captures of Mike Grella, Jon Obika and Calvin Andrew on the whole were very dissapointing.