Date: 07-05-24 The Harriers retained/released list is out

07-05-24. The Harriers retained/released list is out

The retained etc list was announced by the club earlier today and this is the one we’ve been waiting for since our relegation from the National League a few weeks ago. With the players now arriving back from their short breaks it seems they have all now been spoken to and their futures decided.

So let’s get it done and pick the bones out of it.

Sam Robinson
Sam Robinson …
Was expected to stay with the Harriers

First of all we’ll get those leaving out of the way and there are some there that I would have thought could do a job for us in getting promoted back at the first attempt:

Regan Griffiths
Kai Lissimore
Matt Preston
Sammy Robinson
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Ethan Freemantle
Gerry McDonagh
Nathaniel Knight-Percival

The stand out goodbyes there have to be Sammy Robinson and Matt Preston. The Harriers manager, Phil Brown didn’t get a real chance to assess Sammy due to injury but when he did come back he did enough to show his potential that would have been helped by better coaching. Matty Preston also had a bad injury, not just the career ending one but also since then, that might have swayed PB’s thinking but maybe it’s thought that the original injury hasn’t cleared up enough for him to last another full season.

Regan Griffiths hasn’t shown enough since he arrived in February while the battling Kai Lissimore has never seemed to be in Brown’s thoughts. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was only ever going to be temporary and will now probably semi retire from the game while the last three on the above list have never really featured under Brown and won’t be missed.

Next up are the players already under contract for a further season, or two:

Zak Brown
Jack Lambert
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain
Kieran Phillips
Kobe Hall
Gold Omotayo
Caleb Richards
Reiss McNally

Those were all common knowledge except for Zak Brown who, according to the official site some time ago was out of contract this month but now appears to have already signed a new one but for how long? Kieran Phillips has already intimated that he didn’t want to be at the club having been out of favour for some time now, and not wanting full time football, but now appears to be back in the fold. Strange one that!

As for Gold Omotayo well he’d cost too much to let go anyway so he stays. If he actually scores is a question for another day.

Charlie Weston
Charlie Weston …
Here’s hoping he’s coming back to us

Then we have the loanees going home:

Todd Miller
Cole Kpekawa
Charlie Weston
Sam Bellis
Owen Hesketh

Out of those we should try to get Charlie Weston back on a permanent basis but what his contract is with Blackburn Rovers I don’t know. Their release list hasn’t been released yet but hopefully he’ll be on it and hope that he does come back to us. Cole Kpekawa looked useful in the few games he played and, with a now depleted set of defenders it looks like he could be returning in place of Krystian Pearce (see later).



We have four youngsters who have been offered, and accepted, contracts:

Josh Bishop
Samson Hewett
Seb Thompson
Noah Rubio

Bishop looks likely to be the second string keeper next season so that leaves you wondering why Tom Palmer has been offered a new contract (as with Pearce see later) when he’s never going to make the breakthrough and seems to still have no ambition to join another club. Noah Rubio really impressed at Barnet on the last day and is the pick of our youngsters, including Kobe Hall, but with a more visible potential. 

Almost finally are those offered new contracts but as of yet still un-decided:

Krystian Pearce
Krystian Pearce …
No longer playing but coaching?

Christian Dibble
Alex Penny
Ashley Hemmings
Tom Palmer
Shane Byrne
Amari Morgan-Smith

If Shane Byrne and Alex Penny were to turn the contracts down then that wouldn’t be the news that the support would want to hear. Both are an integral part of the Harriers team and both would be a big loss. Dibble too could be a big loss but is that where Tom Palmer fits in? Hope not and Dibble sees sense.

As for the remaining two, Ashley Hemmings and Amari Morgan-Smith, then the feeling is that a change is needed even though both have been good servants to the club and to the fans. It didn’t quite work for Hemmo last season, even though he was the top scorer, and maybe a change is needed for him to get the spark back into his playing. 

Now for the strange one:

Krystian Pearce has also been offered terms to join the backroom staff in a coaching capacity. 

Krys is only thirty four years old and that’s nothing for a defender. He has pedigree, he has respect from other players and he doesn’t do much wrong. We’re now looking short of defenders so unless we are bringing a shed load in it seems a strange decision to ask him to end his career so early. Has he been asked to accept a reduced salary but enough to warrant a coaching rolé? Is it something that he wants anyway?

So there we have it. The change is now underway and the rebuild under Phil Brown has begun. 

Photo © KHFC