Yesterday, news broke that five of Bolton's U21 and U18 players were leaving the club following the expiration of their various contracts. The five in question were Jack Sampson, Adam Blakeman, Lewis Fielding, Joe McKee, and Alex McQuade. This morning, the club confirmed that Ben Hampson and Ben Dennis would also be leaving. The group's stay at Bolton officially comes to an end on 30 June.
Initial reactions on Twitter and Facebook from fans yesterday carried an attitude of unfairness towards the young players and it begs reminding that this is an extremely normal thing in football, especially when the youngsters have not been able to break into the first team. Of those seven players, only Blakeman has made an appearance for the senior side, coming on late in a League Cup match against Macclesfield Town in 2011.
Last year, Bolton Wanderers would see 15 players leave with youngsters Mark Connolly (currently at Crawley Town), Tom Eckersley (Accrington Stanley), Dino Fazlic (Grasshopper Club Zürich II), Rhys Bennett (Rochdale), and Tope Obadeyi (Rio Ave) joining the likes of Ivan Klasnic, Gretar Steinsson, Paul Robinson and others.
Best of luck to Samspon, Blakeman, Fielding, McKee, McQuade, Hampson, and Dennis in their future endeavors.