At the end of a football season, teams are judged on one thing – success or failure.
Success can mean a number of things, such as team improvement, player progression, achieving or beating targets.
Failure can be a team declining, players failing to improve or not reaching the goals set at the start of a campaign.
As for a player, there are always usually rewards for success and a price to pay for failure. Success can bring trophies, promotion and new contracts, while failure usually means relegation, being moved on or failing to gain a new contract.
A good season for a player can mean an enjoyable summer with friends and family, whereas a poor one can spell doom, gloom and uncertainty.
There is no doubt Oxford United have under-achieved this season and after the targets they set themselves at the start of the year, it is fair to call this season a failure.
That’s a strong statement and I don’t like saying it, as I still have many friends in that dressing room at the club. But it is my honest and fair assessment and I think most in the dressing room would agree.
So what is the price of failure for United this term and who is going to pay?
If the last two seasons are anything to go by, it will mean a big turnover of players in the summer.
At the end last season, 12 players paid the price of under-achieving by being released, myself included.
New additions came before the start of the following campaign, including two loanees and six permanent signings.
There will be more players going out than coming in this summer, but finances might dictate that rather than anything else. I’m not saying a huge clear-out is needed, as that can bring disruption and affect continuity, but for sure, change is required.
There would have been personnel changes anyway, with players out of contract and a new manager at the helm. Gary Waddock will want to bring in some of his own players that fit his style of football.
I haven’t seen enough of United this season to suggest who might be going or who I think needs to be moved on.
Their poor season means that possibly nobody is a certainty to be at the club next season, apart from those players under contract like goalkeeper Ryan Clarke and young Josh Ruffels.
Is anyone safe in the home dressing room at the Kassam?
Football isn’t always fair, but you hope that those players who deserve to be kept on, will be.
It’s never nice to end a season full of disappointment, so I will end on a positive note with this quote: “Never be afraid to see things fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild things the way you wish you had them all along.”