Bristol City offer Louis Carey a new contract
IN A surprise about-turn of events, Bristol City hero Louis Carey has been offered a new contract.
The 35-year-old defender was told last week that Saturday's final Championship fixture, against Burnley at Turf Moor, would be his 625th and last game for the club he has served with distinction for nearly two decades.
Visibly overcome by emotion at the final whistle, the Bristolian went across to acknowledge City fans behind the goal and threw items of his kit into the crowd in what appeared to be a farewell gesture.
But City boss Derek McInnes has since undergone an apparent change of heart and, instead of being shown the door yesterday, the Bristolian was offered a new one-year deal.
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As expected, goalkeeper David James and left-back Jamie McAllister were high-profile casualties among a list of eight out-of-contract players who were told their services were no longer required. But City fans, many of whom believed Carey was leaving, are sure to welcome news the club captain is staying on.
Explaining his decision to offer Carey a new deal, McInnes said: "For me, Louis has done exceptionally well – I don't need to tell Bristol City fans that.
"In our recent run, Louis has played a number of games, probably more than most people would have thought. He has been instrumental and I want good people at the club.
"We've offered Louis a deal we hope he will accept and it has not been done out of sentiment or loyalty. His performances of late have made me decide to offer him a new deal and he has earned it..
"On Saturday, it was not clear and that is probably why emotions ran high. But in that game, like he has been for a number of weeks, he was outstanding."
Former England keeper James and long-serving defender McAllister, were informed last week that they would be leaving.
McInnes said: "I told David James and Jamie McAllister that Saturday (at Burnley) would be their last game. They have been terrific servants for the club and deserved to know."
Signed from Hearts by former Robins manager Gary Johnson in 2006, McAllister made 210 appearances for the club, helping City win automatic promotion to the Championship in 2007 and then reach the play-off final 12 months later.
But he lost his place through injury this season and went on loan to Preston to get regular first-team football.
A total of eight players were told their contracts would not be renewed, including striker David Clarkson and midfielder Jamal Campbell-Ryce.
Christian Ribeiro is one of four City Academy products to be released, along with Marlon Jackson, Danny Ball and Henry Muggeridge.
Midfield enforcer Kalifa Cisse has informed City he wishes to explore his options as a free agent and, although the Robins have not given up hope of retaining the Mali international's services, he plans to hold talks with clubs in France.
Midfielder Stephen Pearson has been offered a one-year deal after impressing last season.
Right-back Joe Edwards and youth-team keeper Lewis Carey have also been offered new contracts, while Aaron Amadi-Holloway has been offered a short-term deal and a chance to prove himself.