Bristol Rovers: Craig Stanley admits he's disappointed to be forced to move on
Midfielder Craig Stanley says he was surprised and disappointed when he was told that he would not be part of Bristol Rovers boss Mark McGhee's plans for the coming season.
Stanley, 29, was released by the club yesterday after coming to a mutual agreement with officials over an early termination of the two-year deal he signed last summer.
"I'd known for a while that the likelihood was that I would be leaving the club," Stanley said last night. "I'm still very disappointed as I've really enjoyed my time at Bristol Rovers. It probably didn't start as well as I would have liked because we did struggle as a team up until Christmas and I'd admit that the supporters probably didn't see the best of me.
"I do think, however, that after Christmas I did a lot better and I also felt I did well in the games I played in after Mark McGhee arrived at the club. The manager did indicate that I was part of his plans towards the end of the season so it was a bit of surprise when he called me in two weeks later to tell me that it would be in my interests to look for a new club.
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"I'd not played in any of the games in that two-week period so I don't know what happened to change the manager's mind.
"That's the way it goes in football sometimes though, and you just have to accept it and move on.
"I could have stayed around and just picked up my wages every week, but that would have been no good for me. I'm 29 years old and I want to play football, so if I'm not going to get it at Rovers then it's in my best interests to go and look for it elsewhere."
Stanley, who played 39 times and scored one goal for Rovers, added: "I don't hold any ill-feelings towards anyone at the club. I was treated very well by everyone and I wish them all the very best.
"I think the team will do very well next year and I'm disappointed that I won't be a part of it.
"I'm sure Rovers will once again be favourites to go up like we were last summer and I really hope they can do it for the supporters this time.
"They were great to me during my time there. There were some ups and downs, but I hope that I won a lot them over with my performances in the second part of last season."