Torquay United manager Gary Johnson has revealed that hotshot striker Jamie Reid has left the Gulls after rejecting a new deal – but the manager says he has had to find good goalscorers all his career, and he will do it again.
Also walking away, despite the offer of a new contract, is winger Kalvin Kalala, while three players – Ryan Dickson, Jared Lewington and Josh Baxter – have been released. The manager also confirmed that everyone else is staying put, meaning the squad is looking pretty healthy, despite the loss of its top goalscorer.
Reid scored 78 goals in 144 games for the Gulls during a couple of loan spells from Exeter City and after signing full time in 2017. He finished this season on 18 National League goals having scored 31 in all competitions during the 2019-20 National League South title season.
Johnson said the club tried to persuade their prize asset that his immediate future lay at Plainmoor – but the lure of League football won the 25-year-old over.
“It was nothing to do with the offer,” said Johnson. “The club actually did everything we could to keep him – where are you going to find another 30-goal a season man?
“It has happened to me a few times over the 30 years as a manager where I find a striker that might not be scoring goals and I look at their technique and I think I can make them into a goalscorer.
“Reidy is one of those and always you lose them in the end because eventually they want to find a higher club, whether they be for finance or whatever.
“We tried to convince him it would be us pretty soon, but he acknowledged ‘thanks for trying but I have sort of made my mind up’.
“But it is a bit precarious out there at the moment so I hope him and his representative get what they are looking for.
“I don’t think anything is absolutely fixed as yet because it can’t be with all the problems in football and the Football League not knowing what they are doing – so nobody is taking on players with new contracts.
“So him and his representative have taken a little bit of a risk but that’s what he wanted to do. The club did all it could to try to keep him.”