Ryan Fallowfield and Harrogate Town both needed 'freshening up', says Simon Weaver as fans' favourite departs

The desire to freshen things up at Harrogate Town in a bid to try and move the club forwards was the reason behind Simon Weaver's decision to release fans' favourite Ryan Fallowfield.

By Rhys Howell
Sunday, 15th May 2022, 2:32 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th May 2022, 6:25 pm
Ryan Fallowfield in action for Harrogate Town against Tranmere Rovers during the 2021/22 season. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Ryan Fallowfield in action for Harrogate Town against Tranmere Rovers during the 2021/22 season. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The 26-year-old former Hull City right-back is one of eight out-of-contract players not to be offered a new deal at Wetherby Road as the Sulphurites prepare to overhaul their squad following an underwhelming 2021/22 campaign.

In addition, goalkeeper Joe Cracknell, defender Lewis Page, midfielders Simon Power, Connor Kirby and Joe Leesley and striker Mark Beck have all been let go, while the long-serving Lloyd Kerry had already announced his intention to retire from playing.

Meanwhile, defenders Nathan Sheron and Leon Legge and forward Aaron Martin have all been placed on the transfer list.

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Ryan Fallowfield, left, and Jack Muldoon at Wembley Stadium having helped Harrogate Town to a first-ever promotion to the Football League courtesy of a 3-1 win over Notts County in the 2019/20 National League play-off final.

And, while the writing appeared to be on the wall for many of that number, the call to allow Fallowfield to move on has come as more of a surprise to Harrogate's supporters.

But, after five years, Weaver believes that the time was right for both Town and the player himself to make a change.

"I love Ryan. He's a good lad, always has a smile on his face, very committed, great attitude, great in the changing room," the Sulphurites chief told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"His status at this football club is such that he will always be renowned as a proper player and proper person.

"He's been a massive part of our journey and we can't thank him enough for the role he has played in two promotions, but we can't keep everybody for 10 years. Sometimes players need freshening up, and sometimes a club does too.

"And I've told Ryan to be positive and look at the example of James Belshaw, who left here and has gone on to play for a different club in this division, done very well and ended up in League One. There's no reason why he can't do exactly the same."

Fallowfield, who has had something of a tough time with injuries in recent years, made 28 League Two appearances this term, though his season was ended when he suffered an avulsion fracture of two groin tendons during last month's home defeat to Swindon.

Thus, he will begin his search for a new club while still recovering from surgery, however Weaver has promised to support the double-promotion-winner on his journey back to full fitness.

"The medical advice we have on Ryan's injury is that he will be recovered in time to be able to get fit for pre-season.

"We've given him a rehabilitation programme to follow and we've told him that if he needs to get up to speed he can come in here at the start of pre-season and train with us.

"He'll be paid by us up to the start of pre-season and by that point he should be fit and ready to go in terms of finding a new club.

"Because of the time of year, we have obviously been speaking to a lot of people in the world of football and I already know that there will be one or two clubs interested in taking Ryan this summer."

Fallowfield initially joined Town on loan from Hull City during the 2014/15 campaign before signing on a permanent deal in the summer of 2017.

He helped the club to promotion via the play-offs from National League North at the end of that season, then repeated the trick as Harrogate secured an historic elevation to the Football League just over two years later.