East Stirlingshire’s misfit centre-half Raymond Buchanan could be heading out of the club this week and back to the world of junior football.
The 28-year-old walked out on Shire in March just two months after signing on an 18 month deal from Ayrshire side Whittlets Victoria, claiming he was giving up football completely to concentrate on business commitments.
But now the club is set to offload him after Buchanan had another change of mind and said he wanted to resume playing, only not with the Shire.
“It’s been a bit of a saga,” said Shire secretary, Tadek Kopszywa. “And, to be honest, it has also been a bit of a salutary lesson in dealing in the transfer market.
“At the time, though, Raymond fitted the bill in terms of what we needed. The sad thing is we were just starting to get the best out of him when he decided to leave.”
The giant 6’7’’ defender was brought in to plug holes in a porous Shire defence and, after a slow start, he was making his presence felt. Buchanan was a key member of the team that had, by the end of February, taken Shire to the verge of the play-off positions, only for him to drop the bombshell just weeks later.
“It was the first in a catalogue of misfortune for us that included injuries and suspensions to key players and we ended up slumping back to the bottom of the league,” said the club secretary.
The player’s stated intention of dropping out of football completely initially left Shire with the major headache of a player on a medium-term deal with no transfer value. However some summer interest from junior clubs seems to indicate the player may have had a change of heart.
“It looks as though he now wants to start playing again, although it won’t be with us,” said Kopszywa. “We have had a few enquiries and are giving them consideration.
“I don’t think we want to dwell long on the matter. If we can find Raymond a club for a fee that is suitable then he will be on his way.”
The whole story has left the Shire secretary wary of getting involved in the transfer market again and he says what has happened will have a big impact on club policy in the future.
“Things did not work out but it is not the right thing to do to start handing out blame for why things went wrong.
“We have learned, though, that the transfer market is an inefficient way of recruiting players and, in future, I think it is something we will leave others to get on with.”
Shire may also be about to gain financially after defender Steven Jackson moved to Second Division Brechin City under freedom of contract.
The club will be due a compensation fee although the level will depend on whether the two clubs can agree or if it has to go to a tribunal.
“We will need to wait and see what Brechin offer,” said Kopszywa. “For us, it is about measuring what we feel we have lost and trying to put a value on that along with all the costs we have spent developing a kid from boys’ football into a player that clubs are willing to sign from us.
“We were hopeful that he would stay at least another year. He is still only 19 years-old and the coaching staff felt another season with us would have helped him become an even better player.
“The club made Steven what we thought was a very good offer of a new contract but we accept these things happen in football and will move on.”
Meanwhile, Shire travel to Stranraer on Saturday for their first pre-season match. The game at Stair Park is closed doors and specatators will not be admitted.
Shire fans will get a chance to see their team in action on Tuesday evening when they take on Stenhousemuir at Ochilview.