Naylor shocked by departure

RICHARD Naylor, the club's longest serving player has survived three managers, not counting caretaker boss Tony Mowbray, but was shocked to hear of Royle's departure.

RICHARD Naylor, the club's longest serving player has survived three managers, not counting caretaker boss Tony Mowbray, but was shocked to hear of Royle's departure.

The 29-year-old was switched from a back up centre-forward to central defender by Royle and that has rejuvenated his career.

Naylor said: “I was very surprised to hear the news. It has been a difficult season and we were looking to put that right next season and were expecting to do that with Joe.

“I found Joe to be a fantastic manger. He did wonders for me changing me from a rarely used forward to a centre-back who features regularly. I have nothing but praise for the way he conducts the way he handles players.”


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Naylor signed for John Lyall as a teenager, was handed his debut by George Burley and then became a regular under Royle.

Fabian Wilnis was another player who found a new lease of life when Royle arrived.

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He said: “From a footballing point of view I'm disappointed that he has gone because he did a very good job here.

“He brought in a lot of youngsters on a limited budget. In the first two years he had no money at all and yet we still made the play offs.”

Meanwhile Blues skipper Jason De Vos admitted the players had let manager Joe Royle down and were partially to blame for his departure.

Town struggled for most of the season but following a spirited revival after Christmas they slumped to a run of just one win in 10 matches and finished in 15th place, their lowest in 40 years.

De Vos said: “We let him down. Joe is one of the nicest men in football and as a squad we have let him down.

“We wanted the chance to put things right for him, the fans and ourselves next season.

“I'm personally very disappointed that he has gone. I really enjoyed working with Joe, he is a great coach and a great manager but most of all he is a great person.

“I'm very upset that he has gone but in football these things happen. He has left now and that gives the club plenty of time to find the right man and for that person to prepare for the new season.

“Whoever gets the job will get the players' 100 per cent backing.”

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