It’s not all White for departing John

John White

John White

Club stalwart John White has turned down the offer of a new contract, and so will be leaving Colchester United.

Versatile defender White has been a loyal servant to the U’s over the last decade, since graduating from the Essex club’s youth system. He actually joined the club at the age of 11.

But the 26-year-old, after making 255 first team appearances for the U’s, including 227 league outings, has decided to move on and try his luck elsewhere.

Manager Joe Dunne revealed the news to the East Anglian Daily Times last night, before he travelled to Ireland with his squad to commence a full week of pre-season training.

“John (White) has been a great asset to the club, and has been a great lad to work with,” explained Dunne.

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“I made John the best offer I could, with the small budget I had to work with.

“The terms were not as good as the previous one, but then you will find that is the case with most clubs now, in terms of renewing contracts. With the exception of a few clubs, everyone else is cutting their cloth accordingly.

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“I spoke to John’s representative, who said that John would be turning down the contract, which is his prerogative.

“He had plenty of time to decide – it was four weeks since we made the offer – and we fully respect his decision. I fully understand that John needs to do the best for himself, and his family.”

White’s specialist position is as a right-back, but the Maldon-born defender has also operated to good effect as a left-back and a centre-half during his days at both Layer Road and the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

He made his senior debut back in the summer of 2004, against Cheltenham in a League Cup tie (August 24), when Phil Parkinson was on the managerial hot seat, and celebrated his league debut just four days later, in a 4-1 win over Doncaster.

Dunne continued: “I worked with John when he was in the youth team, so I always knew what he could do, and what his potential was.

“But I have had to juggle things with my budget this summer, to balance the players I want to bring in with the players that I want to stay.

“There were only three senior lads out of contract at the end of last season, rather than seven or eight, so there wasn’t much leeway for me.

“Of those three, I decided to release Matt (Heath), and offer contracts to Mark (Cousins) and John (White). Mark decided to sign, but John hasn’t, so it’s been one of each really.

“I wanted to keep John, and tried to put something together to get him to stay, to give him that opportunity.

“I did the best I could for him, but his representative said that he (White) wanted to find something to keep him on the same terms that he has been on before.

“But most players being signed are taking pay-cuts these days. That was the case with Craig Eastmond, who we signed from Arsenal (earlier in the summer).

“Craig has had to take a cut, after leaving Arsenal to join us, but I believe it is a good footballing decision by the lad,” added Dunne.

White, although in-and-out of the starting line-up in recent seasons, still made 24 appearances last term and played a key role in keeping the U’s in League One at the death.

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