Josh Meade has spoken of his devastation of being released by his boyhood club, but admits he can’t wait to get the chance to prove Rovers made a mistake.
The talented midfielder was one of four youngsters told the heartbreaking news by manager Paul Dickov last Wednesday that their short-term contracts would not be extended as Rovers prepare for life in League One.
Released quartet Meade, defenders Jordan Binns (pictured above right) and Evan Finnegan and forward Chris Whincop are all now looking for other clubs to continue their development away from Cantley Park - a place where they have spent the majority of their teenage years.
Despite the setback, Meade admits that the news did not come as a surprise following a lack of first team action during Rovers’ problematic Championship campaign.
The 19-year-old also admitted to not having as good a relationship with Dickov as he did with the Scotsman’s predecessors.
“All of the team were called in for individual meetings. I was the first of the young lads to go in,” recalled Meade who this year spent a loan spell with Goole AFC.
“Me and the gaffer [Dickov] had a chat and I was told that my contract wasn’t going to be extended.
“I am the type of kid that when I am told that kind of news, I take it on-board.
“There’s nothing you can do to change their minds, you just have to get on with it and think about your next step.
“I did go in there hoping for a contract extension because I love the club, they’ve been my team as a kid and I have happy memories there, but under the current manager I got an inkling I wasn’t going to get a deal.
“I just got the feeling I wasn’t one of his [Dickov’s] picks. In the past, I’d got the feeling I was a favourite of Brian Flynn’s and Dean Saunders, but not Dickov’s.
“But that’s football and you have to get on with it.
“I wish the timing would’ve been better because teams have finished their seasons and are winding down before pre-season so it doesn’t give me as much time to join someone else but that’s one of those things. I just can’t wait to get going again now. It’s upto me now to prove Rovers wrong.”
Meade, of Town Moor, remains optimistic about his future, in fact, he’s already looking into plying his trade at another local club.
“In a strange way, being told I wasn’t getting a contract gave me a bit of optimism because I am now looking forward to getting my head down and working hard for my next opportunity,” said Meade, who made his senior Doncaster debut in last season’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
“I’m always talking to people in the game to get advice so I’m in good hands and I know at the end of the day this is what I want to do so I will hopefully get the chance somewhere else.”
It might’ve come to an abrupt end but Meade has many fond memories of his time in the red and white of Rovers.
From joining at the age of 15 - after Rotherham and Barnsley didn’t take him on - to netting in the Youth Alliance Cup success in 2012, getting his professional contract last summer and then playing in front of 6,000 screaming girls when One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson played for the reserves, Meade has been happy with his many highlights with his local team.
Several of those memories were also spent with fellow released youngsters Binns, Finnegan and Whincop, whom - for the first time - face life being separated as they look for clubs to play for.
As former Armthorpe Rovers talent Meade looks at making memories for another side, that could mean playing against the very club which gave him his dream start in football.
The ex-Danum Academy pupil added: “I’ve loved Rovers since I was young, I always went to watch them play and to get a contract with them was a dream come true for me. It was always a special thing to put on the Rovers shirt and it’s something I’ll never forget.
“But now I’m preparing for a new stage of my career and I’m excited for the challenge ahead.
“I’m already looking at local clubs to play for. You never know, I could be scoring against Rovers next season!”