Chris Neal: Port Vale exit was based on 'business', says boss Rob Page
Port Vale manager Rob Page says the decision to release goalkeeper Chris Neal was one based on "business" rather than emotions.
Neal, 30, who joined Vale in June 2012, was injured at the start of the 2015-16 season and did not play until November.
The arrival of new number one Jak Alnwick, 22, from Newcastle then saw Neal loaned out to Doncaster and Bury.
"It's not a surprise, because he's been out playing games since January," Page told BBC Radio Stoke.
Page says that Neal understands why he was one of the nine players not to be given new deals at Vale Park.
"He's a good player," said Page. "But unfortunately he got the injury and we wanted to bring a new keeper in. That's football.
"Jak's grabbed the opportunity with both hands. He's had an exceptional season. He's younger and we think there's potential there.
"That's the business side of football, you can't afford to let the emotions get involved. You have to think of the club.
"I didn't want to keep Chris hanging around and, come the end of the season, he was out of contract and not had the chance to go out and impress at another club. He thanked me for the way it was handled."
Contract talks at Vale Park
Strikers Achille Campion, Theo Robinson, Jonathan Kapend, midfielders Colin Daniel, Lewis Bergin, Chekaine Steele, Omar Haughton and defender Ryan McGivern are the other eight Vale players not to be given new deals.
Vale have offered new deals to 13 players - skipper Carl Dickinson, fellow defenders Adam Yates and Richard Duffy, reserve keeper Sam Johnson, midfielders Michael Brown, Michael O'Connor, Ryan Lloyd and Billy Reeves, wingers Byron Moore, Enoch Andoh and Chris Birchall, as well as strikers Louis Dodds and AJ Leitch-Smith.
They all have 28 days to respond to their offers - and Page has told BBC Radio Stoke that there is no room in his budget to negotiate.
They already have Jak Alnwick, fellow keeper Ryan Boot, defenders Nathan Smith, Remie Streete and Ben Purkiss, midfielders Anthony Grant, Sam Kelly and Sam Foley, as well as striker JJ Hooper, all under contract.