Bristol Rovers have terminated Max Ehmer’s contract a year after the centre-back had signed from Gillingham, with the 29-year-old returning to his former club on a free transfer.
Ehmer was one of the marquee arrivals 12 months ago and was given the club captaincy in the hope he could fill the void left by Tony Craig’s departure.
An established League One centre-back who had fulfilled a similar role over five seasons and 250 appearances with the Gills, Ehmer looked a smart piece of recruitment.
However, his time at the Gas was nothing short of a disaster with a string of underwhelming and chaotic displays, added to the overall lack of on-field leadership.
He was a regular under Ben Garner and Paul Tisdale and made three appearances under Barton but fell out of favour after a disastrous performance against Plymouth.
Barton publicly criticised his captain saying he wasn’t of the requisite ability to wear the armband and soon after it was confirmed that Ehmer was out for the season to undergo shoulder surgery.
It’s understood that the coaching staff was far from impressed at the time that the club captain had made a decision to end his campaign prematurely with the Gas’ League One status at stake.
In a short statement, Rovers said: “Bristol Rovers would like to extend our thanks to Max for his efforts at the Mem and wish him the best of luck for the future.”
With Rovers having added Mark Hughes, as the experienced head at the back, and Nick Anderton, who can play to the left of a three-man defence, so far this summer and interest in young Stoke centre-back Connor Taylor, Ehmer’s future has looked increasingly in doubt.
He had been Rovers’ highest earner which means terminating his contract has freed up vital space in the wage bill for Barton to explore further options in the market.
Ehmer’s exit leaves Barton with four specialist centre-backs in Hughes, Alfie Kilgour, Jack Baldwin, Cian Harries plus George Williams, Anderton and Pablo Martinez who can also operate there.