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Snap back two years.  OK, now forget about Covid.  The empty stadiums.  Cambridge United on the charge to promotion out of League 2 and into League 1. 

There at the front of the pitch – Super Paul Mullin and Joe Ironside.  A total of 99 games between the two (50 for Mullin and 49 for Ironside across all competitions) and a total of 48 goals (34 for Mullin and 14 for Ironside).  

Flash forward to present day and Ironside, 29, is out of contract and destined to free agency.  

Being out of contract is defined in the EFL regulations to mean a “Contract Player whose contract of employment with a Club has expired.

For clubs, there is no right to receive a Sell-On fee, a cute definitional term in the regulations that is the sum of all fees received by a club, for an out of contract player over the age of 24.

The implication – as occurs with free agency in North American sports – the bidding war commences for the addition of a new player with the expense, largely, being in the form of the salary and benefits received by the player.

Ironside has two League Two seasons under his belt with now defunct Macclesfield Town and Cambridge and the two most recent seasons in League One with Cambridge, and without Mullin. 

Is he a sufficient enough upgrade to Sam Dalby or Ollie Palmer to warrant the anticipated salary?  Or, should the club be searching for potential options to improve other positions.  

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