Grimsby Town: Michael Coulson expects to exit Mariners this summer
MICHAEL Coulson has confirmed he expects to leave Grimsby Town this summer and may have played his last game for the club.
As reported in the Telegraph almost a fortnight ago, the club decided against taking up an option to extend the winger's current deal for a further year and instead offered a two-year deal on reduced pay.
Joint boss Rob Scott revealed after last weekend's draw at AFC Telford United that Coulson – who was axed from the squad for that game – had rejected that offer.
Now the 24-year-old has spoken exclusively to the Telegraph about a situation he describes as 'horrible' but 'unlikely to change'.
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The England C international now accepts his future lies away from Cleethorpes.
Coulson said: "Obviously, it's a tricky situation. I want to be at Grimsby Town and have enjoyed my time here.
"I don't want to go too deep into it, but I didn't want to take a pay cut at the end of the day – that's what it is.
"It's not much and not a big cut but it's out of principle – I don't want to take a pay cut.
"Because the club didn't take up the option of an extra year, that gave me the chance to leave for free. It's a horrible situation for me because I have had a great time here and enjoyed my football.
"I've got on well with the fans and vice versa.
"It looks like it's coming to an end now but there's nothing we can do about that unfortunately. I know everyone is talking about it. If it could be resolved, I would love it to be, but it doesn't look promising.
"It looks like I will be playing elsewhere next season.
"Unless something changes in the next two weeks I'll be leaving. But I honestly can't see anything changing."
Coulson doesn't want the be branded a 'contract rebel' and says the offer from the club is a decent one of two years. But it is still on less money and the winger knows his international recognition this season and form in more than 100 games for the Mariners won't see him short of prospective employers in the summer.
Indeed, the man who has netted 24 goals for Town, admits his head has already been turned by interest from Football League clubs.
Coulson said: "Fair play to the club, the budget might not be as good next season and they have offered me a two-year contract. At the end of the day, though, it's reduced terms. It's still a good contract they offered but it's a pay cut whichever way you look at it.
"There is interest out there and I'd be lying if I didn't say that has turned my head a bit.
"Thinking there is a chance of playing for a league club is something that's swaying me.
"If I was going to stay in the Conference I would want to stay at Grimsby."