McCormack leaving Charlton by "mutual consent" sounds like money changed hands to get him out of the door, which is fair enough given that he had a year to run on his contract. I suspect that both he and Francis had a simple financial decision to make before rejecting Dagenham & Redbridge in the case of McCormack, and Bournemouth in the case of Francis.
Both joined from a relegated Southend side a year ago on two year deals, and I think it would be fair to say that both would have felt they had struck the jackpot joining Charlton, where despite the financial problems, we still had one of the biggest wage bills in the third division. A year later, and it can come as no surprise that any club likely to come calling for them, would not be in a position to offer them a similar payday.
The fact that Francis could not agree personal terms with Bournemouth, who are after all in the same division, says something about the gulf that must exist in basic pay offered if nothing else. In fairness to him though, it can also be argued that Bournemouth are likely to be next season's Swindon. Stripped of some of their best players, which Charlton had more than a passing involvement in, I suspect Bournemouth will suffer for it in the season to come. Francis meanwhile has a squad number, but unsurprisingly it is right at the bottom of the pile.
Speaking of Swindon, reports are rife that McCormack will soon be unveiled as a new signing there. I believe that the fourth division is probably where he is best suited, and if the rumour is true, then I wish him well,
Contract End - Dec 2011
Contract End - June 2012
Contract End - June 2013
Contract End - June 2014
First Professional Contract
(* = contract length unknown)