In a week that could not have got any worse for Bedlington Terriers, captain Stephen Little and leading goalscorer Liam Hudson left the club within 24 hours of each other.
Both players have backed manager Andy Ferrell in recent weeks, but skipper Little said he believed the former Gateshead man is “facing an uphill battle under the current regime”.
Little said: “I have decided to move on to another club, it has been quite hard for me because I have been here a year, I have been here a long time and I can’t see us getting out of this relegation battle.
“I really do hope Bedlington do well, for Andy’s sake. His enthusiasm is unbelievable, Fez and his pregnant girlfriend are having to wash the kits on a weekly basis.
“He is hunting around non-stop for players and it was a hard decision to tell him that I was leaving. We had a big conversation twice and he has been tremendous.
“I have never played under a manager like him. He has played the game at the highest level and he cares about every player. I hope they can get out of this situation.”
The 27-year-old said he was leaving for a club with a better set-up.
He added: “It is little things like only have one working shower after a game, the pitch not being cut and embarrassing for the opening match. I don’t want to be slagging off anyone, though, but the club needs to do better.”
Little admitted that his head has not been right the past two games because of interest elsewhere, and he has tipped fellow centre half John Pendlebury to be his predecessor.
Ferrell said: “Liam and Stevie have both gave me their reasons for leaving, which is between myself and the players, and it isn’t an ideal situation for attracting the ‘so called’ better players.
“Stevie wanted to play against Consett out of respect for me and the lads, it is very disappointing to have lost my leader and captain and top goalscorer.”
“They are our loss and someone else’s gain, they leave with my respect and I wish them all the best, they are entitled to their opinion at the end of the day.”
Bedlington are currently sitting third-bottom of the Northern League and have an uphill battle with the next two league games coming against sides that finished in the top ten last season.