Ashington CFC have been dealt a shattering blow with the news that defensive lynchpin Craig Scott is leaving the area and will be severing his ties with the club.
However, 26-year-old Newcastle born Scott, who is taking up a new post based in London, could be saying au revoir rather than farewell as he has certainly not ruled out a return in the future.
Scott, a huge hit with the club’s supporters, may have already played his last game for Gary Middleton’s side as he starts his new job in the capital on Monday.
But the defender admitted that he leaves the Woodhorn Lane outfit with mixed emotions and a heavy heart.
“Naturally I am pleased to be taking promotion with better terms and conditions,” said Scott, who previously worked in field sales but has advanced to become a customer account executive for a wine and spirits company.
“However, I have mixed emotions because from a footballing perspective, I am gutted to be leaving.
“I have had three great seasons with the club and have thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.”
Scott, who after his first campaign scooped both the Player of the Year award as well as the Players’ Player accolade, added: “I like the management, they are a great bunch of lads in the dressing room and above all else it is a great club – and I definitely leave with a heavy heart.”
Scott has not ruled out the possibility of rekindling his career with the Colliers down the line.
“My intention is to return to the north east in a couple of years,” he said.
“And if that happens then I could not imagine myself playing for any other club than Ashington.”
Scott is appreciative of the support he has received from the club’s fans.
He said: “I’d like the thank them for there kind comments and thoughts.
“Throughout my three years I’ve had a good rapport with them and I’m really going to miss everyone connected with the club.”
Woodhorn Lane boss Gary Middleton said: “Craig’s departure is another blow for the club in what has been a frustrating season as a manager.
“We have lost two central halves in Matty Grieve and Liam Atkin to Celtic Nation; striker Phill Bell who took up a job in Nottingham; Lance McGlen who was on the sidelines for a long period through injury whilst Darren Lough has returned to play in Iceland and now Craig.”
Middleton continued: “From a managerial point of view, Craig is everything you would want from a central defender.
“He has got a massive heart, is strong and a player who you would certainly want in your team and not be against you.
“It is a massive blow because he will be hard to replace.”
Club chairman Ian Lavery said: “Craig has played for Ashington for three seasons and rest assured when he is on the pitch he has a massive presence.
“The team played better when he played and not only is he an outstanding footballer, he has the character and personality to match.
“I really do wish him the best of luck in his new employment and simply say to him that the door is firmly wide open should he ever wish to return.”