Stephen Harmison lamented his decision to release Wayne Buchanan and reckons he may not face as hard a judgement in the next ten years.
The Ashington boss showered the cultured defender with accolades and admiration, including making Buchanan the yardstick for players to aspire too.
He said: “I’ve had to let Wayne go. But I could be in this game for another ten years and not have to make the same decision or have a harder conversation.
“From the new management team coming in, Wayne’s training and work ethic was fantastic, but we had to look at the long term of the team and there were a lot of factors which came into the equation.
“However, he will be the yardstick for every player and as a club we wish him the very best for the future.”
Born in Banbridge in County Down, Buchanan admitted he was shocked when informed of his release, but said the matter had been conducted in a professional manner.
“I had a new lease of life when I joined and I didn’t want to leave,” he said.
“I was shocked because I thought this was the club for me.
“I believed I had made good impression and I was loving my time up there, but I’m experienced enough to know that these things happen.”
The 33-year-old added: “I have the utmost respect for Steve Harmison, Ian Skinner and Lee Anderson, who met me face to face and did things professionally.
“I have left on good terms and there is no bitterness at all. In fact when I hang my boots up, I will be looking to get into the management side of the game and I would like to work with them again at Ashington.”
In the meantime, Buchanan, who signed shortly before the resignation of Woodhorn Lane’s then manager Gary Middleton, is looking to link up with another club before the start of the forthcoming campaign.
Harmison said he has just endured the most difficult time of his managerial reign.
“The last three weeks have been the hardest for me,” he said.
“I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t know to what extent and I have had my eyes open.
“Where we are geographically at Ashington, we are finding it hard to get players to come because there are a lot of other options out there closer to where the individual player lives.”