Glen Taylor admitted that leaving Ashington to rejoin Spennymoor Town had been the hardest decision of his footballing career.
But the striker, who recently celebrated his 25th birthday, said it was the desire to play at a higher level which finally swung the pendulum in the Durham club’s favour.
Taylor was on a coach en-route to Liverpool for his stag do when he said: “Since Steve Harmison arrived as manager at Ashington, things have been brilliant and I was looking forward to the new season.
“But then Spennymoor came calling and believe me, this was the hardest decision of my career.
“I stewed over it and I appreciate that the Ashington supporters will be scratching their heads as I’m returning to a club where it didn’t work out for me the last time.
“But because of the way I’ve improved as a player and matured as a person, I know I have made the right call and I’m ready for the challenge.
“I have a lot of proper mates at Ashington, a couple of whom are coming over to my wedding in Cyprus at the end of July, but footballing wise I want to play at the highest level.
“I’d like to thank the management at Ashington of Steve Harmison, Ian Skinner and Lee Anderson, as well as chairman Ian Lavery and vice-chairman Peter Moran, and the fans, and wish them all the best for the future.”
Sunderland-based Taylor finished last term as the club’s top scorer with 26 goals, one of which earned him the ‘goal of the season’ at the club’s end of season awards ceremony.
He put pen to paper on a two-year contract last week and the deal sees the tall forward, who originally moved to Woodhorn Lane from Spennymoor two and a half years ago, link up once again with Brewery Field boss Jason Ainsley.
Ainsley said: “Since Glen left us two and a half years ago, I believe he has become an even better player and matured into a fantastic centre forward with all the attributes that suit this league.
“He has scored over 80 goals after leaving us and was wanted by hosts of clubs both in the Northern League and Evo-Stik.
“When I knew we had a chance of getting Glen I made it a priority of making the deal happen, and I’m thoroughly delighted to have finally completed it.”
Ashington head coach Skinner said: “Steve, Lee and myself met with Glen to discuss terms for next season.
“Glen was open and honest and said he had received numerous offers from other clubs, which we expect because he is a good player, but stated that he wouldn’t play for any other Northern League club other than Ashington.
“He had a very generous offer from Spennymoor Town which he was giving considerable thought too.
“We as a management team told him how valued he was at Ashington but said we would never stand in anybody’s way who wanted to go and play at a higher level, and certainly with the gaffer Steve playing at the very highest level in his sport, he couldn’t be seen to discourage someone.
“Glen asked for some time to think about it, which we didn’t have a problem with, but unfortunately he came back to us and said he was going to take the Spennymoor offer and give it another go because he has been there before.
“Blyth Spartans did come in for him at the 12th hour, which could have been a good move for Glen because it’s another division higher, but I think he had verbally agreed to join the Moors and didn’t want to go back on that.
“We are disappointed to lose him but he goes with our best wishes.
“We will need to replace him and we are actively working really hard to do that.
“We were already looking to bring someone in to work alongside Glen so all that means now is that instead of possibly only needing one to play up top, we might have to widen the net a little bit and look to bring in two.”
Taylor, a former student at Ashington High School Sports College, has also played for Whitley Bay and Blyth Spartans.