Midfielder Liam King is quitting Matlock Town, leaving Gladiators’ boss Mark Atkins angry and frustrated.
King, 24, brings the curtain down on his Matlock career after four seasons following his release by Rotherham United, in which time he established himself as a fans’ favourite, seldom having a poor game and battling consistently for the Gladiators’ cause.
He has also filled in to great effect in central defence and at right back.
Surprisingly, King now looks set for a move to divisional rivals North Ferriby United, much to the chagrin of Matlock, who fully expected the midfield dynamo to sign a new contract.
Atkins originally offered King a contract renewal on his existing terms, a deal improved when King contacted Atkins saying other clubs were courting his services.
“Liam was over the moon with the original deal but came back to me saying two clubs had contacted him offering a lot more money,” Atkins explained.
“He added that he didn’t want to leave but we offered him a better deal with which he was more than happy.
“The contract just needed to be signed but the other week he came back saying he was still talking to other clubs with a view to moving on.
“I told him to think about it but he texted me back saying he was leaving. I’m not happy as an agreement had been made and I believe that once an agreement has been made then you should stick to it.
“Liam has been well looked after since I’ve been at the club.”
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“He’s been a regular player and my second captain after Steve Warne left.
“I’m bitterly disappointed that he’s gone back on his word. I could have understood it more had he come to me at the end of the season, but to leave in these circumstances isn’t on.”
Atkins had released leading scorer Ian Holmes and winger Chris Bettney at the end of last season, so now he has the job of replacing all three players.
“I’ve offered three players deals this last weekend and I’m hopeful that we’ll have positive news on at least a couple of them this week,” Atkins continued.
“It’s been a tough time for us with all the money that’s been flying about but we need to stick within a budget. I’ve been chasing one of them since the end of last season and I’m pretty confident that we’ll get him and be able to announce something once the forms have been signed.”