The close season has only just begun – but Ashington FC will begin the new Ebac Northern League First Division campaign in August with a new captain.
The Colliers` management team of Steve Harmison, Ian Skinner and Lee Anderson met with several players last week, including goalkeeper Conor Grant, Ben Christensen, Matty Grieve, James Taylor, Andrew Bulford and the long-serving Andrew Johnson.
And Johnson, skipper for the past few years, informed them that he has a burning desire to play at a higher level and will be leaving the Woodhorn Lane-based outfit.
Harmison said: “We sat down and had an honest conversation and although I’m disappointed, I can understand his decision.
“Andrew indicated that he didn’t want to play for any other Northern League club – it was the challenge of pitting his wits against better players at a higher level and that was something we couldn’t offer him.
“As a former professional sportsman myself, I fully support him because your aim is to be the best you can be.
“Twelve months ago, Andrew was in the same mind-set but because he stayed with us, a third of the way through the season, he was rueing the fact that he didn’t move on and I felt for him because he’s at an age to test himself.
“Reluctantly we wished Andrew all the best because you don’t want to see your better players leave but if he signs for a higher status club and does well, then everyone will be pleased for him as he has done good things for Ashington FC. I hope things work out for him but if not there is always room for him to come back.”