Alex Pike insists he has no regrets over the decision that sparked Sammy Igoe’s exit from Gosport Borough.
The experienced former Pompey midfielder demanded a loan move away from Privett Park two days after being left out of the match-day squad for the FA Trophy final at Wembley, voicing his frustration to the Borough coaching staff at his omission.
It meant Igoe joined Bognor for the rest of the campaign and will miss the club’s ongoing battle to stay in Skrill South, which continues tonight at home to Farnborough (7.45pm).
But while the Borough boss admits he has lost a fantastic player, he believes there was little alternative but a parting of the ways.
Pike said: ‘Sometimes you have to shake hands and let them move on.
‘That’s what happened with Sammy.
‘He was disappointed and distraught that he wasn’t included at Wembley but, even with hindsight, I would have done the same.
‘I picked the strongest team I could and I had to be fair.
‘He’s an honest character, he has been around a long time and has played for a lot of better clubs than Gosport.
‘He told me that once his head has gone he finds it difficult to get it back in place.
‘And he felt he couldn’t do himself justice playing for Gosport.
‘Maybe he didn’t handle it in the model professional way but he has done brilliantly for the club.
‘I don’t take it personally. I’ve got to thank him for what he’s done in helping us win two promotions. I will always praise him for that and he’s been a fantastic player for me.’
While Igoe admitted he was upset at failing to even make the bench, the 38-year-old was more concerned with trying to regain his fitness after the ankle injury which cost him his Wembley hope.
And he has not ruled out playing for the club again next season.
He said: ‘I was very disappointed to be left out at Wembley but I had been injured for a few weeks and had only played 60 minutes in that time.
‘I felt that with the important run-in and the fact that we had so many games and no training, it meant I had limited opportunity to get back fit.
‘So I just felt it was better if I went out on loan and played some games.
‘I’d played at Wembley before but I was a bit upset I didn’t even make the bench, considering I was the most senior player in the squad and had that experience.
‘I did vent my frustrations to him (Pike) that I wasn’t involved and I couldn’t get my head around it.
‘He just said “we will have to agree to disagree”.
‘But it was just that my head had gone a little bit and I wanted to play some games so I’ve signed for Bognor until the end of the season. It’s up to them if they want to re-sign me in the summer.
‘I haven’t played my last game for Gosport Borough – not in my eyes anyway.
‘I’m out of contract but I love Gosport Borough. I’ve really enjoyed my time and we’ve achieved so much.’
Borough are fresh from a vital 2-1 win over Bishop’s Stortford, which has given them a three-point cushion to the drop zone – and they still have three games in hand.
Pike said: ‘It was a big win for us on Saturday and we need to keep that momentum going.’