Eddie Hutchinson has lifted the lid on his decision to quit Westleigh Park.
The midfielder has revealed he felt undervalued by the Hawks – after he entered into negotiations over a new contract.
A deal was tabled by the Blue Square Bet South club – but it was on reduced terms.
And that was deemed unacceptable by Hutchinson, who played a key role in the Hawks’ last-gasp escape from the drop in 2012 and subsequent climb up the table under Lee Bradbury this term.
‘I would have loved to have stayed but I think I am worth more than that,’ said Hutchinson.
‘When I arrived at the club towards the end of the 2011-12 season, they were heading for relegation.
‘I was one of a couple of players brought in to try and prevent that from happening.
‘It went down to the wire and we stayed up with a goal deep into stoppage-time on the final day.
‘I like to think I played my part in keeping the club up.
‘The start to this season was difficult. With a new manager coming in, things were perhaps a bit too relaxed.
‘But when Lee Bradbury came in everything moved up a gear and we became far more difficult to beat.’
Hutchinson started his career with Sutton United before becoming a trainee at Brentford in 2000.
He remained with the League One outfit for six seasons and played over 100 games.
From there, he moved to Oxford United in July 2006 and amassed a further 78 appearances over three seasons, playing in the top tier of non-league football. The midfielder then had a spell with Crawley before joining Eastbourne Borough in 2011.
And after making 38 appearances, he moved to the Hawks in March 2012, playing an integral midfield role in the fight for survival.
Hutchinson quickly became a fans’ favourite at Westleigh Park – with his wholehearted approach.
He played an important part helping the Hawks eke out some impressive wins this season – particularly away from home – with his battling performances in front of the back four.
His biting tackles and physical presence disrupted a lot of the opposition’s attempts to launch attacks.
‘I know I am not the sort of player that sets the world alight but I am good in the air and always give it my all,’ said Hutchinson.
‘My role is mainly defensive but I also like to get in the opposition box when I can. I have had a good career and still think I can do it.’
Hutchinson is now looking at offers closer to his Heathrow home – which might mean dropping a level below the Blue Square Bet South.
‘It’s not all about the money but I have to try and get the deal that is best for me,’ he said.
‘You get messed about in football and you have to roll with it.
‘I missed out on one deal maybe I should have taken.
‘But there are a lot of clubs around my local area.’