Matlock Town manager Mark Hume has revealed he tried to make Jon Kennedy stay on with the Gladiators.
The 2014/15 fans Player Of the Year Kennedy left the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division club and signed for Worksop Town, two divisions below the Gladiators.
The shock news for Matlock supporters emerged on Thursday when the Tigers announced the return of the popular 34-year-old custodian for a third spell at Worksop.
Matlock chairman Tom Wright explained Kennedy was offered identical terms as last season to remain with the Gladiators except that for 2015/16 it would be on a non contract basis, as Hume continues his policy of trimming the amount of contracted players at the Autoworld Arena.
Kennedy was a favourite both on and off the field at Matlock and his father John was a fixture on the terraces both at home and away games.
Hume: “We didn’t want Kendo to go for he’s an excellent goalkeeper who was outstanding for us last season. His Player Of the Year award emphasises that.
“I think possibly his work commitments played a key part in his decision and he’s going back to the club where he started his career and has the opportunity to the senior figure in a very young Worksop side.
“We wish him all the very best for the future and thank him for all the good things he did for Matlock Town.”
Kennedy’s first stay at Worksop ended with the Tigers receiving a club record fee of £47,000 from a lucrative move to Sunderland. He says his move was “a footballing decision” after four years and in excess of 200 appearances for Matlock.
“As a footballer you know when its time to move on,” said Kennedy. “I’ve enjoyed my time at Matlock, there’s no bad blood, it was a footballing decision. Mark Shaw at Worksop outlined his plans, what he wanted from me and the kind of football they play and I jumped at the chance.”
Hume now sets about the difficult task of finding his replacement, although it is understood he has targets in mind.