Matlock Town announced their retained list of contracted players for next season this week, but one prominent name was not on it.
Striker Massiah McDonald has been released just four months after moving to Matlock from Worksop Town following a successful loan spell with the Gladiators.
McDonald’s departure came out on the Nottingham-based player’s Twitter account and after a difficult year financially, tough decisions have had to be taken by Matlock manager Mark Atkins and club officials.
Gladiators chief executive Keith Brown confirmed that financial considerations were behind the decision to release their second top scorer from last term.
He said: “Massiah could have been retained but the terms which the club would have been required to meet were such that it would have placed too much financial pressure on the club.”
McDonald was an instant hit with the Gladiators’ supporters.
He played an integral part in the memorable FA Trophy run, which included late shock wins against Conference North Stalybridge Celtic and, more remarkably, Conference Premier champions Mansfield Town in a replay at the Reynolds Stadium.
Both games ended 2-1 in Matlock’s favour with McDonald bagging crucial late deciders on both occasions.
He scored 18 goals in total, which could have been more had he not spent eight games banned in a campaign ashe picked up an extraordinary 21 bookings.
Brown added: “Massiah played very very well in many matches and we’ll remember for a very long time his performances against Mansfield Town, but we have to keep in mind the club’s financial stability so we’ve decided to release him.
“He’s now a free agent, we hope he’ll find himself a good club and we wish him all the best for the future.”
McDonald said on his tweet: “Nothing but respect for Mark (Atkins) and the Matlock players. They are a great bunch of lads and I’m going to miss that club. Thank you to everyone associated with Matlock - management, board and fans.”
The Gladiators have retained fans player of the year Adam Yates, players player Micky Harcourt, young player of the year Joe Leesley, Oscar Radford, top scorer Lewis McMahon, midfielder James Ashmore, skipper James Lukic and goalkeeper Jon Kennedy.
Younger players who have emerged through the reserve and U19 squads such as Matlock based James Travis and Matt Andrews.
Ashbourne striker Dave Edge, who scored in both of Matlock’s final games of the campaign, will report for training with the first team after the summer break - one which will no doubt see Atkins working hard to rebuild his squad.