Mark Shaw doesn’t believe Worksop Town supporters saw the best of Conor Higginson in the player’s second spell with the club.
Higginson was made vice captain last summer after turning down an offer to join an unnamed Evo-Stik Northern Premier side, before being elevated to captain when Jake Scott departed.
But on Friday he joined NCEL Premier rivals Handsworth Parramore in a move that disappointed Worksop manager Shaw, who admitted to being “extremely frustrated” with Higginson last season.
Shaw said: “Like everyone, I’m disappointed to see him go but sometimes things have to change for the betterment of the club. I wish him all the best there but in my opinion it’s a poor decision.
“When I brought him to the football club three years ago he was a bright spark. People would really relate to his hard-working displays but it’s not worked when he came back.
“Last year was his poorest season I have had with him as a player. I have been extremely frustrated by performances he has put in.
“He is a smashing kid and a lovely personality and I wish him all the best. He leaves for Handsworth Parramore but he doesn’t leave as our best player, unfortunately.
“He was a fans’ favourite here but I think we would all prefer to have a winning team, it doesn’t matter who is in the team, as long as it’s winning.”
Shaw added: “I backed him while he was here as a player and as a captain. There have been some sparks here and there but from my point of view we have not seen the best of him in his second spell and as a club we have to move on.”
Former Mansfield Town prospect Higginson made 45 appearances for the Tigers last season, scoring 13 goals.
He enjoyed a fruitful time with the club in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier before a brief spell at Gainsborough Trinity at the start of the 2014/15 season.
It was a move, however, that didn’t work out and Shaw re-signed the forward that season. Higginson leaves having made a total of 113 appearances, scoring 42 goals.
Higginson declined to comment when approached by the Guardian for an interview.
Through his Twitter account, he posted: “I would just like to announce that after three years at Worksop Town FC I have decided to move on this summer for a fresh challenge next season under a new manager.
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride for me at the Tigers starting in the Northern Premier League and finishing up in the NCEL. I wish the club the very best next season in their bid for promotion.
“I will miss everybody at the club and hope to see you all again in the near future.”