Paulton Rovers have been hit by the news that Ben Cleverley has left the club to join Southern Premier Division outfit Tiverton Town.
Cleverley was Rovers' vice-captain last season and has been with the club since he was signed by Andy Jones four years ago.
He has previously turned down offers to play elsewhere, but Jones admitted that Cleverley had little choice but to accept the offer he was made and wished the midfielder well.
"After discussions over the summer between Ben and myself it became clear that he had no alternative but to accept a greatly improved financial offer, which Tiverton manager Martyn Rogers was prepared to pay," said Jones.
"It was an offer Paulton as a club could never compete with.
"He has been one of the best players in our league and we have been privileged to have had four years of total commitment and loyalty from a player who has previously turned down numerous offers from clubs at a much higher standard.
"However, at 27 years old Ben felt this could be his last chance to secure a lucrative financial package, even though it was only moving up one division.
"I can assure everyone even though there was a million miles in monetary terms between what we could pay Ben and what he has accepted, he made it clear to me this was one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make in life, let alone football.
"I'm sure everyone at this club would like to wish him a happy and successful time at Tiverton and look forward to seeing him return to Winterfield Road on Saturday, August 8, when we entertain Tiverton in now what is sure to be a mouth-watering friendly."
Further pre-season friendlies have been confirmed against Cadbury Heath (July 23, away, 7.30pm), Gloucester City (July 28, home, 7.30pm), Weymouth (July 31, home, 7.30pm) and Radstock Town (August 1, away, 3pm).
Fixtures against Bristol Rovers and Welton Rovers have been agreed in principle but dates and timings have yet to be finalised
Rovers will also be hosting Purnells during the week before the league kicks off (Saturday, August 15), with proceeds from the game going to Paulton Hospital.
With Jones and assistant Paul Milsom still in discussions with several new and existing players, the only other news to come from the club has seen Jon Beswetherick leave the club due to work commitments, while Jason Hughes will also not be retained, although he has been invited to attend pre-season training, which begins on Monday.
Ben Lacey, who last season captained the youth team and was top scorer in the Somerset Floodlight Youth League, will step up to the first team squad for the forthcoming season.
Meanwhile, Andy Harris has taken over from Tracey Curtis as football secretary, who has stepped aside after six years in the post due to a promotion at work. The club would like to thank her for her hard work.
Rovers chairman Dave Bissex was recently elected to the Southern League board of directors.
Volunteers have been busy doing painting and other work at the ground and assistance would be welcomed.
Anyone interested should contact David Bissex on 01761 420414 or 07894 233974.