Russ Penn said he had enjoyed the best years of his career so far at Cheltenham Town after joining League Two rivals York City.
The 28-year-old passed a medical yesterday morning and immediately signed a two-and-a-half year deal at Bootham Crescent.
York have paid an undisclosed five-figure fee for the midfielder, who started this season as Robins skipper.
The cash received will be used to reduce debt, but the money saved on Penn's wages will be given to boss Mark Yates to bring in new faces during this month's transfer window. Penn, who joined Cheltenham from Burton in 2011, said he had left on good terms, but that the offer from York was too good to turn down.
"I've known about the interest for about three weeks now and after the clubs agreed a deal it was up to me to decide," Penn said.
"I've had such a happy time at Cheltenham – the best of my career – so I am gutted to leave.
"But this happens in football and things can change very quickly, so there is no looking back now.
"I've left on good terms with the gaffer, who I've been with for a total of seven years at Cheltenham and Kidderminster and there is absolutely no issue there.
"I've only ever had good times under his management, but I've been out of the team for six weeks and this is a good move for me."
Penn will link up with former Robins team mate Keith Lowe, who joined York in November.
Penn's wife is expecting their second baby in the summer and he plans to relocate north for the start of next season.
The highlights of Penn's time at Cheltenham include FA Cup ties against Tottenham and Everton, a League Cup match at West Ham and back-to-back play-off appearances in both of his full seasons at the club.
"There have been so many great times, but the season we got to Wembley stands out playing in midfield with Marlon (Pack) and Luke Summerfield," he said.
"The fans have been great and it's a shame I didn't get a chance to say goodbye on Saturday.
"But I've had a lot of nice tweets and I look forward to seeing everyone again when we play at Cheltenham on February 8."
Former Cheltenham Town striker Julian Alsop has come out of retirement at the age of 40 to sign for Monmouth.