EVAN Horwood has revealed that he did NOT want to leave Hartlepool United – but hopes the decision to release him could prove a blessing.
The 27-year-old was on a family holiday in Scotland when informed by chief executive Russ Green on Tuesday that he would not be offered a new deal.
Horwood admits he is both “angry and upset” that his hometown club did not even enter into discussions over an extended stay.
The left-back had hoped to help Pools regain their League One status at the first time of asking and was shocked at the news he was to be shown the door.
So, too, were the club’s supporters, the majority believing the left-back was deserving of a new contract.
And Horwood, who dressed as a penguin and joined Pools fans in London following the final game of the season at Crawley Town, told SportMail: “I was gutted to be honest.
“I thought with the amount of games I’ve played (139 in three seasons) and being top with the assists then I’d at least be offered a contract.
“I thought it might be less money given the relegation but I expected that.
“So to find out I was just being released was a shock and it hurt, I admit that.”
He went on: “I got some calls from friends saying there was a rumour I wanted to leave.
“That was far from the truth.
“I wanted to stay - I wanted to get the club I’ve supported all my life back in to League One.
“I really thought we could do that with a few good signings.”
Horwood, though, was soon cheered as a flurry of phone calls from other clubs confirmed he will not be short of suitors over the summer.
And, looking at the example of Gary Liddle who left Pools 12 months ago before winning Player of the Season with Notts County, Horwood is taking the positives from his release.
“I’ve just got to think that the club have made my mind up for me and it could be a blessing in disguise,” he said.
“I’m coming to the best years of my career and I feel I’ve improved over my three seasons at Pools.
“I was devastated when I left Carlisle three years ago but that worked out well and I loved every minute with Pools.
“But look at Lidds, he left last season and has never looked back.
“I’ve had about five or six clubs showing interest already so I’ll take my time and see what is best.
“But I want to play at as high a level as possible because I still think my best years are still ahead of me.”