Jamie Milligan admits he’s ‘gutted’ to be leaving Fleetwood Town.
The popular midfielder was one of 12 players released this week as manager Graham Alexander looks to build his own side at Highbury.
Many were shocked by the release list, which included a host of big names including Jamie McGuire and Andy Mangan.
And Milligan told The Gazette it’s sad day for him to finally leave the club after eight years.
“I’m gutted,” he revealed. “I wanted to stay but the manager wants to play a different way to how we did last season, and that’s fair enough.
“Maybe to get out of League Two you have to play a different style as it’s not the best in terms of quality.
“I’m not going or argue or be bitter. I’m just going to accept it and move on.”
Having started his career with spells at Everton and Blackburn, Milligan joined the Cod Army in 2005, after an earlier loan spell from Hyde United.
He was involved in four promotion campaigns and played a major part in their rise to the Football League.
A product of Fylde youth football, he captained the club with distinction and will go down as one of Fleetwood’s best ever players.
Milligan, who spent a few months with AFC Fylde in 2011-12, added: “I’ve had the best time of my career at Fleetwood.
“We had some great promotions and some brilliant times.
“I’ve seen some great lads and top players come and go, so I’m gutted it’s over.
“Getting into the Football League has to be the highlight.
“Last season I played 30-odd games to get them promotion.
“That’s what the chairman always wanted for Fleetwood and I’m really pleased I could be part of it.”
The departures signal the end of an era at Highbury, with many of the side which saw them promoted to the Football League for the first time heading for the exit.
And Milligan says the spirit at the club was a huge part of its success.
“A good changing room at a club can nick you 10 points over a season,” he said.
“The team that won the Conference that year was as good a dressing room as I’ve been in.
“Fleetwood need to try to get that feeling back.”
Milligan ended last season back at Hyde and back in the Conference on loan.
His 12-game stint there was successful, helping the Greater Manchester club to beat the drop.
A Gazette columnist this past season, Milligan has repeatedly stated he will be in no hurry to hang up his boots but he admits his whereabouts for next season are very much up in the air.
“I’m not sure what’s next for me,” he said.
“This only happened on Tuesday, so it’s a case of waiting to see what offers come along.
“In the meantime I’ll carry on coaching with Blackpool’s centre of excellence, which I love. I’ll see what happens this summer.”