Jack Payne has admitted he was a “little bit surprised” not to be offered a new deal by Blackpool.
The midfielder, who has since signed for non-league Ebbsfleet United, discovered he was being let go just two days after Pool’s play-off final triumph at Wembley.
The club had the option to add an extra year to the 25-year-old’s contract but Seasiders boss Gary Bowyer chose against activating it, leaving Payne as one of the 10 players released from Bloomfield Road.
Payne told The Gazette: “I had an option in the contract but the manager decided he wasn’t going to take it up, so I just had to move on really.
“Because we’ve been successful this year, I was half-thinking I was going to get the option, so I was a little bit surprised. But that’s football, that’s the way it works.
“But the club was good to me this year. They took me in and allowed me to play games. And obviously it was a successful season, so it was a good move for both parties that I came in.”
Payne’s departure prompted speculation that the Kent-born player had turned down a new deal because he wanted to move back down south.
But he dismissed that rumour, adding: “I moved my family up here and my boy is in school in St Annes.
“He’s going to have to move school now, which we didn’t want to have to do, so I’m gutted we can’t stay.
“But I never wanted to move back south, so I’m not too sure who bandied that story about. I’m settled here with my wife and two kids.”
Payne, who arrived at Bloomfield Road at the start of last season, went on to make 44 appearances during Pool’s promotion campaign.
“It was a good season,” he said. “I was probably in and out a little bit until February but from then I probably played every game until the end of the season.
“That’s when I played some of the best football I played all year. I was in a good place and I felt like I was back to myself again. Those last 20-odd games were very good for me.
“It was a good year, with a good group of lads, and to go to Wembley and win was just a brilliant way to end the season.
“I can’t really say anything bad about the gaffer. He gave me a chance when it was near the end of the window. Our relationship was OK – just the same as anyone else’s really.”