CAMPION boss Lee Ashforth has remained coy about star striker Marcus Day’s departure, but admitted that the bond between the forward, club and coaching staff remains as strong as ever.

It was confirmed last Sunday that the prolific talisman would be exiting the Bradford side for NCEL Division One outfit, Shirebrook Town, after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee for the player.

Day, who sits top of the NCEL Premier Division scoring charts, scored 66 goals in 80 appearances during his time at the West Yorkshire club, and although Ashforth loses a relentless goalscorer ahead of a promotion charge, he has given his full blessing to the forward following his move.

Reflecting on the transfer, the Campion boss said: “Shirebrook put the offer in last Friday, so we did what we normally do when an approach for one of our players is made, which meant that we had a chat with Marcus after the game on Saturday and told him that we’d been approached for his services.

“The way non-league works, it was always likely that Shirebrook would give him a call at some point, so they did that and agreed a deal with him; that’s the bottom line of the situation.

“There were a few things that Marcus had to take into consideration, and I can assure you that if I’d been offered the deal that he had been, combined with the circumstances Marcus was under anyway, then I’d have taken the offer as well. People will see over the coming months exactly why he made the decision to leave.”

Ashforth remained coy when asked about Day’s reasoning for exiting the club, when he said: “He’s got his own reasons for leaving, but it’s not for me to say. As I’ve said, in the next months it will come out and people will realise that the move made sense after all.

“It would be unfair on Marcus, his partner and his family to explain why he’s left. What I can say is that he leaves with no bad feeling whatsoever. He’s a great guy, he’s one of the most down to earth people in non-league football and I know that I’d have taken the move if I was in his position.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Marcus Day (shooting) scored 66 goals during his time at CampionMarcus Day (shooting) scored 66 goals during his time at Campion (Image: Alex Daniel)

It’s the first time that Campion have ever received a fee for a player, and although the sum of money is undisclosed, Ashforth believes the deal can only bode well for the Bradford club moving forward.

He said: “It’s exciting to be able to say that we sold a player for a fee. It shows just how far Campion have come as club. It’s not something that happens often at this level of football, but we’ve achieved that, which is great.

“Of course, it’s difficult from a manager’s point of view because we didn’t want to lose Marcus with him being such a great goalscorer and player. However, we feel that we’ve got five other strikers within the squad who can step up to fill the gap left by Marcus.”

Following Day’s surprising departure, Ashforth released a statement on his Twitter to thank his former striker for his services at the club, which now has close to 100,000 views, while he also went on to defend the current NCEL Premier Division top scorer after he’d received some abuse on social media for making the move.

In sharing his words of gratification for Day, Campion’s boss admitted that it was something that he had to do.

He said: “The original post that the club put out regarding Marcus’ departure now has close to 300,000 views, which is a lot of people who’ve seen the news.

“People have got to understand that these footballers we are dealing with are not professional players; they’re part-time lads who are trying to pick up a bit of money and we don’t know where that money goes to help with their own lives.

“Everyone just assumes that Marcus has dropped a league because the move is money orientated, but people don’t know. Marcus has his reasons and that’s that. Not only will he read the comments on that social media post, but his family members will too. The morale of the story is that people need to think before they type something because it’s borderline criminal.

“As someone who knows him very well, and knows what a nice lad he is, I felt like it was my duty to not only thank him publicly for his services, but to defend him as well.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Lee Ashforth (middle) went on Twitter to defend his former strikerLee Ashforth (middle) went on Twitter to defend his former striker (Image: Martin Taylor.)

Ashforth’s table-topping Campion travel to Bottesford Town tomorrow, as they look to extend their unbeaten run to 11 games.

Despite Day’s exit, their manager feels that they’ve still got a lot to be excited about.

He said: “Football is a strange old place to be, particularly at this level. Our players will be looking to see if we replace Marcus or bring anybody in, and that remains to be seen.

“It now gives those players an opportunity to step up to the plate, especially because we’ve got a number of key forward players out injured. However, we still go into this game full of confidence and with excitement because although we sit at the top of the league, we’ve got the job of playing catch up on Emley because they have a couple of games in hand on us.

“So, there’s loads to play for and we can start looking at different ways and opportunities to progress now that Marcus has left. It’s still a very exciting time for the club; starting this weekend, we want to continue on this fantastic run that we’ve been on.”