By Brian Bennett

In a week where there have been player departures from Ashington FC, manager Ian Skinner stated that he would never contemplate leaving the club given the facilities at Woodhorn Lane.

Brandon Slater, David Luke and Ryan McGorrigan have moved on to Blyth Town, Heaton Stannington and Newcastle Benfield respectively but Skinner said: “I can only say that as a manager, there’s no other team in this league that would get me to manage them because I wouldn’t leave these facilities or this football club. Yes Bishop Auckland might say that they believe their facilities are equally as good and that’s a valid point whilst people at Penrith – who I get on with extremely well with – might have the same opinion but why would I leave these magnificent facilities; this magnificent group of players and the magnificent fans we have got who come and support us.”

Skinner continued: “Brandon Slater and David Luke have left us because they felt as if they weren’t getting as many minutes as they would have liked and that’s fine – I get that – footballers want to play and I wish both of them the best at Blyth Town and Heaton Stannington respectively. I hope things work out for them and I hope they get the minutes on the pitch they were craving. If they do, I’m sure they will be huge assets to the two clubs they have gone to join and there are no hard feelings on our part.”

He went on: “Ryan McGorrigan came to see us and we made him aware of an interest from another club (Newcastle Benfield). He initially told us it wasn’t something he was interested in and then in the space of seven days, he decided that it was of interest to him. Ashington FC only want players that want to play for this football club. I don’t care who the individual is, if you want to be in the dressing room at Ashington, you’ll be there because this football club wants you to be in there and that you want to play for this football club.”

He went on: “In my eyes – and I’m not being disrespectful to anybody – when you look at the facilities we have got at Ashington plus the surroundings, and you see where this football club has come in the last three years from where we were, what I am not going to start doing is writing cheques which this club can’t afford. I’m not going to risk sending this club backwards. We are getting close – very, very close in fact and there are lots of discussions going on behind the scenes – about how we take the next step and this football club will take the next step – but with players that want to take the next step with this football club and we’ll do it within our means. I wish anybody who has left all the best, who think they have gone on to bigger and better things – any player that does, that’s there prerogative and it’s up to them the reasoning behind that.”