LEE Smith admitted that loyalty hardly exists in football anymore after departing Bury Town this week.
The 24-year-old midfielder switched Ram Meadow for Crown Meadow when agreeing to join the Blues’ Ryman Premier rivals Lowestoft Town.
Smith came in for some damning criticism from Bury chairman Russell Ward this week after Lowestoft published his signature on their website.
Ward told Bury’s own club website: “I have to say I am extremely disappointed with the way Lee Smith has conducted himself since the season has ended.
“Despite repeated promises to contact the club, he has chosen the easy way out and let Lowestoft Town announce his departure via their own website.
“Sadly, in the current world of football, money talks.”
Speaking to the Free Press, Bury boss Richard Wilkins added: “We made him an offer three weeks ago – he said he was pleased with it, but never got back to us.
“I was annoyed that I then got a text message from him on Sunday.
“I have no issue with anybody going, but I was disappointed with the way it happened.”
Responding to the criticism, Smith commented: “I let everybody know I was leaving.
“I sent a text to the management and players, but didn’t put Russell in, which was my fault – I texted him straight after the article to let him know I had text everyone.”
Cambridgeshire-based Smith has reportedly increased his wages to move across Suffolk, but he insisted it was not a motivating factor.
“Loyalty does come into football, but I don’t think a lot of people are loyal anymore,” he said. “I love Bury, but this is a fresh challenge for me.”
Smith was at Bury between the ages of 16 and 22, before returning for another season last summer after a spell in the Blue Square Bet Premier with Histon.
And the two Suffolk derbies with the Blues are the first games he will be looking out for when the fixtures are released next month.
“I love Bury and always will do,” he said. “Hopefully everyone involved – the management, directors and players – appreciate what I’ve done for the club, because I appreciate what they’ve done for me.
“There will be no grudges from my end, and when I come back hopefully I’ll have a drink with everyone there and say hi to the people I’ve known for years.”
Players signed so far: Tom Bullard, Billy Clark, Mark Coulson, Marcus Garnham, Connor Hall, Evan Key, John Kennedy, Sam Nunn, Lee Reed, John Sands, James Scowcroft, Russell Short.
Players left so far: Danny Cunningham, Roscoe Hipperson, Kieran Leabon, Craig Nurse, Lee Smith.