Popular stalwarts Shane Henry and Andrew Johnson will leave Spennymoor Town this summer.
The pair have played for the club for a combined decade and will be sorely missed both in the dressing room and in the stands.
Henry’s six years with the club will come to an end after he cemented himself in the hearts of Moors supporters with committed, driven and effective performances at a consistently high level, earning the nickname “The Bull” in the Moors midfield.
Andrew “AJ” Johnson caught the eye of the Moors faithful immediately with dazzling wing-play and a superb goal record from a wide position. He terrorised full backs in three different leagues over four years for the club and even gave MK Dons a significant fright in the FA Cup First Round Proper.
Both players leave Spennymoor with the heartfelt gratitude of everyone involved with the club.
Jason Ainsley has spoken passionately on Shane and AJ since the agreements were made:
“I write this with a very heavy heart as we are not only losing a very important player, we are also losing a great character in and around the dressing room and someone who is a very good friend of mine.
Shane’s whole-hearted performances throughout his time with us will always be remembered and he has been a massive driving force in our midfield. Shane has played a pivotal role in the continued success of our football club during his six years with us and is quite rightly a fans’ favourite.
Shane feels at this time in his career it’s the right time to move on and return to his hometown team Stockton Town, where he grew up playing, and I respect his wishes.
He will always be welcome at Spennymoor Town and I know he will be supporting the lads when he doesn’t have a game.”
“AJ has been a superb player during his four-year spell at the club, scoring some unbelievable and especially important goals for Spennymoor Town.
That iconic goal at MK Dons springs to mind, as well as putting in consistent performances week in, week out. He even forged his own trademark in front of goal, cutting in from the left and curling into the far corner so many times to devastating effect.
He was hampered with injury last year, but that doesn’t detract from what he has achieved with us. After discussions, all parties felt that it was time for him to move on and take on a new challenge elsewhere. AJ goes with our best wishes and will always be welcome back as he is not only a fantastic player but also an extremely good lad.”
Both players were keen to thank the club and its supporters.
Henry said: “To everybody concerned with the club, the chairman, the board of directors, the management team, the ground staff, all the volunteers involved on match days, the fans, my teammates who have become my friends for life. All I can say is a sincere thank you.
Jay brought me to the club six years ago and he has been brilliant for me as a person and my development as a player. As mad as he may be, to be able to end my time with a proper conversation was brilliant.
My time at Spennymoor has genuinely been my best time in football that may never be matched anywhere else. We have had nothing but success both on and off the pitch and the club has grown. We have moved up through the leagues and it has been a great honour to represent the club throughout this period and be a part of the journey.
Sometimes you reach a point in time when a change is needed. Circumstances at home have changed and I have had to make a difficult decision to move on.
Thank you again for everything. I wish the club every success in the future.”
Johnson said: “To everybody connected with the club, from the Chief Executive, the board of directors, the management and coaching staff, ground staff, sponsors, the fans and all the teammates I’ve played with, I just want to say a big thank you.
I’ve had an amazing four years. I feel very fortunate to have been part of the club’s journey and the success we’ve had over the last four years.
On a personal level, it was a very difficult decision for me to leave, but I leave with friends for life and some unforgettable memories. I wish the club nothing but further success in the future and I’ll hopefully get down to some games next season whenever I can… as long as Tony will let me in the Platinum Club Suite.
Take care everyone and I wish you all the best.”