There was a shock departure from Yockings Park last week when club captain Simon Everall decided to move on after two and a half seasons with Alport.

The news that the striker had decided to join Division One South outfit Sandbach United following their seven-day approach came as a shock to many.

Everall was Luke Goddard’s first signing in May 2016 and went on to become NWCFL Division One player of the season in 2016/17.

The following year he captained Alport to their historic success of promotion but injury and ill-health have been disruptive year this year for the striker, who has scored six goals in 16 appearances.

His last goal for the club was a dramatic last-minute winner to land the Ethelston Cup at the end of October, with his last appearance coming at the beginning of January in the 2-1 win at Silsden.

During his time with Alport he scored a total of 57 goals and becomes the third striker to leave Yockings this year following the departures of Jordan Cole and Tim Sanders. He is the eighth player to transfer from Yockings Park to Sandbach United in the past 18 months.

“It was such a hard decision to leave such a fantastic football club,” said Everall. “I’ve had sleepless nights deliberating over what to do, especially after the successes we’ve shared since I came to the club.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support over the past two and a half seasons.

“The staff, committee and especially the fans have been incredible to me and I’ve been lucky enough to captain one of the most progressive clubs in non league football.

“It’s been a meteoric rise for Whitchurch Alport and I will treasure all the memories we’ve made together.

“The club’s fortunes will continue on an upward curve I have no doubt about it. I just feel it’s time to move on as some of the commitments I have means that I find it difficult to travel, and Sandbach is less than 10 minutes from my house.

“Luke and Ess have backed me through lots of tough times both on the pitch and off it, and I can’t thank them enough; I hold the upmost respect for them. I wish Alport all the best for the rest of the season and beyond.”

Goddard was disappointed to see Everall decide to move on.

“I need not explain what Simon has done both on and off the field during his time here,” he said. “He has played a seismic part in what we’ve achieved since we came to Yockings and he is someone I have known since I was a youngster.

I respect his decision to suit his personal circumstances where he admits with work and family life, it makes it difficult to give the kind of time he’d like to.

“I’ve been here nearly three years now and have learnt to accept change even when you don’t want it.

“I pull my hair out most days being a volunteer, committing the time I do for the club but this has been my best time in football and we’ll continue to have many more good times.”