FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson insists that his squad will be stronger next season without record scorer Rory Patterson.
Patterson, who scored 41 goals last term, has joined UniBond Premier Division rivals Bradford Park Avenue for a reputed £350 per week.
Manager Marginson is unfazed by Patterson’s decision to take the Yorkshire coin and he says that his exit can work to FC’s advantage.
United have already secured the signatures of captain Dave Chadwick and flying winger Jerome Wright and they have some new faces lined up.
Margy said: "We want players who want to play for this football club because they love the game and understand what we’re about.
"It’s a cliché but it’s true. No player is bigger than the club and no player is more important than the supporters that own and run FC United.
"Rory being the focal point for this team often had a negative effect and players had a habit of looking to him too much.
"His departure will galvanise the squad and bring us closer together. We’ve got a nucleus of young lads who’ve stayed loyal to us last season despite good offers elsewhere.
"There’s 20 teams in this league who pay more than us – but not one of them have anywhere near our support.
"FC United will still be the biggest draw in the league – not because of ‘star’ players but because of the supporters. That’s a wonderful thing to be able to say and we’re rightly proud of that.
"We’re chuffed to have secured Chaddy and Jerome for next season. Bradford and others were sniffing after Jerome but he’s made the decision to stay with us despite offers of much more money. That’s the sort of player I want at this football club."
Chadwick and Wright take the total of players signed up for next term to 14. The others are Danny Allen, Sam Ashton, Jamie Baguley, Simon Carden, Adam Carden, Liam Foster, Kyle Harrop, Bradley Howard, Rob Nugent, Nick Robinson, Shaun Roscoe and Adam Turner.
Patterson has been joined by strike partner Stuart Rudd in his defection across the Pennines to Bradford Park Avenue. Rudd was released by Marginson after a hit-and-miss season hampered by a succession of injuries.
Winger Josh Howard’s season was also punctuated by injury problems. He has joined New Mills.
Chris Baguley has been approached by Southport and his midfield partner Nicky Platt is being chased by Stalybridge. Both players are mulling over their futures having returned from holidays this week.
Marginson was unable to be specific about new signings when the Advertiser went to press last night, Wednesday, June 18.
He said: "We have our list of players we’re interested in. The ones we’ve spoken to understand the ideals of this football club and are looking forward to getting out there in front of our big and noisy following."