Canvey keeper James Russell says he decided to leave Canvey because he wants to test himself at a higher level.
The 24-year-old, who’s joined Conference South side Boreham Wood, said it was a wrench to leave the Gulls after three great years, but that he felt he had to take the opportunity to play in a higher division.
“It really was a tough decision,” he said.
“I thought about it for a while and went back and forth with it, but in the end I thought it was the right move.
“Boreham Wood made me a good offer, it’s not about the money.
“And it takes me about 10 minutes to get to Boreham Wood from my home, whereas it took me an hour and 10 minutes to get to Canvey on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“But I never used the travel as an excuse, and this was not about that.
“I think with the set-up Canvey have in place they could win that division next season, or at least get promotion.
“And that is what made it so hard to leave because I would have loved to have played in the next division with them.
“But there’s no guarantee they will go up or that I would get an offer like this again, so I decided now was the right time to move.”
Russell was voted Gulls player of the season last month, and says he was delighted to end his time there by helping to win the county cup.
Boreham Wood finished in eighth place in the Conference South last season, while Canvey finished eighth in the Ryman Premier.
A statement on the Canvey club website said: “We’d like to thank James for the fantastic service he has given the club. We wish him all the very best for the future."