MARC-ANTOINE Fortune was surprised to be let go by Southend United.

The Shrimpers announced at the end of the season that the experienced Frenchman would be among those offered new contracts to remain at Roots Hall.

And Fortune does not know why that decision was overturned.

“I think that’s a question for the chairman, the board and the manager to answer not me,” said the 36-year-old.

“The manager spoke to me after the last game of the season when we played Bristol Rovers at home and asked if I was happy at the club. I said I was and he said he was happy with me too and how I had been playing so I expected to be offered a new contract.

“When I found out that wasn’t happening it was a big surprise to me.

“But that’s football and although I wish I was staying I’m still thankful to the club and the manager for giving me the chance to show I could still play.”

And Fortune - who scored 10 goals in 76 appearances while with Blues - was also keen to thank the Shrimpers’ supporters.

Many Southend fans were disappointed to see the striker depart and have been keen to thank him for his efforts.

“Since the news has come out I’ve had so many nice messages from Southend fans on my social media and I’m thankful for the support they’ve always shown me,” said Fortune.

“A lot of them have told me they are unhappy with the decision which has been made and said they had been happy with how things had gone with me on the pitch.

“I had a really good 20 months with Southend and I was happy with how things went.”

But Fortune - who has played in the Premier League, the Scottish Premiership and the Champions League during his career - is still keen to keen on playing.

“Of course I still want to play,” said Fortune.

“I wish I could still play for Southend next season and it wasn’t my decision to leave but I’m looking for a new challenge now.

“My agent is dealing with it all and I’m in no rush to get things sorted as I’m enjoying a break right now.

“But, yes, I want to be playing somewhere next season.

“Maybe I’ll play against Southend but I’m not sure if I would like that to happen if I’m honest.”