Departing Dover star Nicky Deverdics admitted he had faced a headache before deciding to sign with League 2 Hartlepool United.
The 28-year-old was one of the players of the season in National League last season, scoring 14 goals from midfield as Dover recorded their highest ever finish and notching a league-high 18 assists.
Deverdics was offered a new deal when his contract at Crabble came to an end after their play-off semi-final defeat to Forest Green Rovers last month.
However, despite the offer to remain in Kent and reported interest from National League rivals Eastleigh and League 2 Carlisle, he has opted to return to his native North East.
He said: “It’s been a headache the past few weeks but it’s a nice one to have. I have had interest from a few different places.
“After I came off the pitch at Forest Green I had the thought that it would be my last game for the club.
"Of course, I would have liked to have gone out on a high at Wembley. Maybe if we had managed to get promoted then things might have been different but it wasn’t to be...”
He added: “It’s been a blast. A big thank you to everyone at Dover – the staff, fans and, of course, the lads for the past two years. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to captain the side for the majority of last season. It’s a shame it couldn’t have ended at Wembley but maybe next year (for Dover).”
Deverdics began his career as a trainee with hometown club Newcastle before spells with Gateshead, Gretna, Barnet and short stints in Iceland and the Faroe Islands before arriving on trial at Dover two years ago.
After completing the signing on Monday, Pools boss Craig Hignett said: ““He’s the best player in the National League in a lot of people’s eyes. He’s got a great left foot, is creative and can make goals as well as score them.
“There were a few clubs in for him but we met him early and managed to convince him that this is the place for him.”
A statement from Dover said: “We thank Nicky for his contribution during his two years at Crabble and wish him the best of luck back in the Football League.”