Manager Steve Evans insists there are no hard feeling towards the players who rejected new deals at Gillingham.
The Gills will be without some of their star performers next season after defender Connor Ogilvie, winger Jordan Graham and goalkeeper Jack Bonham decided they wanted to move on.
All three will hope they can secure better deals at bigger teams this summer after improving their own game while playing for the Gills.
Former Tottenham man Ogilvie has developed into a reliable defender while at Gillingham, former Wolves winger Graham has been able to recapture his best form and goalkeeper Bonham has continued to flourish at League 1 level.
Evans watched some of his best players leave last summer and is having to do the same again but he accepts they want to challenge themselves further.
He said: “Connor Ogilvie has just had his best season of his career and Jordan Graham has had a season like which he had when he was playing in the first team at Wolves in the Championship, causing havoc.
“I probably knew for a couple of months that both of those kids would go, I was getting calls from managers of higher ranked clubs in higher divisions, asking me about their characters and what they are like, and I speak to both lads on a daily basis.
“You have to respect it and if they were my sons I would be immensely proud of both. They would both get a hug from me at any stage we meet them again, they have been brilliant.”
Evans signed Bonham from Bristol Rovers two years ago and he’s been a virtual ever-present over the last two seasons.
“With Jack Bonham it was more of a surprise,” Evans admitted.
“Jack intimated to me that he was in two minds but his agent had convinced him that there was an opportunity to go higher. Jack has taken the opportunity to see what that is and explore that route and we have to respect that and get on with our own recruitment.
“The conversations and the text messages I have had from all three was very humbling and I responded to them all. Bonham has been as good as anyone in the league for two seasons. People told us we couldn’t replace Tomas Holy but Jack Bonham was a better goalkeeper for me. Tomas is one hell of a keeper but Jack produced the kind of performances that made me think that.
“Jordan Graham has been the best right-winger in the league and Connor Ogilive has been the best left-back in the league, with all three we really do wish them every success.”