Published: 22:00, 05 August 2020
| Updated: 09:17, 06 August 2020
Midfielder Mark Byrne has announced that his time with Gillingham is over.
The Irishman, who was the Gills’ 2017/18 player of the year, was invited back for pre-season this summer but says his future is closer to home.
Byrne, 31, underwent knee surgery in December after picking up an ACL injury in Gillingham’s game against Sunderland. It ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Byrne’s contract with the Gills expired this summer and boss Steve Evans said he would be welcome to return to try and win a new deal.
But Byrne has decided to continue his playing career in his native Ireland, announcing his decision on twitter.
Addressing the fans, he wrote: “I was disappointed disappointed with how things went after my injury but before that I really enjoyed my time at Gills.
“I want to thank the players and staff I’ve worked with fir the last four years at the club, I have made some great friends.
“A big thanks goes out to the fans. You lot have been brilliant to me the last four years. I gave it my all every week and think you guys knew that.
“I wish the gaffer and the lads all the best for the season ahead.
“But now, after 14 years of football in the UK, with my knee almost ready, it’s time for a new challenge at home in Ireland.”
Elsewhere, striker Alex Jakubiak, who had a loan spell from Watford during the 2019/20 season and finished as Gills' top scorer in the league, has signed a two-year deal at Scottish side Dundee.