NEIL YOUNG has axed striker Chris Simm as he begins to reshape Chester for the new season.
The Blues boss confirmed he has told last season’s joint leading goalscorer that he couldn’t guarantee him regular football for next season’s Conference North campaign.
“Chris Simm has been a good servant for Chester and he is a great lad both on the pitch and in the dressing room,” Young said.
“I know how much he loves his football and how well he played for the team last season – and that was underlined by the number of goals he scored in our title-winning campaign.
“But I couldn’t guarantee Chris a regular place in next season’s starting line-up and I had to be respectful by telling him that.
“I prefer to be straight and honest with every player because I don’t want to mess people around as they have bills to pay as well as wanting to play football.
“There certainly won’t be any shortage of clubs wanting to speak to Chris now that he is a free agent because he has scored goals wherever he has been.
“But I have to consider working within the budget I have been given and now I’ve got to get on with improving my squad for the new season.”
Simm, who finished last season as Chester’s joint leading marksman with Matty McGinn on 16 goals, admitted he had been shocked by the news of his departure.
The 27-year-old was hoping to play a role in the Blues’ preparations for the Conference North and believed he was going to be retained by the club after being part of Southport’s Conference North promotion squad two seasons ago.
He said: “Neil Young told me there was nothing there for me and to say I was shocked by what he said is an understatement.
“I thought I’d done well enough to stay at the club and I think he knew I’d say no if I was offered non-contract terms because I’ve got a young family to provide for.
“I’m disappointed because I think Neil has left me in the lurch after I have helped the club win the league title and finish the season as joint top goalscorer.
“I know I missed a big chunk of last season because of an injury to my wrist, but I have been loyal and I now feel I am in my prime.
“Something special was happening at Chester and I wanted to be a part of that.
“I knew after speaking to people at the weekend presentation evening that Neil had already spoken to some players, so I thought I was okay.
“It’s sad to leave Chester, but the decision wasn’t mine, it was Neil’s, and I’ve now got to start again from scratch.”
Simm, who scored a hat-trick in Chester’s final home match of the season against Marine, has also represented Leigh RMI, Hyde, Southport, and Chorley in a loan spell.
He added: “I am hoping I can fix myself up with a club before I go away for a holiday in two weeks time. I’m hopeful that my reputation for scoring goals will help me find a new club.”