CHESTER FC have been rocked by the departure of star striker Akwasi Asante.

The fans' favourite has surprisingly quit The Blues and signed for National League North rivals Gloucester City instead.

And it’s a massive blow to the management team of Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, who were trying to build a promotion-chasing side around the prolific Amsterdam-born hitman.

The forward departs the Deva Stadium after joining initially on loan from Tamworth in December 2018, before making a permanent switch the following month.

Blues Joint Manager Anthony Johnson told the Blues website: “In terms of any number nine myself and Bernard have coached, Akwasi has to be the best and we are sad to see him go.

“In terms of what he has brought to the football club, his record is outstanding. He couldn’t have had a better start with his hat-trick on debut when he was initially on loan.

“We had him on our radar at Salford City before his move to Grimsby Town and ever since we kept our eye on him.

“As a football club, we are not yet in a position to speak to any player with regards to next season and beyond and Akwasi has taken the decision to explore other options.”

Akwasi, who originally joined the Blues on loan from Tamworth in December 2018, scored 28 goals in 41 Chester appearances - and that included a tally of 18 from 20 National League North starts this season.

The 27-year-old former, who has also played for Kidderminster and Grimsby, hit a hat-trick on his debut against Darlington and also in September at AFC Telford where he is pictured celebrating after the game with the match ball

A great favourite with The Deva faithful, Asante was recently named in the Blues Team of The Decade alongside Michael Wilde.

He will also be missed by his team-mates, including Joel Taylor who in a recent question and answers session on the CFB podcast said: “He’s a brilliant striker to have in the team. He’s always in the right place at the right time.

“Without him there would have been a few games where we probably wouldn’t have won.”

Chester’s loss is most definitely Gloucester’s gain but part of the pull for signing for them was teaming up with his former coaching mentor, James Rowe.

“I’m delighted to have signed and get the deal over the line, it didn’t take very long to make my mind up with James Rowe being the manager here,” Asante told the Gloucester City club website.

“I’ve known him for 10 years, he coached me as a 17-year-old at Birmingham City. James has always stayed in touch with me over the years and kept an eye on my career.

“He’s tried to sign me over the years when he was at Aldershot as assistant but we never managed to sort it out and I now feel like the time is right.”

“I had a few offers from other clubs and some even offering better wages but I like the ambition and the project at Gloucester City and I want to be a part of that with James Rowe.”

“It’s a fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to the challenge! I’ll give it my all every day on and off the pitch.”

Former Chester loanee Josh O’Keefe has quit as a player at Chorley, aged 31, to concentrate on a career in physiotherapy.

O’Keefe, who played three games for Chester in the 2014/15 season, tweeted: “After years of telling the lads that I’m retiring, it’s finally time to call it a day in order to focus on my physio career within football. I’ve loved my time at Chorley and met some of the best people. Thank you to all the players, fans and staff.”