TOM SHAW accepts he had to let ‘head rule his heart’ after making the tough decision to leave Chester for Tamworth.

The popular midfielder, who made 106 appearances for Chester scoring 12 times since joining in 2015, made a shock departure earlier this month to pen an 18-month contract with the National League North outfit, under the stewardship of former Wrexham boss Andy Morrell.

The true extent of Chester’s financial plight has since been revealed, with Shaw likely to be followed out of the door by other senior players as the club look to cut costs immediately in order to stay afloat, but Nottingham-born Shaw insisted it was a ‘hard decision’  to leave the Blues in their current state.

“It was always my plan to stay with Chester until the end of the season and then consider my options,” he explained. “Marcus Bignot called me in and said Tamworth had made an approach. It took me aback to be honest, but I’m fairly open-minded and said I’d see what they had to say.

“I went to speak to Andy Morrell and he mapped out where he wants Tamworth to go and how they could play a key part in the next stage of my career.

“I spoke to Marcus and it felt like the right move, albeit it’s come a few months earlier than I'd originally thought.

“With my job at Nottingham Trent University, I wasn’t actually missing much Chester training, but the travelling each day takes its toll and we’ve got a young family to think about too.

“The 18-month contract is big in terms of personal security.

“It’s a tough one. The first thing I thought was ‘this is going to be a hard decision’. It’s a special club, a special place for me but on this occasion I had to let my head rule my heart.

“I’d have loved nothing more than to stay and help the club stay up because it’s killed me seeing the position we’re in.”

In terms of his Chester highlights, the 3-2 derby day victory over Wrexham was a favourite for Shaw, who scored in that famous success, but last season’s dramatic 2-2 draw at rivals Tranmere Rovers sticks out as his ‘favourite game to have played in’ and reduced the 31-year-old to tears.

“The Wrexham win at our place was a good one. I was quite new to the club at that point and it was good to get some of the fans onside with that goal,” he added.

“I think Tranmere away though, the 2-2 draw last season, was the highlight. I got so emotional I ended up crying at the end.

“There were a ridiculous amount of fans, I think it was close to 9,000, it was basically a Football League fixture being played out in non-league.

“It’s my favourite game to have played in, with Ryan (Astles) scoring that late equaliser in front of thousands of our fans. I just got in the car afterwards and burst into tears!

“Even some of the away wins at the back end of last season. Bromley is one that sticks in the memory. We were desperate for a win, we dug in and Duzza (Elliott Durrell) popped up with a last-minute winner. Those wins make you feel proud.

“Hopefully our paths will cross again on the non-league merry-go-round, although I hope it’s Tamworth playing Chester in the National League next season.”

Shaw was placed in caretaker charge of the first-team after Jon McCarthy’s dismissal as manager in early September, overseeing a 1-1 draw with Ebbsfleet, and back-to-back away defeats at Gateshead and Dover, and the former Alfreton midfielder led the team with great dignity and resolve.

“It was amazing to do that,” Shaw said. “It was tough circumstances, but myself, Calum (McIntyre) and Dave Felgate just got our heads down and worked our socks off.

“I don’t know if it’s put me off football management for life or not! I’m yet to make my mind up.”