By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Lee Ellington is determined to prove his critics wrong when he leads Farsley AFC’s attack in the Evo Stik Division One North.
Ellington, whose prolific goal-scoring spells at Gainsborough Trinity and Stalybridge Celtic earned him the reputation of being one of non-league football’s most feared strikers, endured a terrible time at Evo Stik Premier Division Matlock Town last season.
After just two months at the club, he was transfer-listed and told his services were no longer required.
Matlock and Ellington tried to negotiate a deal to cancel his contract, but none could be agreed so the 32-year-old was reduced to watching first team matches.
Bradford-based Ellington’s relationship with Matlock manager Mark Atkins and his assistant Nick Buxton is now at rock bottom after the pair used the media to criticise the striker.
Ellington, who worked with the pair before at Stalybridge, has broken silence on his spell at Matlock and given his side of the story.
“I feel I have point to prove after the politics I had to deal with at Matlock,” he said.
“It has fired me up, I feel fresh and really energised to give it a go this season.
“About a month into the season I got told by Matlock that I was the highest paid player and that they needed to get me off the wage bill and wanted me to move on.
“It was a bit of a shock because I knew the manager from Stalybridge and the assistant Bucco and they were pushing me out of the door as well.
“Obviously we couldn’t agree on a severance package so I was told I would be stuck in the reserves for the rest of the season if I didn’t move on.
“It wasn’t ideal and I wasn’t going to travel down to Matlock three times a week to play for the reserves – it was a really bad situation which ended with me not playing a lot of football.
“I have a family to look after so if they say ‘you have a good contract here and you have to walk away from it’, I’m not going to do that with nothing set-up for after.
“I told them I wasn’t going to leave until I got the right deal to leave.
“A lot of people close to me know the real story and know I love to play football, but wasn’t allowed to at Matlock and that is their loss.
“Matlock is the first bad period of my career and all the managers I have worked under will be able to count for that.
“It has ruined my relationship with Mark Atkins and his assistant Bucco because the way they have talked about me.
“It has burnt bridges. I got on well with them before, but the way they tried to treat me means I have no time for them now. I’d rather move on and forget about last season.”
After ending his year of hell at Matlock, Ellington joins Farsley who are determined to make up for last season’s disappointing campaign.
‘The Duke’ as he is affectionally known is a popular figure at Throstle Nest from his spell at the club during the 2009-10 season – the last campaign of the old club Farsley Celtic.
Ellington was top scorer in a side that contained Doncaster Rovers star Dave Syers and the forward is delighted to have returned.
He said: “It is brilliant to be back and there are still a few lads who were here when I here four years ago before the club folded.
“It feels like coming home and it is very exciting.
“(When I was released from Matlock) Pars got in touch and went through what I was looking for and told me the plans for next season and the players who he was bringing in.
“I wanted to be at Farsley and I know Farsley are traditionally a big club and should be higher than this league.
“It is really exciting to come back and be able to show that I am still a good player.”