COLWYN BAY FC announce the sad news that Rob Hopley is leaving the club to join Witton Albion.
The 30-year-old has played 270 games for the Seagulls, scoring 100 goals in his eight seasons at the club, and his departure will be greeted with sadness by many Bay supporters.
With the changes that new manager Kevin Lynch is making to try and lift the club clear of the relegation places, he could not guarantee Rob the regular football he wanted.
In a statement from the club, Vice-Chairman Kurtis Chapman said: “Today will go down by many Bay supporters as a sad day for the club with the news that, after eight seasons at the club, ‘Mr Colwyn Bay Football Club’, Rob Hopley has decided to accept an offer from Witton Albion.
“Rob has become a hero for the club over the years, scoring over 100 goals and helping the club win two promotions along the way. There isn’t many players in football, never mind this level that are so committed to a club like Rob has been to Colwyn Bay.
“It’s inevitable all players will leave the club one day, but when Rob phoned to let me know his decision I was gutted. I fully understand his reasons for going and I’ve told him he’ll always be welcome back at the club.
“Myself and the board are truly grateful for everything he has done for the club over the years and especially when we asked him to take charge of the team whilst we were recruiting a new manager.
“Rob is the ultimate professional and I know he’ll be back doing what he does best, scoring goals, very soon. It will feel very strange not seeing him around the club on match days and I know all supporters will wish him well with his move.
“Rob has become a good friend over the years and myself and Dave (Titchiner) have spoken to him since Ash appointed him as assistant in the summer about one day managing the club, and I truly hope one day that will happen.”
Rob Hopley said: “The club has been a massive part of my life since 2007 when I first signed and it was a very tough decision to leave.
“The fans and everyone at the club have been fantastic to me in all my time there and I thank them all so much. I would love to return one day in some capacity if the opportunity arose.
“Right now I want to make the most of what playing time I’ve got left and Witton is a huge pull because it so much closer to my home – especially with me having a young family now and with my job.
“I would particularly like to thank the chairman and Kurtis who have been fantastic with me. There are so many other people I could name who have treated me so well, but a big shout particularly to Bryan (Kelly) – and I’ll be getting him that bottle of whiskey I promised him for Christmas!”