HARTLEPOOL UNITED have confirmed that club captain Ryan Donaldson has turned down a new deal and is leaving the club.

The 30-year-old, who scored Pools’ decisive penalty in last month’s shoot-out against Torquay which secured promotion back to League Two, made 151 appearances over two spells at Victoria Park.

Manager Dave Challinor said: “I’m really disappointed that Ryan will be leaving the club but fully understand and respect his decision.

“He’s decided to go in a slightly different direction with his career and set himself up for further down the line.

“Personally he’ll be a big miss for us as a management team. A top professional, trains brilliantly, a driver of standards, a leader, a hugely valuable and respected member of our promotion-winning team and most important of all a good person.

“He was brought to the club to get the club back to the EFL. He’s done that.

"His parting memory is that his last kick of a football for this club was the decisive penalty at Bristol, to then lift the trophy with Feath (Nicky Featherstone), Millennium Square with the fans and the open-top bus parade for him is leaving on the highest of highs and it doesn’t get any better than that.”