Leamington had hoped to hang on to prized asset Matty Stenson until Christmas at least, according to chairman Jim Scott.
It has just been officially announced that the striker has joined Conference Premier high-flyers Solihull Moors for an undisclosed fee and while Scott was not surprised to see the 24-year-old depart, he felt the timing of the move could have worked better for both parties.
“It’s disappointing but we don’t want to deny anyone the opportunity, it’s the dream of many to play football full-time,” said Scott.
“Post him winning the August Player of the Month award there has been significant interest from scouts and numerous clubs and conjecture and nibbles of interest.
“It has affected his performances and I’m not having a go at Matthew, it happens to a lot of players.
“But Paul [Holleran] and I were of the opinion that if he did the right things, the things he was doing in the first month of the season and kept his head down until Christmas, a Football League club would come in for him in the transfer window.”
An initial approach from Tim Flowers’ side came six weeks ago and both Stenson and the club were happy to maintain the status quo.
However, once the former Coventry City academy prospect handed in a transfer request, there was only going to be one outcome.
And Scott says that the loss of Stenson presents an opportunity for someone else to come in and fill the frontman role, starting with the home clash with Darlington on Saturday.
“We’ve got Anthony Dwyer and we’ve got Colby Bishop ready to come back.
“It would have been much harder for us to deal with if that wasn’t the case.
“We’ve got to be pragmatic.
“We’ve got to accept there is a pecking order in football.”
It continues a meteoric rise for Stenson, who scored eight goals in 13 starts for Brakes after joining in the summer from Barwell.
The striker had previously been at Midland League side Leicester Road.
He said: “I’m buzzing - I just can’t wait to get started now. I’ve been quite excited over these last few weeks.
“The club’s going in the right direction. I’ve met with the gaffer, the assistant and Mark Fogarty and they’ve really sold it to me - where they want to go and what their plan is, so I’m looking forward to it.
“Everyone wants to play as high as they can, so I’m going to come into the National League and hopefully carry it on.
“I can’t wait to go out there and show what I can do.”