PAUL Maitland outlined his respect for departing defender Mark Cooper, insisting “he had been very upfront and honest” with the club since the end of the campaign.

Cooper, who is believed to have agreed a deal with Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division champions Chippenham Town, announced via Twitter on Thursday evening that he was set to move on from the Bob Lucas Stadium.

Speaking about the exit, Weymouth assistant Maitland told Echosport: “I have a lot of respect for Coops in the way he handled the situation.

“The Chippenham thing has been a long running thing with him. They made a play for him earlier in the season and he turned them down at that point, to stay with the club.

“But, obviously with their promotion and the fact they came back in for him, it was going to be very hard for him to turn them down again.”

He added: “We totally understand his reasons for going and respect that his reasons for going are purely football and nothing else.

“He has been very upfront and honest with Mark (Molesley, manager) and myself since the end of the season, so we can only wish him all the best of luck for the future.”

Dorset Echo

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