Chris Conn-Clarke sent an emotional farewell message to Altrincham fans after Peterborough United finally won the race to sign him for an undisclosed club record fee.

After putting pen to paper on a contract at the League One club, Conn-Clarke paid tribute to the influence of manager Phil Parkinson and his assistant Neil Sorvel and thanked Alty fans for their part in making him feel at home at The J.Davidson Stadium.

“I want to thank everyone at this brilliant club,” he said. “Thanks to the gaffer for believing and trusting and giving me the platform and guidance to perform each week, and a big thanks to Sorvs and the rest of the staff for giving me all the support I’ve needed to keep improving day-in, day-out.

“To the fans, you have been amazing, and it’s been a joy to play in front of you all. I will always be an Alty fan - it’ll be the first result I look for after my games.

“Me and my family have been made to feel part of the Altrincham family, and I can only thank everyone who has helped support me on and off the pitch. It really is a special place - up the Robins!”

A remarkable return of 22 goals from an attacking midfield role, rounded off by being voted National League player of the year, made his departure virtually inevitable, as Alty Co-Chairman Lawrence Looney conceded by saying: “We are extremely sorry to see Chris go, but he leaves with our best wishes. We would loved to have kept him, but the downside of having a player who lights up the stadium to the extent that Chris did last season is that it tends to get noticed. More and more clubs expressed an interest, and it soon became clear there was likely to be only one outcome.

“We were adamant he would not leave on the cheap, and I think clubs began to realise we meant what we said. Chris fully understood our stance, which spoke volumes for him and the feelings he has for the club.”