Portadown manager Niall Currie has confirmed the offer turned down by long-serving defender Keith O’Hara had to fall within a streamlined summer budget.
O’Hara’s 20-year association with the Shamrock Park club has ended as the player felt “unable to accept” the deal presented by Ports officials.
Now O’Hara is set to explore other opportunities and admits interest from clubs across the Premiership and Championship.
Currie has expressed regret at O’Hara’s decision to reject the offer but considers the terms fair in line with current financial restrictions following relegation from senior football.
“We wanted to keep Keith at the club and made him an offer in line with other players and our overall budget,” said the Ports boss. “We are disappointed but I think both sides are aware of the circumstances and, ultimately, the decision was Keith’s to make and we must respect that choice.
“First and foremost, he is a Portadown legend who has given outstanding quality and service to the club and Irish League over a long time.
“We hate losing Keith as he is a top-end professional but we have to work within a budget applicable to the Championship.
“Pay cuts have had to be made to players and it is vital for the future of the club, after a period of financial instability, we move forward in the right manner.
“We wish Keith every success in the future.”