WEYMOUTH chairman Nigel Biddlecombe says he is “absolutely devastated” that Sam Poole wants to leave the Bob Lucas Stadium.

The defender, contracted to the Terras until next May, has rejected the offer of a revised and improved deal and is understood to be close to joining another club.

Player-manager Jason Matthews confirmed that Poole, first-team captain for a time last season, has his request to be put on the transfer list accepted.

Poole’s decision is a blow for the club and Biddlecombe, who hoped that the 22-year-old would be around a lot longer.

“Sadly, Sam has expressed to the manager and me his wish to leave the club,” said Biddlecombe.

“I’m absolutely devastated because Sam has been a part of Weymouth for a long time.

“It had always been my belief that Sam was one of those players we would build the team around as he gained experience.

“I know Jason is absolutely gutted as well, but Sam seems to have made a decision that he is not going to stay with us.

“Sam could have really come on leaps and bounds with the players Jason has brought in, and been an integral part of the squad.”

He went on to add: “Jason has been trying to find a deal that Sam would accept, but he decided against it.

“He decided he wants to spend his immediate future elsewhere and we only want people who want to play for Weymouth.

“It’s my understanding that he remains a Weymouth player for as long as his contract has validity.

“But if a player is determined to leave us then I see no point in standing in his way.”

Despite this latest development, Biddlecombe is excited by what is going on at the club ahead of the next campaign.

He added: “Jason has done a lot of work to bring in some pretty tidy players for next season.

“He has worked absolute miracles on behalf of the club to bring these players in and has left no stone unturned.

“I think these are exciting times for us.”

The club has also linked up with Weymouth FC Youth to start the Tiny Terras, a new venture aimed at developing players for the first team.

On top of that, the club has restructured its under-18s set up and will field a team in the South West Counties Youth League next season.