Cheltenham Town: I never wanted to leave - Billy Jones
BILLY Jones has left Cheltenham Town on good terms, but the left-back denies ever asking for a loan move away from Whaddon Road.
Jones was released from his contract by mutual consent before Monday night's transfer deadline and he is therefore now free to sign for any club.
The 30-year-old started 39 of Cheltenham's 46 League Two matches last season after arriving from Exeter City in July 2012, setting up 13 goals as the Robins reached the play-offs for a second successive year.
But he quickly fell out of favour this term with summer signing from Macclesfield Town Craig Braham-Barrett preferred to him in the starting line-up.
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Yates said he was disappointed Jones had asked for a loan move so early in the season, but the former Crewe and Leyton Orient man said he did not want to leave.
He knew his departure was imminent before Saturday's trip to Bury, when he was an unused substitute.
"It's all a bit of a shock really and whirlwind couple of weeks, but I certainly did not want to leave Cheltenham," Jones said.
"I had a meeting with (assistant manager) Neil Howarth and asked what was going on because I felt I should have been playing after last season.
"The next thing I know I was told my name had been circulated for loan, but I had told the gaffer (Mark Yates) and Neil I was happy to bide my time so I was gobsmacked really.
"People might have read what the gaffer said in the paper and thought I'd thrown my toys out of the pram, but that was never the case and that's the only disappointing thing about how things have panned out."
Jones said there was no ill-feeling towards Yates or anyone at Cheltenham, where he thoroughly enjoyed himself last season.
"The gaffer said he was pleased with me last season and that I was a good professional and did everything right, so it's been a surprise not to feature in his plans," Jones said.
"But I know managers have to make decisions and I'll always be grateful to him for giving me a chance at Cheltenham last summer when nobody else really wanted me.
"I have nothing bad to say about him, but I am disappointed I have never been given a reason why I was left out of the side.
"I have never left a club on bad terms and this is the same, the gaffer and Neil have both been brilliant to me and I wanted to carry on here, but that's obviously not the case."
Jones said he had not yet spoken to any prospective new clubs.
"It's all happened so quickly I haven't had a chance yet, but it's early days," he said.
"I've just settled with my wife in Gloucester and my little boy has started school.
"I'd like to thank everyone at the club and the fantastic supporters who helped make me feel so welcome last season, I can't thank them enough.
"I really hope the boys can pick up now and get in the play-offs again at least."