After more than 200 appearances, 21 goals and five years of service, Luke Chadwick has left MK Dons to pursue a boyhood dream.
The popular 33-year-old leaves stadium:mk to take up a one-year deal with Cambridge United - the team Chadwick grew up supporting - having spent the last part of last season on loan there.
His loan spell featured a successful Skrill Premier play-off final appearance at Wembley, and the lure of living out his dream for another year has prompted both Chadwick himself and Dons to agree to terminating his contract a year early, allowing him to join United on a free transfer.
“If I meet another man like him in my managerial career, I will be shocked,” said Dons boss Karl Robinson. “He is the most unique, heartfelt individual. I think the world of him and won’t hear a bad word about him. He’ll have a job for life here, if it was up to me. He can do anything.
“We had a discussion about forthcoming seasons, but he felt it would be a step too far.
“He doesn’t want to let the chairman down, the fans down or me down. He said while he still has the legs, he wants to fulfil his dream and walk out playing for Cambridge.
“Up until his injury last year, he had his best years with me. Some of the performances blew everyone away. I’d drag him off after 75 minutes each week because he’d run more in that time than others would in 120. He set a great example to the young players, and he’s left a legacy at the club.
“He’s taken two pay cuts to stay here. It was never about money for him.”
As one of the club’s all-time longest service players, Robinson believes Chadwick will go down in history as one of the club’s great legends.
Robinson added: “He’s someone who will be a legend at the club.
“He has to go up there. It’s weird how we mention Dele Alli as one of the best, and fans suggested Keith Andrews, Jason Puncheon, Dean Lewington and Patrick Bamford. Chaddy will be in there, because he did it consistently for five years. That’s a sign of a good player.
“He’s a great guy and I wish him all the best in the world.”