Bideford captain Matt Bye has bid farewell to the Robins, joining South West Peninsula League side Helston Athletic.

Matt Bye in action for Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartMatt Bye in action for Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

Bye joins Helston, 12th in the SWP Premier, on a permanent basis after spending some time with The Blues during a Bideford suspension.

His last game with the Robins was a 3-2 defeat to Street in the Buildbase FA Trophy last month, where he was shown a straight red card with 30 minutes remaining.

Bye has made 293 appearances and scored 13 goals for the Robins since joining in the 2010/11 season, and played a big part in a campaign which saw them win the Southern League Division One title the following year.

After a season with Tiverton Town in 2014/15, Bye rejoined the Robins, becoming club captain.

Matt Bye in action for Bideford. Picture: Matt SmartMatt Bye in action for Bideford. Picture: Matt Smart

Bideford manager Sean Joyce said Bye’s decision had taken him by surprise.

“He spoke to me and he explained the situation and his circumstances and I couldn’t do anything about it really,” said Joyce.

“I’m not going to fall out about it – it’s football.

“He’s been a brilliant servant for the me and the club, and he’s been offered a lot by other teams before and stayed loyal, but I think this was one he couldn’t refuse.

“He’s been suspended so I opened the door for him to get some game time under the proviso he doesn’t get offered anything.

“We can’t compete, it’s as simple as that. You don’t drop down three leagues lower for football’s sake, but I can’t fault what Matt has done for me.”

Bye sent his best wishes to the club, tweeting: “Would like to say a massive thanks to [Sean Joyce] and [Bideford AFC] for the past seven seasons. Lots of memories and good friends made. All the best for the future.”