Chris Humphrey decides to join Preston

Chris Humphrey says his departure after four years at Fir Park is an emotional one. Picture: SNS
Chris Humphrey says his departure after four years at Fir Park is an emotional one. Picture: SNS
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Chris Humphrey has signed a three-year deal with English League One side Preston North End.

Motherwell had offered the 25-year Jamaica international a new contract following four successful seasons at the club. However, the former Shrewsbury player has opted to return south of the border and will officially join the Deepdale club on 1 July.

A statement on the Motherwell website concluded: “Everyone at Motherwell Football Club would like to sincerely thank Chris for his outstanding contribution over the last four years and wish him every success in his future career.”

Humphrey admitted that his departure from the Fir Park club after four happy years made him emotional.

The Jamaica international told MFC TV: “Your emotions don’t really kick in until you actually sign somewhere else and it dawns on you that you won’t be coming back.

“I’ve loved my time at Fir Park, I’ve met some great people and made lifelong friends at the club and the football has been great for me too; it’s really suited for wingers up in Scotland. When I first signed back in 2009, everyone knows some of the issues and problems I had off the field and the club were fantastic during that time, giving me the time off with my family that I needed.

“It’s times like that which makes this such a special place and why leaving is so hard. But I am looking forward to the challenge at Preston in what should be a very competitive league.

“I just want to thank everyone at Motherwell for everything and I’ll certainly be back soon to watch some matches.”

Humphrey, though, was delighted to seal the move to Preston and told the English club’s website: “It feels unbelievable to be honest, when you look at the history of the club, it’s massive and they have had some great people there in the past and I’m really looking forward to the first day of pre-season.

Preston manager Simon Grayson told supporters that the club now had “an exciting winger on our hands”.

“I am pleased to sign him as we faced a lot of competition from a lot of other top clubs,” said Grayson.

“He has been linked with some big names and to secure his signature tells us something about the football club and Chris’s ambition.

“He had a good season at Motherwell, hence all the interest and I think we have got an exciting winger on our hands.

“What highlighted it for me was after meeting the player and telling him to go away and think about it for 24 hours, within ten minutes he walked back in the door and said he wanted to sign. That says a lot about the player.”

Humphrey is happy to be linking up with Grayson and added: “I was looking for a manager that would improve me as a player. Everything Simon Grayson had to say to me was intriguing and I felt wanted and welcome.”

Motherwell could be on the verge of losing another player after it emerged yesterday that Barnsley have submitted an offer for Michael Higdon.

Outgoing Barnsley chief executive Don Rowing told BBC Radio Sheffield: “We have an interest in Michael and we’ve made an offer through his agent.

“Anyone who can score goals at whatever level is always on the radar. We’ve been one of the first clubs to step in and hopefully we’ll be the ones that get him, but we’ve had no response at the moment.”

Higdon, who was the top scorer in the Scottish Premier League last season with 26 goals, is out of contract with the Fir Park club. The 29-year-old former Crewe, Falkirk and St Mirren man won the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award last month and has been offered a new deal by Motherwell.