Livingston-bound Marvin Bartley has revealed he turned down more lucrative offers in England to sign for the West Lothian club after his spell at Hibs exceeded all expectations.
The midfielder has agreed to a three-year contract with Livingston and will sign off on his Hibs career after Sunday’s Ladbrokes Premiership visit of Aberdeen.
The former Bournemouth, Burnley and Leyton Orient player has won Scottish Cup and Championship winners’ medals during a four-year spell at Easter Road but, after being restricted to 16 first-team appearances this season, he decided to seek a new club.
“I think my time here has kind of ended,” the 32-year-old said. “I have been here four years. I came to a team that was in the Championship and a lot has happened in those four years and I don’t think there is much more I can achieve.
“It’s time to take on a new challenge with more playing time. Although it’s extremely hard to leave the club, it’s time.
“When I came up I just wanted to get the team out the Championship. When I came here everyone was talking about the Scottish Cup and that became the next challenge, and obviously, both have been completed.
“I could never have imagined for it to be like it has. I didn’t realise how big the club was. Obviously having the parade and the support has been massive and has been growing every season, it has far surpassed what I thought it would be.”
Bartley was keen to stay in the Edinburgh area and Livi gave him the perfect opportunity.
“Football-wise I could have gone back down the road, I probably could have earned more money down the road,” the Reading-born player said.
“I had offers down there and turned them down to stay up here.
“The age I am I just want to enjoy my time while I’m still playing, and for me, that’s up here.
“I’m not sure if you have been down south, but everyone is just doing their own thing, nobody wants to stop and have a chat. It’s a lot friendlier here.
“Even where I live there’s a lot of Hearts fans but they are brilliant. When I am out walking my dog, people want to speak to you and have a bit of banter. For me, that’s life.”
Bartley admits saying farewell to the Hibs fans will be difficult but he will also get to pursue his coaching ambitions at Livi.
“It’s a different challenge,” he said. “Obviously the challenge here is to be in the top six and push for Europe, for them, it’s about staying in the league. It’s a challenge I will enjoy.
“I am going to help with the reserves as well, and help those boys develop so it will be a different challenge but I will meet it head on.”