James Constable: Oxford United exit 'painful'

James Constable

Striker James Constable says his exit from Oxford United is "painful", but added he was left with little choice but to leave.

Constable, 29, signed for Conference Premier side Eastleigh on Wednesday.

He turned down a new one-year contract at League Two Oxford, saying the deal gave him no financial security.

"It's painful," Constable told BBC Radio Oxford. "The offer was less money than before, which is another reason that made it a difficult decision."

Constable, who needed only one more goal to equal Graham Atkinson's club record of 107, has agreed a two-year deal with the Spitfires.

"I've been here a long time," he explained. "I enjoyed being here but with a new family and the age I am I need to look after them and that has been the main factor in the decision to leave Oxford.

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Emotional Constable in tears over Oxford United exit

"My aim was for me to stay at Oxford for the rest of my career but it's turned out that wasn't possible so I move on to a new challenge. It would have been a lovely thing to do, we had negotiations to keep me there for another year but at 29 and with the young family I have got it was important to secure the future of my family and myself."

Constable joined Oxford United permanently from Shrewsbury in July 2009 after a successful loan spell. He was the club's top scorer for each of his six seasons at Oxford, and was offered a new deal earlier in May.

But, despite failing to agree terms on that deal, he says he still holds the club in high regard.

"I don't have any ill feeling towards anyone there," he said. "It was a massive part of my football career and I wish them all the best.

"It's hard to take, we tried to negotiate to get to a point where we were both going to be happy with the deal but it did not materialise. I hope they go on and do really well.

"The fans have been fantastic and I cannot thank them enough."

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