POPULAR midfielder Andy Ferrell has returned to his native North-East to begin looking for a new club after Hereford United decided against offering a contract for next season.

While he was not surprised by the club's decision not to give him a new deal, the manner of his release - which came via a letter to his Newcastle home while he was still at his base in Hereford - left him saddened.

"I am very disappointed that after more than 70 games in two years with the club, Graham Turner did not tell me face to face or by phone personally," said the 23-year-old.

"It would have been nice if someone from the club had picked the phone up.

"But I would never hold that against the club. I wish them all the best for the future and Joan Fennessy, in particular, was great and always there for me to talk to.

"Even if I had been offered a contract, I would have had to think hard about whether to accept it because at this stage in my career I am greedy for first-team football."

And now, showing the fighting spirit which earned him the nick-name Mad Dog at Edgar Street, the midfielder is already plotting his comeback.

Ferrell, who had just begun a month's loan at Kidderminster Harriers when he picked up the abdominal injury which ended his season, has already attracted interest from three Conference clubs but remains hopeful of attracting the attentions of a league club.

"Having worked so hard to get into the league, I don't want to drop out again now," he said.

And it is getting back into the league which evokes the best memories of his time at Edgar Street.

"The Conference play-off semi-final and the final were the games I shall remember best," he said.

"Getting promoted at Leicester in front of all my family and friends was fantastic. No matter what happens in my career I can always say that I was a member of the team which got Hereford promoted back to the league after so many years out.

"Winning a cup at any level is a great experience and players in the lower divisions are never going to be part of a Premiership or FA Cup winning team."

The level of support at Leicester also left a lasting mark on the Geordie.

"For a club the size of Hereford to take 10,000 out of a crowd of 15,500 to Leicester was amazing," he said. "If the club was top of the division, I'm sure that they could attract 6-7,000 on a regular basis."

This season also produced a memorable moment with a spectacular strike against Port Vale in the FA Cup as the Bulls won 4-0.

"I've still got that on my video and anyone who visits the house has to see it," he laughed.

Although he was only at Edgar Street for a couple of seasons, the two campaigns left their mark on Ferrell, who played 73 times in all for the Bulls, scoring four times.

"I made a lot of good friends at Hereford and there can be no club in the lower leagues which had a better team spirit," he said.

"When the lads went out, we all went out together and even the loan players who came to the club fitted in really well.

"Hereford is a very good club to start your league career at and the team spirit was fantastic."