Peterborough United hero Craig Mackail-Smith has thanked the club and its supporters for four-and-a-half fantastic years at London Road.
The 27 year-old striker completed a surprise transfer to Championship rivals Brighton yesterday afternoon (4 July) for a fee believed to be a Posh record sale of £2.5 million with a potential rise to £3.25 million, all for a player who cost just £125,000 when arriving from non-league Dagenham & Redbridge in January 2007.
The deal ended months of speculation about Mackail-Smith’s next destination involving Premier League clubs Norwich and QPR as well as top Championship clubs West Ham and Leicester.
Mackail-Smith insists he was swayed by Brighton boss Gus Poyet’s vision rather than any financial concerns.
“Gus Poyet was very infectious,” Mackail-Smith stated. “I was very impressed with everything he had to say and he sold me his vision for the club and where he wants it to go which is very exciting.
“I did speak to other clubs, but this move felt right for me. The manager made me feel that he really wanted me.
“Obviously it’s a very emotional time for me as I had four-and-a-half fantastic years at Peterborough. I can’t thank the fans highly enough for the incredible support they’ve always shown me and the coaching I’ve received from Darren Ferguson, Mark Robson and Kevin Russell has helped me improve as a player enormously.
“Peterborough gave me my chance in professional football and I will always be indebted to them for that.
“But I needed a new challenge and I am convinced Brighton is the place for me. I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
The 27 year-old striker scored 99 goals in 212 appearances in his London Road career. He now faces an early re-union with Posh when the clubs meet at Brighton’s new Amex Community Stadium on August 27.
“I did look at the fixtures before I signed,” Mackail-Smith added. “And it will certainly feel strange to play against them.”