The vice captain was offered a lucrative deal at a rival Hellenic Premier League club but has chosen to stay with the Yellamen.

And McGrotty said: “Chris has turned down a really good offer which 99% of people would have taken. Everyone at the club is delighted because he’s a leader and the heart of Ascot United.

“He doesn’t want to leave and loves working with me and (manager) Jeff (Lamb).” The club has also made two other signings who McGrotty believes will add considerably to the squad.

Central midfielder Mustapha Mohammed has joined from Maidenhead United having previously been at Windsor and Farnborough, while centre half Jesse Wilson has returned from studying at university.

McGrotty said: “We know about Mustapha from his time at Windsor and Jesse was a big player for us when he was here before.

“We are hoping to bring in two or three more in the next few days which is exciting and should mean more competition for places.

“The main aim was to keep the guys from last year because we had a good season - that was our main objective which we’ve done.” He revealed pre-season training has begun well with two sessions complete and a game against Penn & Tylers scheduled for this Saturday at Cantley Park in Wokingham (1pm kick off).

The Yellamen are also looking for a friendly next Tuesday or Wednesday. They had previously been due to face Tadley Calleva but the game has been cancelled after the sides were drawn against each other in the FA Cup.