WAYNE Goodison insists that 1874 Northwich thought carefully about whether to sign Scott McGowan again.
However, a list of pros proved to be much longer.
As a result, the striker is back at the club after a four-month stay with Macclesfield ended on Tuesday.
“We don’t bear grudges,” said the co-manager.
“That applies to any player that leaves after playing for us, and not just Scott.
“Everybody makes mistakes, and during conversations with him we’ve listened while he apologised for one he made.”
McGowan rejoined 1874 from Nantwich in June following the curtailment of the 2020-21 season.
He announced his return by scoring a hat-trick in the rearranged Macron Cup final against Runcorn Town the following month before becoming the first player to find the net for the club in a Northern Premier League fixture during an opening-day draw with Clitheroe.
However, the 34-year-old requested a transfer to Macclesfield in early September.
Goodison said: “We were annoyed, but not for football reasons – even though we were about to lose our leading scorer.
“Our frustration was down to how it happened; we really like Scott, and we’d been through a lot with him. For him not to feel able to communicate to us what he was thinking was disappointing but also, on reflection, perhaps we might have been more aware how we could have done things differently at that time.”
It was only when McGowan asked if there was any chance he could return that Goodison, together with joint manager Paul Bowyer, considered the possibility.
The duo also canvassed senior players, including captain Matt Woolley, for their opinion and the response was an encouraging one.
It cleared the way for an in-depth discussion with McGowan.
“This is our decision,” said Goodison.
“If the lads in the dressing room had reservations, we wouldn’t have made it. But they don’t.
“Look at it this way; if a player with Scott’s track record becomes available, then should we be interested? Of course, it’s obvious that we should.
“And that’s what Wool said too; ‘How are we going to feel if Scott plays against us, and scores, knowing that we had an opportunity to bring him back?’
“We didn’t want to find that out!”
McGowan will discover a team feeling differently now to when he left.
His final appearance was in a narrow defeat at Lancaster City in the FA Cup, when 1874 occupied 11th position in the table after collecting seven points from their opening five matches on debut at a higher level.
Form has improved significantly since, with only one defeat in their previous eight West Division fixtures before a 2-1 defeat at home to Runcorn Linnets on New Year’s Day.
Goodison added: “Scott knows that things have changed, and his challenge to start with is to prove he can handle competition for a starting berth up front.
“He hasn’t played much football in the past couple of months, and he’ll need time to get up to speed again.
“But we know what he’s capable of, and any management team would be happy to have that as an option when picking the side.”