ALAN McCormack admits to leaving Swindon Town with a heavy heart as he looks to do right by his family in taking an offer with Brentford which the Robins were unable to match.

The midfielder, 29, has put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Griffin Park which carries the option of a third year in a clause activated by the number of games he could play over the coming seasons in west London.

The move ends two terms in Wiltshire during which McCormack developed a strong affinity with everyone and everything at the County Ground – from the fans, with whom he appears to have a sincere mutual respect, to tea man Curly Withers and a host of behind-the-scenes staff.

For the former Southend and Charlton player, the decision to leave Town was not an easy one. Out of contract at the end of last season, he was keen to remain in Swindon, where he, his partner and young family have settled.

However, the initial offer of a one-year extended stay with the Robins did not satisfy the Irishman’s cravings for longer-term security for his nearest and dearest. Brentford were quick off the mark to make the most of his uncertainty, and when he met with Uwe Rosler, the Bees’ manager, and the Griffin Park board he was drawn to the proposition.

Swindon swiftly came in with a second attempt to keep McCormack in Wiltshire – but a phone call from chairman Jed McCrory to his agent came too late.

Speaking candidly to the Advertiser, McCormack revealed that Brentford’s general allure was too great to scoff at.

“When I met Brentford, the vision they’ve got as a football club and the way they’re moving forward and the way the manager has determination and passion for the game and the way he wants to play football really impressed me,” he said.

“I was really impressed with everything they had – from the chairman to the board to the manager and the staff. I’m not trying to say Swindon wasn’t like that, I’m not trying to say Kevin MacDonald wasn’t the right guy – it’s not like that.

“It’s just their vision that they’ve got that really impressed me. The first offer I got from Swindon disappointed me, I just felt that I was worth more to the club than a one-year offer. When they sent me the offer I was really gutted and disappointed and that really let me know in my head that maybe it was time to move on to another club.

“I hadn’t spoken to anybody, I didn’t do anything with anybody, I didn’t want to, I wanted to negotiate something with Swindon and we didn’t negotiate anything on that one-year for two-and-a-half or three weeks until my agent got a phone call from the club to offer they’d offer a two-year.

“By that time I had already spoken to Brentford and I had already started to negotiate a deal. I was already happy to move there so it was a little bit too late.

“I’m very disappointed to be moving from Swindon, it’s been an amazing two years but at Brentford I’ve got security – it’s two years with an option of a third which is something Swindon couldn’t match. Security for my family was the main priority for me.

“I can’t really pick out disappointing times at Swindon. Obviously losing games is disappointing in anyone’s career but to look back at the two years it puts a smile on my face – winning League Two, the way we played in League Two, getting player of the year, the admiration from the fans, how I got on with the staff, everyone in the office, the closeness of the club and how everybody felt.

“I made a lot of close friends and there are a lot of memories which will live with me forever and I’m very grateful for that.”

Swindon’s social media family has had plenty to say on the possibility of McCormack leaving the County Ground – and the midfielder received dozens of messages asking and in some cases begging him not to pack his bags.

Such is the relationship between the supporters who have travelled the length and breadth of the country watching the McCormack and his teammates, formed over two trying and emotionally exhausting years, the ex-Preston trainee found it hard to say goodbye.

However, now he has done just that and he made it explicitly clear that he wanted to thank those who have chanted his name at stadia big and small these past 24 months.

“I’ve tried not to look at Twitter and see the things people have said. I’ve tried not to get emotional even though you get very sentimental thinking about leaving behind brilliant fans who want to see you play for the club. You can’t buy that kind of thing,” he said.

“When my phone’s on and I see these messages coming through it makes this decision even harder to leave the football club. It’s something I thought very, very hard on. I’ve tried to keep my head away from it but I’ve had nothing but positive messages.

“It’s been very emotional and I’ve been very grateful for those messages. It’s good in life to have people give you that recognition.”

McCormack led the club through severe uncertainty in 2013 – and as one of the vocal members of the dressing room played an integral part in motivating the players during the transitional period between owners in January and February.

Since then he has watched on as McCrory’s new board have been openly questioned and criticised and generally distrusted – a reception he feels is slightly unjust.

“We all know the excitement Paolo Di Canio brought to the club and every press conference was eagerly awaited with people wondering what he was going to do or say next. There was a lot of media attention at the club through Paolo and then it all went a little bit sideways with the old owner wanting to sell the club and taking his money away, the threat of administration, the threat of not getting paid, selling our best players, the manager leaving and it makes you more experienced in life,” he said.

“For some people that was the first time of being in the stress of the threat of administration and non-payment and off the pitch it has a big impact on players’ mentality. You’ve got to give the players at this football club a lot of credit that they were able to stand up, be strong, be counted and continue to put in performances.

“We’ve seen a lot of the stick they’re getting on Twitter and speaking to Jed he was telling me that he’s had some unsavoury moments on Twitter where people have been fairly abusive. People have got to understand he’s taken the club over very, very quickly.

“They knew they had to cut the wage bill. We all know Andrew Black’s background and we know he’s a very wealthy man and when he pulled the plug we all knew the wage budget would have to become more realistic.

“That’s not saying the club is going to go in decline because the wage bill they have for next year is a very good wage bill for this league. It’s a promotion-chasing budget. They work tirelessly to bring players in, I know Lee Power is working every single day while the rest of us are still on holiday.

“They really do seem to be doing the right job. I can understand fans’ frustration being so close to promotion and then slipping away, but that’s nobody’s fault off the pitch.

“You can’t blame the board, you can’t blame Jed, you can’t blame the old board. It’s the players on the pitch. It was up to the players to produce the performances. You can’t point the finger at a chairman, chief executive, kit man, tea lady or anyone. It’s the players who have to stand up.

“They do take some stick and it is a bit harsh at the moment but the fans get frustrated because they want the best for the football club. The one thing football clubs always have is fans and they need their fans more than ever now to keep behind.”

So why make the move? Well, McCormack was not fully convinced that Town’s blueprint for the future aligned itself with his own.

“I was a little bit unsure of where the club was going, what the plan was for the two or three years, what plan they have in place to keep running the club and keep moving the club forward and I was a little bit sceptical of what was really going to happen,” he said.

“It’s not going in a bad direction, it’s not going in a wrong direction it’s just I felt Brentford’s direction was the direction was the direction I want to go in myself and that’s why I made the decision.

“Financially it’s not too much of a difference in terms of wages, there aren’t many clubs at our level who can double or triple people’s money. I want to play and I want to continue to better myself and win things.

“I was a bit unsure of how the Swindon team was going to set up next year – were they going to buy players or hope to get very good loans in? I really hope it’s a mixture of both, for the sake of the club and the sake of the fans.”

Regardless of his, or anyone else’s, emotions today, McCormack will take with him a suitcase full of memories when he swaps Wiltshire for west London.

From that goal at Northampton to leading his team out at Wembley, lifting the League Two title and standing beside each other through times of trouble and adversity, this stubborn Irishman has made a major impact in the red of Town.

As a parting gesture, he insisted, as perhaps only he can, in having the final word.

“From the bottom of my heart I want to thank every single person in the club – from the top with Lee Power, Jed McCrory, all the board members, the old owners, Paolo, Curly. Every home game you’d see Curly and he was shaking your hand and giving you a little hug,” he said.

“The office staff we had made getting into that ground every day a lot easier. They all deserve a lot of gratitude for their hard work. I’m thankful for it. And last but not least, the fans. The way they treated me was amazing. They’ve always been very positive to me, very thankful for everything and the messages on Twitter have always been great. For their sake I hope Swindon do well next year.

“I’m a very proud man to have played for Swindon Town. I’m not leaving a happy man, I’m leaving a sad man. The decision I’ve made is for my family and my career and security for my family over the next three years is there. That was the most important thing for me.”