PADRAIG Amond insists his “conscience is clear” over his controversial departure from Hartlepool United and that a return to the Football League with Newport County AFC was too good a chance to turn down.

Amond has come in for stinging criticism from Hartlepool fans after Pools boss Craig Harrison claimed the striker made himself unavailable for last weekend’s National League match at Bromley.

But the 29-year-old, who handed in a transfer request at the start of pre-season, denies that he ever refused to feature in the match.

“The only thing I am really unhappy with is the manager saying I made myself unavailable to play or travel,” he told the Hartlepool Mail.

“If I refused to play why did the club not fine me two weeks wages? I would never do that. No matter how unhappy I am, why would I not turn up at work?

“I’m being painted as a snake, the villain in all of this. I just wanted everyone to know my side of things.

“My conscience is clear – there are always two sides to every story.

“Any footballer wants to play at as high a level as they possibly can.

“I told the manager that over the phone at the end of May. I was honest from the start.”

Amond says he was desperate for a fresh start after Hartlepool were relegated from League Two in May and he’s delighted to sign for the club that stayed up in their place.

“I was hating football. Anyone that knows me knows I love football. I watch it 24/7,” he explained.

“For a person like me to get to the point where I am wanting the manager to take me off to put me out of my misery is not right.

“I was so unhappy. Relegation hurt but sitting in the dressing room after Chester was 100 times worse for me.

“After the Chester game I knew I needed to change. I needed a fresh start because things were not working for me, or the team at Hartlepool.

“I was hating football. Playing for Pools sucked the enjoyment out of the game for me.”

Hartlepool rejected the Irishman’s initial transfer request and County boss Michael Flynn had a bid turned down for the player early in the summer.

But Harrison had a change of heart last week and a deal was concluded on Monday with Amond signing a two-year contract at Rodney Parade, with an option of a third year according to the Hartlepool Mail.

“I gave absolutely everything for Hartlepool,” he added.

“I really care about the football club. I want them to get promoted. I want them to win the league. It was just about a new start for me.

“The new manager at Newport was on the bench the day we went there last season and he saw I was on the bench, too.

“He told me that the Newport players were delighted I wasn’t playing and I’d be in his team every week.

“It is good to be wanted, and I knew he genuinely liked me as a player.

“It’s sad the way it has ended but I want Hartlepool to do well. It would be great to be playing them again next season in the league, if we don’t get promoted, that is.”