John-Joe O’Toole is leaving the Cobblers.
The talismanic midfielder has told the club he will not be taking up the option of the contract extenstion offered to him at the end of the season, and that his five-year association with the club is over.
A firm fans’ favourite, O’Toole is now a free agent and it is understood he is close to signing for a club in Sky Bet League One.
In all, OToole made 159 starts and 35 substitute appearances for the Cobblers, scoring 35 goals.
A club statement read: “Everyone at Northampton Town Football Club would like to thank John-Joe O’Toole for his time as a Northampton Town player and wish him every success with his future career.
“The club have already welcomed Matt Warburton, Joe Martin, Chris Lines and Harry Smith to the PTS Academy Stadium this summer, and talks remain ongoing with a number of other transfer targets.”
Signed on a free from Bristol Rovers in the summer of 2014, O’Toole endured a disappointing first season at Sixfields, and was at one point sent out on loan to Southend United.
O’Toole was then transfer-listed by boss Chris Wilder the following summer, and that seemed to be the catalyst for the player to prove the manager wrong.
He forced his way back into the first team reckoning, and went on to be one of the key players of the 2015/16 title-winning team.
So much so, that in a quality side that boasted the likes of Ricky Holmes, Nicky Adams, Marc Richards and David Buchanan, O’Toole claimed the Chronicle & Echo Cobblers supporters’ player of the year award.
The imposing O’Toole scored 12 goals in the title-winning season, and then repeated the feat the following season as the Cobblers stayed in Sky Bet League One.
He signed a new two-year deal to stay at the club in the summer of 2017, but he has struggled with injuries over the past couple of seasons.
In the campaign that finished earlier this month, the 30-year-old was restricted to to a modest 27 first team starts, the last of which came in the 3-1 loss at Cheltenham Town on March 23.
His departure, and that of Buchanana earlier in the month, means that just one player remains from the 2016 championship winners, and that is Sam Hoskins.