MICHAEL Doughty has left Swindon Town with immediate effect due to personal reasons, the club has said.

In a statement released on Saturday evening, Swindon Town thanked Doughty for ‘all he has done for the club’ and wished him the best for the future.

Rumours had been circulating on Twitter throughout the week that former Swindon Advertiser player of the year had stormed out of training and left the club’s WhatsApp group after a bust up with manager Richie Wellens.

Wellens said the gossip was ‘bang out of order’ and told fans to be careful what they put out there on social media when the truth is not fully known.

The Town boss explained, following Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Rochdale, that Doughty had left the club to focus on his mental health following the birth of his new baby.

The midfielder had been struggling for a while, Wellens said, and had asked to go home during the club’s pre-season spell in Manchester.

Speaking after Saturday’s win, Wellens said: “I don’t want to go into it too much because Michael is a brilliant human being, he’s very unique and I’ve absolutely loved working with him over the last 18 months.

“I criticise Michael probably more than anyone at the club because I know how good he can be and he played in my position.

“We had our ups and down during the first season, but we still wanted more from him.

“Then from the middle of November to the end of the season, he was our best player.

“Everybody can say Doyle and Grant and Yates, but Michael Doughty was our best player during that time.

“I was looking forward to working with him getting even better at better stadiums and on better pitches this year, but we have to respect that he’s made the decision for his family and his personal reasons.

“I wish him and his family all the best.”

Doughty leaves Swindon having won League Two, with 93 appearances across three spells and having played a part in 48 Town goals during that time.

Asked whether he could return in the future, Wellens admitted it was unlikely and reiterated his good wishes to Doughty and his family.

Wellens said: “Michael spoke to the chairman on Monday evening and said: ‘look, I’ve made this decision’, he ripped his contract up, and he wanted to give the club as much time as possible to find a replacement.

“But it’s not easy to find a replacement for someone like him – not just on the pitch, but off it too.

“It’s a difficult one because it just came out of the blue, but we have to respect his decision and wish his family all the best.”