Manager Andy Burgess confirmed the news this morning (Tuesday) that last season’s captain has opted to move on from Hayden Road.
Collard was an outstanding performer during a fine season for Diamonds as they just missed out on a play-off place in the Southern League Premier Central play-offs, although his campaign was cut short after suffering a broken hand in the 3-1 win at Redditch United towards the end of March.
The news of Collard’s departure comes after it was revealed that club stalwart Liam Dolman was also leaving Diamonds after making over 300 appearances for the club.
And while Burgess was disappointed to lose both players, he insists his focus remains on ushering in a new era at Hayden Road.
The Diamonds boss said: “Alex has been a great player for the club, he was the captain and we missed him heavily towards the end of the season. Everyone could see how much we missed him.
“He had a good offer on the table from the club, a hugely increased offer from what he was on last season. I tried my best to keep him.
“To be fair to Alex, I don’t think it was really a conversation about money.
“I think it’s a case of him wanting to try something new and, at 27, I have got to respect that.
“He goes with my blessing. He only played a handful of games for me but he was phenomenal at both ends of the pitch.
“Bully (Dolman) has been brilliant for the club.
“He’s a great character and has had a huge impact on the pitch with over 300 appearances and 50-odd goals from centre-half is unbelievable.
“He will go down, quite rightly, as a legend of the club.
“I had a good conversation with him. He had made his mind up. He felt the time had come and whoever gets him will be very lucky.
“I do feel we are entering a new era.
“I am not concerned about bringing players in. We have players lined up and we have lads who have played higher who want to come down and lads who have played lower who want to come up.
“I am excited by it. These things happen. I am not going to sit here and cry my eyes out over losing a couple of players.”