HUDDERSFIELD Giants captain Kevin Brown stunned the club today by revealing he is to leave them and join Stobart Super League basement side Widnes Vikings at the end of the season.
The 27-year-old stand-off, who joined the Giants from Wigan in 2006, signed a new five-year contract just under two years ago which took him to the end of the 2015 season.
However, the Vikings announced his prized capture for 2013 during their Magic Weekend derby with Warrington in Manchester and the player confirmed his exit on Twitter.
"Be sad to leave the Giants next year but very excited to be heading to Widnes and moving back home," he tweeted. "Got to go out on a high with a trophy."
Widnes say Brown has signed a four-year deal with them and moves to the Stobart Stadium for an undisclosed transfer fee.
"Kevin is a Lancashire lad with a young family and he believes the time is now right to move back over to this side of the Pennines," said Vikings coach Denis Betts, who coached the player during his time at Wigan.
"He sees the Vikings as the vehicle to help him fulfil even more of his playing ambitions over the next four years and we’re extremely pleased to welcome him to the club, despite a great deal of interest from elsewhere.
"Moving forward as an organisation, to secure the services of such a quality player as Kevin is a massive coup for the club
"Given the fact there is a transfer fee involved is another indication of where we are going and what we are trying to do.
"Kevin has always had the ability and charisma needed to be an outstanding player.
"From those early days, he’s gone on to play his part in plenty of big games at both club and international level and he will bring a vast wealth of experience and high quality traits with him.
"As he’s proven in recent seasons, he is also a leader of men and has taken the captain responsibility at Huddersfield with ease.
"We’re trying to create an environment where leadership is taken on by the quality of people within the structure of the team and I’ve no doubt having him on board can only enhance our ambitions moving forward."
Giants managing director Richard Thewlis said he was satisfied with the compensation his club would receive for Brown, who won three England caps in 2010.
"Kevin has and continues to be a great player and leader in our group," said Thewlis.
"He has given us wonderful service and I am sure will be wanting to leave us at the end of the year on a high having helped us achieve our goals this season.
"The opportunity that has presented itself is a wonderful one for him and his family and will enable them to return nearer to their families.
"From our perspective as a club we are satisfied with the level of compensation that we will receive which, as you would expect as befits our captain, is a club record amount for us.
"Kevin will leave at the end of October with our very best wishes and thanks."