Ryan Sidebottom has revealed he was offered contracts by eight different counties before deciding to make an emotional return to Yorkshire this season.
The Huddersfield-born left-armer created a clamour for his services at the end of last season, when he decided not to take up a one-year deal with Nottinghamshire after helping them to the LV= County Championship First Division title.
The 33-year-old wanted the security of a longer-term deal and when his native county came knocking with a three-year contract that is likely to see him through to the end of his playing days, Sidebottom admitted there was only ever one place he wanted to go.
“To come back and play for Yorkshire where it all started was a no-brainer really,” he said.
“The opportunity arose and I jumped at the chance. I thought I might finish my career with Notts, but it didn’t work out.
“The whole package felt right. My friends and family are up here.
“My wife is heavily pregnant again as well and we have been able to move my young family back up.”
Asked how many offers he had to choose from, he added: “All up seven or eight I think. I had a choice of a few, but I suppose I’m a bit of a northern lad so going down south probably wasn’t an option.
“The counties that came in for me were Hampshire, Worcestershire, Lancashire, Durham and one or two more.
“But it is absolutely great to be back, it’s very exciting.”
Sidebottom helped Yorkshire win their most recent first division title in 2001 before leaving for Nottinghamshire in acrimonious circumstances in 2004.
Any division would seemingly be water under the bridge with the club welcoming him back with open arms, although Sidebottom admits, even after seven years away, there is a part of him that would like to prove some people wrong.
“I suppose I have a bit of unfinished business having left under the circumstances I did,” he said.
“I want to show I’m a good bowler and can come back and do well.
“To come back and take more wickets for Yorkshire is the ideal opportunity for me.
“I’ve been welcomed back. Everyone’s said ‘good luck and it’s nice to see you back’.
“That’s been great and it’s good to see a lot of the old faces. The food men are still here, the food hasn’t changed. They still have the same dodgy sandwiches.”
Sidebottom’s return is set to boost a young White Rose attack that got under the radar of a number of teams last season and helped keep them into the title hunt right up until the final day of the season.
Seamers Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Steven Patterson established themselves as consistent wicket-takers while Ajmal Shahzad’s rapid rise earned him England honours alongside Tim Bresnan.
With spinners Adil Rashid and David Wainwright adding an extra dimension, Sidebottom believes Yorkshire boast one of the best attacks in the country .
“They are very young so you could say they are very inexperienced, but you could argue that (they are the best attack),” he said.
“Now with the county season and the amount of cricket you play you need strength in depth and Yorkshire have got that. You could argue seven to nine bowlers are going to play this season.”
With such a young group around him Sidebottom, who won 22 England Test caps, is looking forward to imparting his experience upon them and believes the squad is almost as good as the Nottinghamshire team he helped to the title last term.
“They are very close. They are still young and learning all the time, so maybe this year we won’t win it this season,” he said.