Of all the hard luck stories to come from Newcastle Jets' abysmal 2014/15 A-League season, Taylor Regan is surely the hardest.
As the Jets imploded in January by sacking five senior players, Regan was handed the captain's armband for his hometown club.
With a the promise of a new deal and his wedding coming at season's end, the 26-year-old just wanted to get through to round 27.
But just days after the Jets' wooden spoon was confirmed, Regan received the biggest bombshell of his career when he shown the door.
"(Coach) Phil Stubbins, the former owner (Nathan Tinkler) and the former CEO (Mitchell Murphy) all said I'd be getting a new deal," he said.
"Then the last game happened, I got called in on Tuesday morning and told 'Sorry, there's no deal any more'.
The price of Regan's loyalty was a heavy one.
"The season was a nightmare, from the get go there were bad things happening," he said.
"The players got sacked, I took on the captaincy; it was pushed upon me and I took it on for the community as opposed to the team.
"The way the senior boys were handled and sacked, coaching staff too, Neil Young, Clayton Zane and people like that, they all went under the bus."
His career collapsed by broken promises, Regan threw himself into his wedding and honeymoon to give wife Jessica "the respect she deserved".
After returning to Australia, the central defender quickly found out their was little interest from other clubs, with many already finalising their squads for the 2015/16 season.
He also learned that his situation was far from a unique experience.
A recent player survey revealed that up to a third of A-League players only found out whether their contracts would be renewed in the final week of their deal.
Regan said players deserved better than the uncertainty.
"There has to be a better way," he said.
"Obviously football is a great lifestyle and career but at the same time, it can be a volatile environment when you don't know what's around the corner.
"There has to be something done, like a deadline so you know before the end of the season so you have a chance to put the feelers out and see what else is around.
"If I had have known 10 weeks ago, my circumstances might have been different."
Staying fit with an independent training regime, Regan says he'll look to continue his professional career in Malaysia or Thailand.