Former Fulham striker Rob Haworth has done a U-turn on his proposed move to Wealdstone despite agreeing terms last week.
The 32-year-old forward backtracked on the switch from Margate after receiving a more substantial deal from Ryman Isthmian League Division one North outfit Dartford FC.
Stones manager Gordon Bartlett is disappointed about the decision but remains optimistic.
He said: "Rob Haworth sent me a text to say he would not be joining us after all. Having confirmed he would sign by telephone just before he went on holiday, we were going to announce his signature on his return.
"Unfortunately, Margate broke the news of his impending signing and it was soon all over the internet forums. With it out in the open, but against my better judgement, we were forced to go public.
"Since being away, he has received a call from Dartford FC and been offered a deal that we cannot compete with.
"He is a quality player, and although I am aggrieved after his verbal agreement, we cannot break our wage structure as it would be totally unfair on the other players in the squad. Even if he had signed, Dartford could have put in a seven day approach and we could have lost him nearer the start of the season.
"We have known for a long time that we are punching above our weight on the financial front and this season will be no different, but as this door closes on Rob Haworth, it simply creates an opportunity for someone else.
"I am obviously disappointed but certainly not disheartened, and with the excellent spirit amongst the players and things looking good at our new home at Grosvenor Vale, I am confident we will improve on last year's campaign."