Former Motherwell defender Eddie Forrest has been left without a club after falling victim to what appears to have been a cruel hoax.
Eddie Forrest (left) during his Airdrie days
Forrest, 24, recently agreed a new one-year part-time deal with Arbroath but was approached days later, via the phone, by a man purporting to be Danny Smith, chairman of Raith Rovers.
The caller intimated that Rovers were keen to sign him up on a full-time basis and discussed detailed terms and travel arrangements.
Forrest then approached Arbroath, who agreed to nullify the agreement he had signed and club chairman John Christison and manager John Brownlie gave the player their blessings.
Forrest also told his current employers - a leisure centre in Glasgow - that he would be leaving.
The Gayfield club then snapped up former Raith Rovers man Paul Browne with the funds freed up by the negation of the Forrest deal.
Forrest later called Raith Rovers and was put through to Smith, who denied any knowledge of the player.
Having spoken to the 'real' Smith, Forrest, who made his name with Airdrie, could tell immediately from the different voices that the original caller had been an imposter.
"I'm absolutely gutted," Forrest told this website.
"Football's full of jokes and guys pulling your leg, but this is a totally different matter.
"Someone has been messing with my career, my life - and that's anything but funny.
"I thought I was going to be signing with Raith on Monday or Tuesday now I'm left wondering if I'll get a club.
"Money is so tight these days and there are a lot of guys out there looking for deals."
The motive for such a terrible prank remains unclear, but it leaves, Forrest, who by-passed his agent Kevin Drinkell during the course of his sham negotiations, without an immediate future in the game.