Jon Brady has every right to look back on his stay at Brackley Town with pride.
The affable Australian decided to call time on a six-and-a-half-year tenure at St James’ Park after last Saturday’s 4-2 defeat to North Ferriby United in Vanarama National League North.
He says ‘gut instinct’ prompted the decision, adding ‘I just felt it was time’.
And as disappointing as it was to bring such a successful stint to an end with a defeat, the manager will not let that cloud his memories of his time with the Saints.
After seven trophies, one promotion and a run to the second round of the FA Cup, which included the televised giantkilling of Gillingham, Brady walks away with his head held high.
And he said: “We’ve put it on the map really in what we’ve done. That’s everyone in it together - from the chairman and everyone else involved.
“From where we’ve come from to where we are now, we’ve put it in the media spotlight.
“We’ve raised it up a level to Conference North and we were 20 minutes away from being in the Conference, which would have been an amazing achievement for a club of that size.
“To have that, the win against Gillingham on TV in the FA Cup - they are fantastic memories.
“We won seven trophies and I just felt it was time to go.
“Myself and (assistant boss) Darren (Collins) gave it everything.”
That they did, and the fruits of their labours were plentiful.
Such was the respect Brady and Collins earned at Brackley that those who worked with them and against them were quick to send good luck messages after the resignation.
“I’ve had some incredible phone calls and texts from my players, absolutely overwhelming, every single one of them,” Brady said.
“Then the other thing is managers who you thought were toe to toe with, out of the blue they have sent amazing messages as well.
“A lot of ex-players as well and that’s been very nice.
“When you come out, you don’t realise how you affected people and I didn’t expect any of it.”
Brady will now let the dust settle before moving back into management.
He said: “I’m keen to keep managing and we’ll see what comes along.
“I’m keen as ever with my football and I fancy a fresh challenge.
“It already feels like an eternity since I resigned on Saturday, but I need to give it a couple of weeks and then I’ll start going to games again.”
And wherever he ends up, Brady can always return to Brackley to remind him of what he helped build at a fresh and functional St James’ park.
“It’s great to look round and see how the place has improved, with the changing rooms and the ground development,” he said.
“To see the legacy we’ve built is great. We’ve taken it to a different level and it’s pleasing to see we’ve left something positive for the next person.”
Frank Sinclair, who joined the club on a temporary playing basis at the end of last season, has been placed in caretaker charge.
Sinclair’s first game in the dugout will be at Stockport County on Saturday, with a home game against Lowestoft Town coming three days later