Steve Dolan has wished Deveronvale all the best after leaving the club – and hopes his assistant Craig Stewart will be his successor.
News broke on Monday night that Dolan had left the Banffers after more than five years in charge at Princess Royal Park.
He had been informed that Deveronvale would not be renewing his contract at the end of the season and decided now was the right time to depart, with assistant Stewart becoming interim manager for the time being.
Dolan is a Deveronvale legend having spent a quarter of a century at the club. The former defender joined from Forfar in 1992 and was there as player and then assistant manager until 2012.
He returned to become manager in October 2015 and has led them to 13th, 15th, eighth, 12th and and 11th placed finishes in the Highland League.
Dolan said: “My time has been very enjoyable, there’s been a lot of ups and downs with the way the club is and where we are as a team.
“I’d like to thank the people that gave me the opportunity. I’ve had a lot of help along the way from the fans and my coaches Mark Chisholm, Craig Stewart, Kevin Stewart and James Blanchard and I’d like to thank them.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time, it’s probably not finished the way I wanted to finish, but I’ve really enjoyed it.
“People might say there’s not been a lot of progress in the last five years, but I think we have progressed on the pitch and stabilised the club off it.
“It’s one of these things that happens in football, people come and go and I’m thankful I got the chance to manage Deveronvale.
“I hope the club can move forward now because it deserves to. The club is bigger than me and it always will be, I’m just a manager that came and went like the rest of them and the club’s got to move on.”
His departure came as a shock to some, but Dolan added: “There’s never a shock in football. This year has been a tough one across the board and we put things in place like no wages.
“As soon as Covid-19 came we didn’t look at furlough we just agreed as coaching staff and playing staff to cut all wages so from March to now nobody has taken a penny.
“We did it to try to keep the club playing and I can’t speak highly enough of what the playing and coaching staff have done.
“They could have demanded money and left but not one has asked for anything so I can’t speak highly enough of them.
There’s never a shock in football.” – Steve Dolan on his Deveronvale departure.
“Then we get three games into the season and there’s been this decision about my contract not being renewed and it is disappointing.
“I know Saturday (4-1 loss to Camelon Juniors in the Scottish Cup) was a bad result, do you look beyond Saturday? I’m not sure. But I’ve spoken to the chairman (Jim Mair) and there’s no ill-feeling between us.
“They’ve done what they think is right for the club, they’re the people that run the club, but of course when you lose a job you’re going to be disappointed.
“I could have stayed until the end of the season and seen my contract out, but if you’re not going to get a new contract for me you walk away and it gives the club and the next person time.
“There’s no complaints from me, I just hope the club moves forward because I’ve got the best interests of the club at heart.”
He said: “Craig is staying on for a bit and I hope he does well, personally I’d like to see Craig get the job.
“It will come down to what Craig wants to do and what the club want to do, but I’m sure things will go well for him.
“I had a good chat with Craig on Monday and I gave him my best wishes and told him there are no issues from my side if he wants to have a go at it and I’d like to see Craig get a chance at it.”
Dolan also thanked all the players who have worked under him during his spell as manager.
“I can’t fault the players’ efforts and I hope they kick on because they deserve to,” he said.
“The players have been brilliant and I’d like to thank all of them that I’ve had in my time.
“I messaged every player before it became public to thank them for their efforts because they’ve been incredible.
“They’re playing without wages, but even when they were getting wages they’re not highly paid players, but there’s not one of them moans or has come asking for more money.
“I think they deserve great credit for that because they maybe could have gone elsewhere and got more money.”