Peterhead manager Jim McInally insisted he couldn’t walk away from something he loves.
The Blue Toon boss will continue in his role after leading the club to the League Two title this season.
After clinching the championship by beating Queen’s Park 2-0 at Hampden a fortnight ago, McInally has taken some time to think about his future.
Following discussions with Balmoor chairman Rodger Morrison and vice-chairman Ian Grant, Scotland’s longest-serving manager will be in the dugout in League One next season.
In his only interview since deciding to carry on, McInally, who was appointed in October 2011, told the Evening Express: “A lot of people don’t understand the arrangement I have with the club.
“When I went to Peterhead I signed a contract of employment and I think that was a three-month contract and I haven’t signed anything since.
“I think it’s testament to my relationship with Rodger and Ian that I’ve never needed a contract.
“I haven’t asked for one and they haven’t needed to offer me one.
“We’ve got total trust in each other and that’s massive. To get the support from the board that I get is fantastic.
“The other part of it for me is that when you’ve been in charge for almost 350 games you have an affinity for the place and the club.
“In my career I would say I was a Dundee United player, that’s where my heart was as a player.
“As a manager my heart is in Peterhead. It’s not easy to walk away from that, especially after the last day of the season we had.
“To see so many supporters coming down from Peterhead and enjoying winning the league was fantastic.
“It’s not easy to walk away from something you really love and Peterhead is in my blood, so I couldn’t walk away.”
McInally has been uncomfortable speculation around his future, saying that he wanted to reflect on this season.
He added: “I think it’s fair to say if we hadn’t got promoted there’s no doubt I wouldn’t have been here.
“Not because I would have been sacked, but I would have accepted it wasn’t good enough not getting promoted.
“But because we won it people asked the question about what I wanted to do. That’s not been something I’ve been comfortable with because I don’t think it’s that important.
“It’s made out to be this big decision – which it’s not.
“It’s just about doing what’s right for the club and for me.
“The feeling after the Queen’s Park game was brilliant and I wanted to enjoy winning a title.
“I spoke to Rodger and Ian, as we always do, and we spoke about the way forward and the next challenge.
“A lot of people don’t realise that the relationship we have means that we speak a lot about a lot of things,
“Steve Clarke said the other day that ‘football management is not to be enjoyed’ and I could totally relate to everything he said.
“But when you look back and reflect on the season you’ve had you can enjoy it.
“Then you’ve got to think ahead to the next challenge and that’s what you’ve got to do as a manager.
“Rodger and Ian said it was time to look at the next challenge that we’ve got being back in League One.
“When I reflected on everything and the advice I got it felt it was right to carry on.
“I’m sure there will be some supporters who will be disappointed, but I’m staying.
“I haven’t enjoyed always being asked the question about whether I was staying or going, but it’s over now.”