It wasn’t too much of a surprise that Alan Dowson announced his resignation as Kingstonian manager over the weekend.
The Geordie has dropped hints for more than a year that his time at Kingsmeadow was nearing its end – even though he signed a one-year extension to his deal last October.
Dowson put his heart and soul into Kingstonian, not only on the pitch, but representing the club in the community.
There is little wonder he feels he needs a break, but, once he is refreshed, there will be no shortage of clubs hoping he can have the same kind of impact on them as he has on Ks.
Until Dowson’s appointment in 2007, the noughties had seen Kingstonian suffer their very own boom and bust.
The FA Trophy triumphs in 1999 and 2000 and the run to the fourth round of the FA Cup the following season seemed light years away by the middle of the decade.
Ks had gone through a string of managers as well as the disastrous (for the club, anyway) spell when the club was owned by Rajesh Khosla, who sold and pocketed the proceeds from the sale of the ground while forcing the club to operate on a shoestring.
Happy times: Celebrations in the Ks dug out en route to winning Ryman Division One South
It was not surprising that Ks struggled on the pitch, but having ushered in a new era off the pitch, co-chairman Malcolm Winwright and Mark Anderson have been richly rewarded for putting their faith in the then 36-year-old Dowson to restore fortunes on it.
Following on from similar success at nearby Walton & Hersham, Dowson quickly brought a feel-good factor back to the club, winning promotion in his first full season in charge.
It is fair to say life in the Ryman Premier League has been more frustrating. Ks have always been in the upper echelons, but it is a desperately difficult league to get out of – with just one automatic place up for grabs plus one spot for the play-off winners.
Disappointed does not come close to describing how the former Bradford and Darlington defender appeared after a single goal defeat by Hornchurch dashed their promotion hopes in a play-off semi-final at the end of April.
But if you judge a manager on leaving a club in a better state than you found it, Dowson has been a resounding success. He will be a tough act to follow.