It was time for Mickey Harte to go. The valedictory date - November 13 - was therefore theatrically poignant.
ymmetrical with his promotion to the role of Tyrone senior football manager 18 years ago, it felt like an ideal, if anticlimactic, bookend to a wonderful career.
The wee man in the white polo shirt will be remembered with respect and fondness long after the awkward, unseemly truncation of his remarkable reign is forgotten.
As with any relationship spanning decades, there is no satisfactory way of ending things.
It's rare that 'mutual consent' means just that.
The Errigal Ciaran clubman's recent request for a one-year extension to the deal he signed three years ago suggested he was more than keen for the status quo to continue.
The initial tepid response, subsequent prevarication and ultimate rejection of that request by the county management committee was a clear indication that the two parties were not on the same page.
Mickey could have gone through the ignominy of having to re-apply for his own job. He might even have been successful - as the first man to bring 'Sam' to his home county, he certainly had an unparalleled CV.
But he did the right thing by walking away after 30 years as the most influential member the county's coaching staff ever had.
It was far from ideal, and no doubt Harte felt frustrated that his last season in charge had been lacerated by the pandemic.
A final, full-term campaign, played out in front of the packed terraces he'd become used to, was the curtain call Mickey desired, and probably felt he deserved, although it felt a little like romantic sentimentality overshadowing pragmatism.
But everything ends badly, otherwise... well, you know the rest. And if anyone could bring dignity to such a graceless and unsatisfactory parting of the ways, however, it's Mickey.
The way he dealt with the globally-reported tragedy that befell him, his wife Marion and their sons Mark, Michael and Matthew almost 10 years ago was universally moving.
With that unimaginable catastrophe - the senseless murder of his beloved daughter Michaela on her Mauritius honeymoon, allied to the sudden deaths of 18-year-old Paul McGirr in 1997 and 24-year-old Cormac McAnallen in 2004 - in mind, 'feeling sorry' for the devoutly religious Harte following the closure of this latest chapter would be out of kilter, reeking of insincerity and bordering on the ridiculous.
I'm no expert in gaelic games but it's clear that - and if you'll forgive the mixing of sporting metaphors - he had a good innings at Tyrone, winning All-Irelands at minor, under-21 level and senior level.
This is the man who brought vivid, glorious reality to what other Tyrone folk had merely dared to dream for over a century.
Memories of his third Sam Maguire success faded, however, in correlation with simmering criticism as 12 years came and went without another all-Ireland but with frequent accusations of increasingly negative tactics.
Harte's latest Red Hands incarnation were 'knocking on the door' again in 2017, 2018 and 2019 but the semi-final loss to Kerry last year - which felt like one of those 'now or never' moments - was clearly gutting for Harte.
Not only that, but his hitherto cosy relationship with sections of the media had morphed into fractious. There are, for instance, quite a few at RTE who won't be mourning his departure.
"Is success only about winning trophies?" Harte asked on Friday, the day he called it quits and two weeks after Tyrone's season ended with defeat by Donegal in an Ulster championship game which, for me, they really should have won.
(With no qualifier rounds played due to Covid-19, it was the first time in 20 years the county had exited after just one game.)
It's a fair question if you're someone like, say, the highly-rated Mauricio Pochettino who is odds-on favourite to become the next Manchester United manager even though he's a virgin when it comes to silverware.
It's a different story, however, when your supporters have tasted the finest champagne and are now feeling relatively parched.
(Sir Alex Ferguson did it the other way round; a four-year famine followed by a feast.)
By leading Tyrone to those glory days of 2003, 2005 and 2008, Harte, like other bosses who achieved unprecedented success early in their tenures, made a rod for his own back.
The classic example in 'soccer' is Arsenal's Arsene Wenger who, like Harte, was aged 68 when the curtain came down on his 22-year reign. Like Harte, Wenger secured the blue riband domestic title three times in his first few years, en route to becoming his club's longest-serving and most successful boss.
And, like the now ex-Tyrone manager, he spent the final two thirds of his tenure trying in vain to recreate the magic.
It wasn't as if either man could be classed a failure during the so-called barren years - Wenger won four more FA Cups (out of seven) and led the Gunners to a Champions League final while overseeing the development of a stunning new stadium.
Harte, meanwhile, won four of his six Ulster titles after the third all-Ireland triumph and, for the past three seasons, Tyrone have finished as Ulster's top-ranked county regardless of who the provincial champions were.
But Arsenal fans were glad to see the back of Wenger.
And I suspect Tyrone supporters - and players - despite their respect and appreciation for everything the slight, bestubbled man with the glasses has achieved, will be looking to the future with few lingering regrets about what has just unfolded.
The fortunes or otherwise of whoever succeeds this legendary figure will not negate the righteousness of the decision.
I remember speaking to Roy Coyle, the most successful boss in Irish League history, shortly after his shock 1990 departure following 15 trophy-laden years in charge of Linfield.
Had he been sacked? Resigned? Was it 'mutual'? His reply: "I think, at the end of the day, we had just grown sick of the sight of each other."