Former Northern Ireland star Stephen Robinson has spoken about his pride in the job he did at Motherwell, revealed why he felt it was time to leave and discussed what the future holds, outlining that he could be open to offers to coach or manage abroad.
Robinson resigned from the Motherwell manager's job last month, leaving behind a highly impressive body of work. In charge since March 2017, the Lisburn native took the Fir Park outfit to the Scottish Cup and League Cup finals in his first full season at the helm and last term guided the club to a stunning third spot in the Scottish Premiership and a place in Europe.
All the while the 46-year-old delivered magic moments to the fans on one of the lowest budgets in the league, developing a host of young players such as David Turnbull, James Scott and Cedric Kipre and selling them on for millions of pounds.
This season was tough, with Motherwell struggling at the wrong end of the table. Rather than outstaying his welcome at Fir Park, ex-Oldham boss Robinson opted to resign at the end of December, believing he had taken the club as far as he could.
Asked how he reflected on almost four years as boss of the Steelmen, Robinson told the Belfast Telegraph: "I look back on my time at Motherwell with pride. Motherwell is one of the smaller clubs in Scotland and when I took over we were in a relegation battle.
"We kept Motherwell up and then the following season we reached two cup finals (losing both to Brendan Rodgers' Celtic).
"The season after that we started introducing lots of young players and brought through David Turnbull (now Celtic), who we sold for £3.2m, and James Scott (now Hull), who we sold for £1.5m. Then last season we finished third and got to Europe.
"Everybody remembers the third-place finish and the cup finals, but I think the highlight for me was the development of the players. The number of players that we brought in and who would then be chased by other clubs and sold was incredible.
"We paid one transfer fee for a player which was £15,000 for Trevor Carson. We didn't pay any kind of money for anyone yet we were able to sell Louis Moult for £500,000, Cedric Kipre for £1m and Jake Hastie for £400,000. The list goes on.
"Probably my biggest buzz was getting players in who weren't playing at League One and League Two level in England and moving them on to bigger and better clubs and life-changing moves. It was a case of helping people on their way and in between using their development to Motherwell's advantage to help the club.
"The people, staff and coaches I worked with were fantastic, and it is a brilliant football club. There were ups and downs but it was never going to be a straight path at Motherwell because there are financial issues and the infrastructure isn't quite there to keep improving and keep developing," added the ex-Bournemouth and Luton midfielder, who coached under current Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough at Motherwell in 2015 and was a vital member of Michael O'Neill's staff before and during Euro 2016.
At the end of every campaign he was at Fir Park, Robinson's top guns would be cherry picked by other clubs, meaning he had a constant rebuilding job to do.
That wasn't helped by a catalogue of injuries this season and the uncertainty of Covid, which at one stage saw Motherwell awarded two 3-0 wins against St Mirren and Kilmarnock after they failed to fulfil games, only for the points to be taken away on appeal.
On his New Year's Eve exit, Robinson, who won seven caps for Northern Ireland during his own playing days, stated: "I think it had been in my mind for a little while. At Motherwell you build a wall and get it knocked back down every season or every Christmas.
"By that I mean the squad you put together gets broken up every year because you can't afford to put players on longer contracts and give them more wages. When they have a little bit of success they want more money, so they go to another club.
"It was very difficult to take the club further than where we reached. I had that in my mind for a few months. We didn't get off to a great start this season and a lot of things transpired against us, like injury problems for Liam Donnelly, Trevor Carson and other important players.
"It got to the stage where it was draining. Covid was also a horrible situation to manage in. There was no momentum.
"I stopped enjoying it for a little while and I thought maybe it was time to move on. I'd been there on and off nearly seven years from when I went in as assistant manager with Ian Baraclough. It got to a stage where I just thought in management you can stay three or four years max and then it becomes diluted.
"I needed a new challenge and it was right for me and the football club. I wanted to get to the stage where I was 100 per cent sure in my mind, and that came over the final month where I thought this was the time for me to go, get a break and refresh myself and be ready to go again."
So what's next for the much-respected Robinson, who was interviewed for the Northern Ireland manager's job last year?
"I am open to anything," he said. "I have worked at every role, whether it's youth football, developing young players, coaching and first-team management.
"I will look anywhere, and that includes abroad. I don't want to limit myself but it has to be the right football club and the right opportunity. There are a lot of clubs now where I don't have what I had at Motherwell, super people that allowed me to run the football club from top to bottom. That is a rarity now.
"I look at Michael O'Neill at Stoke and he was very careful about when he left Northern Ireland, how he left and which club he went to. When I spoke to him about it, the reasons he left for Stoke were because he was able to manage the club from top to bottom and work with very good owners. That is important. You have to have a chance of success because it is such a cut-throat business, and I will be careful."
Given his reputation in Scotland, there is every chance he will land another job there.
"I think Scottish football has improved in recent years," said Robinson.
"The product is very good. People like Neil Lennon, Steven Gerrard, Brendan Rodgers and Derek McInnes managing in Scotland has raised the profile of Scottish football. Some of the decision making from the hierarchy in Scotland is incredible at times and I don't think that helps the perception of it, so hopefully that will improve, but on the whole Scottish football is on the up."
Stephen Robinson has played his part in that.