Former Northern Ireland striker Warren Feeney says he left OFC Pirin Blagoevgrad with his head held high and proud of his achievements after parting company with the Bulgarian club.
Feeney was manager of Pirin for two years, having been appointed in 2019, and worked wonders to inspire the side to promotion to the top flight last season.
The 40-year-old ex-Linfield boss was lauded by Pirin’s fans for that and says the experience of working abroad will benefit him in his career in the future.
Pirin declared that Feeney’s departure was “by mutual consent” and came this week with the team second bottom in the table.
“I have learned in two years in Bulgaria what might take me six years in England between dealing with players, budgets, different cultures, training, nutrition and tactics,” Feeney told the Belfast Telegraph.
“The experience of managing abroad has really helped me. I have had to adapt to certain situations and it has been great for my own development.
“Winning the title and earning promotion to the top flight of Bulgarian football was a stand-out moment and fantastic for the club.
“I would say it was probably the proudest moment I’ve had in football because it meant so much to so many people. From a personal point of view, going to a different country and winning a Championship medal was great for me. I made good friends in Bulgaria and left with my head held high.”
Feeney is well regarded across the water and was offered a job in England two months ago but for now he is content to be back home in Northern Ireland with his family and keen to spend time with them and watch Irish League matches before Christmas.
When the festive season is over, the ex-striker, who played with Luton, Bournemouth, Cardiff and Dundee United among others, will consider his next move. He has not ruled out another stint abroad but a post closer to home would be preferable.
“I’m going to recharge my batteries and take in some games in the Irish League,” said Feeney, who left Ards to go to Bulgaria. “Then I will look at going again. In football you never know what will happen. When one door closes another opens.”