Nathan Jones has told seagulls.co.uk that leaving Brighton & Hove Albion for the job as manager of Luton Town was the hardest decision of his football career.
Jones agreed to become boss of the League Two club on Wednesday evening, ending his second spell with the club after two-and-a-half seasons as assistant manager and first-team coach, and admitted the lure of being a manager in his own right was too strong to ignore.
He said, "It has been an unbelievable time since I came back and the club have really looked after me. It's been a pleasure to work for the club and a wrench to have to make this decision, but I'm at a stage now that I feel I'm ready to make that next step.
"I always knew that Brighton was an unbelievable club, and it's the people who make it that. We have a fantastic stadium, a fantastic training ground, but it's the people - from the chairman right the way down to the chefs, the ground staff and the cleaners - that's the thing I will really miss."
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Jones also thanked Oscar Garcia, Sami Hyypia and Chris Hughton - the three managers he worked for since his return to the club in the summer of 2013 - along with chairman Tony Bloom and chief executive Paul Barber for the initial opportunity and subsequent guidance both have provided.
"I've learned so much from all three managers I have worked with. I was very close to Oscar when he was here and I learned a lot from him, I got close with Sami and it was a shame with how things went, but ultimately through that journey I got to meet and work with Chris.
"I have taken so much from Chris and learned a lot by working for him. It would've been easy for Chris not to have trusted me as much as he has, because I had ambitions to be manager myself, but I found quickly that I wanted to work for him.
"He's a really good man, an excellent manager and I know that the club will do well under him, and the staff he has brought in like Colin Calderwood and Ben Roberts. Chris has done a superb job, and I really hope the club can go on and make that final step this season.
"The chairman and Paul Barber have been amazing to me. First of all, they gave me the opportunity. Tony Bloom is Brighton & Hove Albion through and through; he's understated and not in your face. He’s a very low-key chairman, and that makes him a fantastic chairman.
"I loved working for him and I owe him a big thank you because he's given me a big opportunity. Together with Paul Barber, they have guided me through the three years.
"It's been great working for them and Paul is a top-level chief executive. He's got the club into a great position, and he handles things in an exemplary fashion.
"He's given me advice and 99% of the time I've taken it. I have not always wanted to, but I have taken the advice. It's been good advice, I have a fantastic relationship with both of them and I'd like to thank the both of them for the trust that they've given me."
Jones also thanked Albion's fans for their support, adding, "I would like to thank everyone for the way they’ve treated me at this club, and for all the messages they have sent to me now that I’ve gone - but more than anything, for making this club what it is.
"The fans know that I have a lot of passion, that passion drives me and I am sure they see that. The club is in my heart and it always will be, and I wish the club and everyone connected with it all the best."
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