Mickey Harte admits he is 'disappointed' not to be granted the opportunity to lead Tyrone for one more season after the county's management committee turned down his request.
The legendary manager stood down last night after 18 years and, this morning, in a statement released through Tyrone county board, he explained how he desired another year in charge to 'compensate' for the missed opportunity of 2020's Covid-19 impacted season.
He expressed his gratitude for the 30 years he had at the helm of Tyrone inter-county teams and paid tribute to the supporters and all the players who performed on the teams under him.
Harte felt the coronavirus delay this year saw the 2020 season "thrown into disarray" and following the defeat to Donegal in the Ulster SFC, he described the year as a "missed opportunity".
"Accordingly I requested to continue for another season to compensate for this missed opportunity to complete my final term in more normal circumstances. Unfortunately this request was not granted by the Tyrone management committee," said Harte.
"Although I am disappointed, this feeling is far outweighed by one of immense gratitude for having had the privilege of managing Tyrone at minor, U21 and senior level for the last thirty years.
"I will be forever indebted to the fantastic people of Tyrone, and indeed Gaels across the entire globe. Through the various highs and lows, my family and I have been supported by so many good people from all backgrounds and communities."
Harte praised the "dedication and commitment to the Tyrone cause" of the players he managed, his backroom teams and the county board.
He also thanked the fans who cheered them to three All-Ireland titles, in 2003, 2005 and 2008, as well as six Ulster titles, and wished the teams the best for the future.
"To the supporters of Tyrone, inside and outside the county, thank you for your loyalty and know that you were always at the forefront of our collective desire to succeed," he said.
"To my family, who afforded me the time to dedicate myself to this role, it wouldn’t have been possible without your unwavering support – thank you.
"I am blessed to have had the good health to be on the side-line for every game bar one in all of those 30 years.
"Tyrone football has given me so much and I sincerely wish all Tyrone teams continued success in the future."
Four management positions are due to become vacant and subsequently filled in the coming weeks. These include the senior, U20 and minor football posts, along with the senior hurling position, which were all renewed for three-year terms in late 2017 and expire at the end of this season.
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