John Caulfield insists "the time is right" after it was confirmed he has parted ways with struggling Cork City.
Without a win in eight Premier Division games and just three points above the relegation zone, Caulfield’s position was discussed at a lengthy meeting of the FORAS board last night.
Following the 1-1 draw with Finn Harps on Monday night, Caulfield admitted it was a difficult time for him personally but insisted he was not considering his position.
Now, however, he says it is right to step away.
"I feel the time is right to part ways with the club," the 54-year-old said in a club statement.
"I would like to thank the players and backroom team for the huge success brought to the club since 2014. I wish everyone the best for the rest of the 2019 season and look forward to attending games as a supporter in the stands."
In a further statement this afternoon, the club's record appearance and goal scorer added:
"It’s with great sadness that my time at a truly great club, that I’ve had the privilege to serve for over 20 years of my life, has come to an end.
"I have loved every goal, every game, every win and every trophy as a player and as a manager at Cork City FC. There’s something truly special about Cork City FC and I thank you for letting me be part of it for so long, both as a player and manager.
"I have seen the club grow over the years and it was a pleasure to work with so many great players, coaches and people at the club."
Caulfield was appointed manager of City in November 2013 and they finished runners-up for the following three seasons before finally landing the SSE Airtricity League title in 2017.
The Rebel Army won two FAI Cups during his time in charge, in 2016 and 2017, and also reached the third qualifying round of the Europa League, but the team has struggled this season since the departures of Steven Beattie, Jimmy Keohane and Kieran Sadlier.
They have managed just three wins from their 14 league games and sit just three points and one place above the relegation zone.
The club will appoint an interim manager for the foreseeable future, including Friday night’s trip to Dalymount Park to take on Bohemians, while undertaking a recruitment process for a full-time replacement.
"Everyone at the club is hugely grateful for everything John Caulfield has done for the club, the city and Cork," chairman Declan Carey said.
"He holds every record as a player and a manager. He leaves the club with all of our best wishes and we look forward to welcoming John to Turner’s Cross in the future."