Axed Port Adelaide coach Matthew Primus said it was a "dream come true" to coach the team where he had served as both a player and captain for so long.
But it's become a nightmare for the former ruckman who was sacked on Monday, a victim of an underperforming and inconsistent squad.
"The journey hasn't gone according to plan. I wanted to coach this club for another 10 years if I could," he said.
"I wanted to be here for a long time. Unfortunately, that won't happen."
But Primus, a foundation player with Port in 1997, said he still believed the Power had a bright future and urged long-suffering supporters and sponsors to stick with the club.
"Now we really need you, not just in the next couple of months but in the coming years," he said.
Primus took over as Port Adelaide coach towards the end of the 2010 season when Mark Williams quit.
He guided the side to four wins from their last five games that year, earning a two-year contract that is due to expire at the end of this season.
But that early promise seemed to evaporate in 2011 as the side plunged to second last with just three wins.
Port showed improvement in 2012, but not enough to convince the Port board to take up the option of sticking with Primus for a third year.
The last straw was the side's embarrassing performance against Greater Western Sydney on Saturday when the Giants inflicted a 34-point drubbing.
"How we played at the weekend, I really don't know where that came from," Primus said.
"But the players have acknowledged that."
Primus will leave Port with a less-than-impressive record, taking the side to just 13 wins from 47 games, but wants to continue coaching at AFL level.
And if he leaves the Power, angry at how he's been treated, then he's keeping it to himself.
"The club has given me a huge amount. For that, I will always be in debt to them," he said.
"I maintain this club is on an exciting journey - it's full of promise.
"But I won't be here to enjoy that journey."