BRIAN FLYNN promised to stay in football last night after his 12-year reign as Wrexham manager was brought to an end.
Flynn's claim to be the third longest-serving league manager after Crewe's Dario Gradi and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United was ended when he left the club by mutual consent yesterday afternoon.
With the club stuck in the second division relegation zone after Friday's 5-0 hammering at Tranmere, Flynn and assistant Kevin Reeves - who announced last week that they would be leaving at the end of the season - felt they had taken Wrexham as far as possible.
"We are sad to be leaving because we have made many friends here," said Flynn.
"We have had some fantastic times and we have got memories that will stay with us all our lives.
"Hopefully we have left something behind that someone else will improve upon.
"We have tried to be as professional as we can but it is a sad day for us both. We have just wanted to leave in the correct manner and wish the club well for the future."
Flynn succeeded Dixie McNeil in November 1989 and re-built morale at the club after it had finished bottom of the old Fourth Division in a season when relegation to the Conference was not in operation.
Having created one of the greatest FA Cup shocks of all-time by beating league champions Arsenal in January 1992, Wrexham won promotion at the end of the 1992-93 season.
On modest resources, Flynn turned Wrexham into an attractive Second Division outfit that punched above its weight in the top half of the league.
The club narrowly missed out on the play-offs several times and, in 1997, Wrexham reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, losing to Second Division rivals Chesterfield.
Still, Wrexham continued to carry the tag of cup giant-killers and Middlesbrough were added to the Premiership scalps of Arsenal, West Ham and Ipswich in December 1999.
But unrest in the boardroom and the departure of key players this summer left Flynn with little to work with.
Despite a pre-season testimonial against Manchester United that rewarded the endeavour of Flynn and Reeves, the writing was on the wall.
Shrewsbury manager Kevin Ratcliffe, the former Wales captain, is the early favourite to succeed Flynn with the bookmakers.
But Ian Rush, Terry Yorath, Neville Southall, Jan Molby, Barry Horne, Graham Barrow and John Aldridge all remain highly fancied.