Nobody wanted it to end this way.

For a period it seemed like we had done it, we had got a manager in at Chester FC who was worthy to carry on the superb foundations laid by Neil Young's treble-winning heroics.

In December we were riding the crest of a wave under Jon McCarthy, vying for the play-offs against all odds with a manager who understood the model and appeared to get the very best out of a side pieced together on a limited budget.

But once it started unravelling we were only ever heading for one outcome. This one.

When McCarthy was handed his contract extension, while some raised eyebrows at the length of his deal there was no doubt that the news was warmly welcomed - including by myself.

Those Solihull Moors defeats around the turn of the New Year saw Chester spiral out of control and tumble down the division before eventually staying up by just two points.

There were reasons behind it. The departure of Ian Sharps to Walsall, injuries and suspensions, all played their part in a season that had promised so much turning to dust.

But the performances at Maidstone United and Sutton United last year were among the worst I have witnessed in 25 years of supporting the Blues and it's hard to remember a more miserable season finale when you hadn't been relegated than the 2-0 loss to Boreham Wood in April. Ominous signs.

McCarthy’s summer recruitment had to be good to buy him some time this season.

And with the likes of Ross Hannah, Paul Turnbull and Kingsley James all arriving there was a sense that maybe he could turn things around and be the manager we all hoped he would be.

With the biggest budget since reforming McCarthy went for quality over quantity. A bold move.

A decent first half showing against AFC Fylde was followed by some pretty turgid stuff from Chester. Negative and uninspiring, fans were getting restless - and with good reason.

No home wins in 14 attempts - over nine months - and just seven points from a possible 42 on offer is, whatever obstacles may have presented themselves, wholly unacceptable and enough to cost even the most popular of managers his job.

The board had to act. They have been left with no choice, although the cost of terminating the contract of McCarthy is sure to be a headache.

It seems ironic that Solihull Moors, the team we faced when the bad run started, should be the team to bring about an end to McCarthy’s reign. It had to, though. It was a match that had all the hallmarks of the end game.

He didn’t cope well with the pressure placed on his shoulders and his interviews never did him too many favours. The pressure told, though, and it manifested itself and he looked like he had passed the point of no return with many fans.

It has to be said, though, from dealing with him on a daily basis for the past 18 months that he was a good man who desperately wanted to do well for the football club.

It didn’t work out and it went on for too long but there was never any doubt in my mind he thought he could turn it around, but the longer it went on the more obvious it was that it simply wasn’t going to be the case.

There were those very brief moments early on where we thought we had it right but, sadly, it was not to be.

What’s done is done and now this squad must move forward with a new man at the helm who can get them playing again.

Whoever comes in must have experience and be able to restore some belief and help repair some damage that has been done between fans and club.

The way it has ended has left a bad taste in the mouth and the relationship between manager and media had become strained but he believed in what he was doing and what the football club stands for. Of that there is no doubt.

It’s a results business, though, and results simply weren’t good enough.