Former-Carlisle boss Greg Abbott admitted to being overwhelmed by the welcome he received on his return to Brunton Park on Saturday as he took a place in the boardroom and the directors’ box for the home game against Macclesfield Town.
Speaking about the visit after the game, he said: “I’d like to say thank you to everybody for making me feel so welcome.
“It was fantastic of Andrew [Jenkins] and John [Nixon] to invite me in to the boardroom and it was lovely to see so many friendly faces again.
“I met some really good people during my time at the club and they’ve all kept in touch, which I think is fantastic.
“The other nice thing about the day was that I was able to see the team play at a time when the club is obviously on the up again. They’re competing at the right end of the table and that’s all the fans here have ever wanted. It’s really pleasing to see.”
And on the welcome he received from the fans, he added: “The reaction on social media when they heard I was going to be at the game was typical of Cumbrian people.
“It was a tough time when I left the club, that’s why managers tend to move on, but this week has confirmed to me what decent people they all are. It also helps to get rid of a lot of demons because I know the fans really wanted me to do well through my time as manager.
"It does affect you when you aren't getting the results they want because, as an individual, you just want to deliver for them. Seeing them up close this week reminded me how much they did get behind me, even with the disappointment we all felt at the end.
“It must have taken nearly half an hour to get from my car to reception when I arrived because so many people wanted to know how I was doing and how I was getting on with my health.
“I know a lot of people saw me as a tough character, but I’m actually quiet an emotional person and it can be overwhelming, and it does put a lump in your throat when something like this happens.”
“I think I’ve said a number of times before that I loved my time at Carlisle United,” he continued. “We have some really good memories, and we battled together through some difficult periods.
“I genuinely wish John [Sheridan] and Tommy [Wright] all the very best because they’re doing a superb job.
“Obviously my new role means that my thoughts will be with Mansfield Town next weekend, but it would the perfect end to the season if both clubs were to go up come May.”
And on the new role as head of football operations at Field Mill, he said: “I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into the job.
“It’s a club that has invested a lot in trying to become successful recently and everything is geared towards getting the job done this season.
“Having seen what Shez is doing here, I know next Saturday is going to be a tough game. It’ll be two sides who like to attack and it’s one where whoever takes the chances will go on to win the game.”
Chairman Andrew Jenkins said: “We all enjoyed seeing Greg again. He’s always an upbeat and lively character and it was nice to see him looking so fit and well.
“It’s the way these things seem to happen that he got his new job having already agreed to come to visit us, and we wish him every success in his new role at Mansfield.
“He had a good time with us when he was our first team manager, and made a lot of friends, and he’ll always be made to feel very welcome.”