Avram Grant has paved the way to becoming West Ham's new manager by resigning from Portsmouth.
The Israeli won widespread praise for the way he led the club amid financial turmoil which resulted in administration, but was unable to save them from relegation from the Premier League.
He did, though, guide Pompey to an FA Cup final appearance. That game proved to be Grant's last in charge, and he is now expected to be appointed as Gianfranco Zola's successor at Upton Park.
The Italian parted company with the Hammers last week.
Grant explained his decision to resign in an emotional open letter to fans on the club's official website.
"This was one of the most difficult decisions I've had to take in my football career. After a lot of soul searching and under the circumstances I'm taking a different direction," Grant said.
"It's been both a difficult and complex year for us at the club, but at the same time, it's been a wonderful and uplifting professional and personal experience.
"I have been inundated with letters and emails from fans. Many have brought tears to my eyes and take it from me; it takes a lot to do that. I will never forget you, the loyal fans of Pompey who, without a doubt, helped me protect the team under such complex circumstances.
"There are very few teams in the world that have fans as passionate and devoted as you are. Seeing you all so proud with your heads held up high is the best reward I can receive.
"It has been a great experience to be part of one of the most wonderful occurrences that has happened in the history of British football and also shows that even in the most desperate times, loyalty, devotion, professionalism and passion can be demonstrated. I wish you all the possible success which you genuinely deserve."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.