Warren Feeney admits it was a “tough decision” to part company with Linfield to become assistant manager at Newport County.
Feeney’s resignation was confirmed on Tuesday night following a meeting with Linfield’s team management committee at Windsor Park.
The 34-year-old former Northern Ireland striker will be John Sheridan’s number two at Newport – who currently sit bottom of Sky Bet League Two.
Feeney – who rejected the offer of a new two-year contract on Tuesday night – took over as Linfield manager in April last year before leading the Blues to a second-place finish in the Danske Bank Premiership in his debut season.
He leaves the club currently top of the Premiership table – two points ahead of champions Crusaders after 10 games.
Assistant manager Andy Todd and coach Alfie Wylie will now manage first team affairs in the interim period.
“It is disappointing to leave such a great club like Linfield,” Feeney told the News Letter on Tuesday night.
“Meeting the players tonight was one of the toughest things I have had to do. They are a fantastic bunch of lads who can go on and succeed this season.
“But sometimes you have to be selfish in football, and this opportunity at Newport was too good to turn down.
“It is more than a football decision. My wife and four kids all live in the Newport area so logistically it is an ideal job for me.
“I will also be working in the Football League in England which is a great opportunity for me.
“I have worked hard to get an opportunity like this.”
Linfield chairman Jim Kerr added: “It is a very sad day for Linfield Football Club.
“The club offered Warren an improved contract, but he said his decision wasn’t based on money. His family lives near Newport and he has four young children, so that is a big factor in his decision.
“Linfield have progressed enormously under Warren. He now feels it is the time to take up the offer of full-time football.”
Kerr added: “We were extremely keen to keep Warren. We offered him an improved two-year contract extension. But we respect his decision.”