Craig Conway has bid an emotional farewell to the place he now calls 'home' as his five-and-a-half years as a Blackburn Rovers player comes to an end.
After announcing his decision on social media on Saturday night, we caught up with the popular Scottish star, who joined the club from Cardiff City in January 2014.
A model professional who always gave his all for the shirt, Conway went on to become a key figure both on the pitch and in the dressing room, making his 200th Rovers appearance in the final day fixture against Swansea City at Ewood Park earlier this month.
The midfielder was eager to pay tribute to the players, staff and supporters who he has developed a special relationship with during his time in Lancashire, as he gets ready to embark on a new chapter in his career with the best wishes of everyone connected with the club.
Here is our interview with the long-serving stalwart in full ...
They say that all good things must come to an end - how good have these last five-and-a-half years been for you and how much have you enjoyed your time at the club?
Craig: It's been amazing. I talked about the highs and lows, but I think there's been far more highs in my time at Blackburn Rovers. Genuinely, why it's been such a hard decision, was because I've enjoyed it so much. I love the club, I really took it to my heart. With the relegation, it was just brilliant to get the club back up, because I knew how much it really meant to people and how gutted everyone was about going down, the players included. That aside, I've really enjoyed the time that I've had and I've met a lot of amazing people. My kids have been brought up during the time that I've been here and we like to think of it as home now. That probably sums it up as much as anything. This is our home now and we want to stay here.
When you joined the club from Cardiff City in January 2014, having spent your entire career in Scotland and South Wales, did you ever envisage that you would develop such an affinity with the club and the local area?
Craig: Obviously when you sign for a club you go into it with an open mind and just see what happens and how it plays out, because you can never guarantee that it's going to be a success. Things did just seem to fall into place for me. When I turned up, I think any player would be impressed with the facilities. The training ground, the area where the training ground is is beautiful and then obviously the stadium speaks for itself. Once you see that as a player, I didn't really take much convincing when Gary Bowyer signed me. Pretty quickly we really enjoyed the area - I showed how committed I was by buying a house after six months, which is something I'd never done before in my career. So it was just perfect for us.
The people you've met along the way, the players you've played with, the managers and staff you've worked with - how big a part have they played in making your time with us so enjoyable and how much will you miss everyone?
Craig: The players, I've made a lot of mates that I will have forever. I've worked under some great managers and coaching staff, and some of them I still speak to. But I think overall the people at the training ground, it's been pretty much the same staff for a good few years, and the affinity I had with them. I got to know them really well. The likes of Lesley, Bev, Carl, Si and Lew, Yvonne, Sue, the two Harrys. It's such a tight-knit staff and literally every one of them I've got a good relationship with and I will still pop in and see them now that I've left. More so than at any other club, I've grown really close to the people that are in and around it.
You've also enjoyed some memorable moments at Ewood Park in front of the Rovers fans. What has their support meant to you?
Craig: I can genuinely say that I've always felt that I've had a really good relationship with the fans. When I think of some of the times at Ewood - the big crowds, the Manchester United game, a couple of the Burnley games - some of the atmospheres have been brilliant and I've been lucky enough that in the 200 games I've played, it's always been positive from the fans. The one thing that I can always say is I always pride myself on giving everything that I've got. Whether I'm playing well or not, I still give everything and I think that's what people probably appreciate.
To make your 200th appearance on the final day of the season against Swansea and to come on as captain to a great reception from the crowd, was that a fitting way to bring the curtain down on your time with us?
Craig: The way the day worked out, playing my 200th game and being captain, I think it was fitting. I had it in my head that I might be leaving, so I think it was the perfect way to bow out.
After announcing your decision on social media, how nice has it been to read all the positive comments, which clearly shows how well liked and respected you were by the fans?
Craig: I've been taken aback really with the amount of messages I've had. I've tried to go through them all, which I don't normally do, but in this instance, because of the situation, I've sat through and read them and it's been brilliant. The feedback has been amazing and the well-wishes from everybody is so much appreciated.
And finally, what does the future hold for Craig Conway? Is the aim simply to end your career by playing as much football as possible?
Craig: That's pretty much it. I haven't got anything sorted yet. Without going into it too much, I had some long conversations with the manager, who has been brilliant to be fair, and I just felt that I wanted to play a lot of games and I wasn't sure that I could do that here, which I've got no problem with whatsoever. I want to try and play as many games as I can. When I look back at my career, I really want to say that I gave it everything and I tried to play as many games as I could. I couldn't sit and not play. I feel that I have a better opportunity to go and play, so I want to do that. I don't want to have any regrets when I look back on my career, so I feel that it's the right thing for me to do. I'm genuinely gutted to leave, but for everybody, I think it's the right thing for me to move on.
From everyone at Blackburn Rovers, thank you and good luck!