Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton has left his role at the club, one year after guiding the side to the League One play-off final.
The former Oxford United boss oversaw close to 150 games in charge of Lincoln City, and tasked with the unenviable job of replacing Danny Cowley as manager of the Imps, he managed to create some wonderful memories.
His most notable achievement was guiding Lincoln to the League One play-off final last season, where the Imps were defeated 2-1 by Blackpool at Wembley Stadium.
This season has taken on a different feel, however, with a series of injury problems throughout the squad, the loss of last season’s stars – and not to mention the personal toll taken from his cancer diagnosis last summer.
The announcement of Appleton’s departure was made following Lincoln City’s final League One match of the season, a 2-1 victory over Crewe Alexandra that ensured a 17th place finish.
Despite the difficult moments this season, Appleton has managed to guide Lincoln City to safety, meaning they will play a fourth consecutive season in the third tier for just the second time since World War Two.
Appleton said: “It has been a privilege to manage Lincoln City over the past three seasons. While this season did not match the highs of the last, we have still had some memorable performances and results.
“Clive Nates and the board, the players and all the staff throughout the club, have been fantastic colleagues over the past three years and I thank them all for their backing.
“I am sure they will continue to drive the club forward on and off the pitch with some really impressive foundations in place for the coming years.
“I would like to thank all of the supporters who have got behind me and the team. Lincoln City is a special club which will always be close to my heart.”
City chairman Clive Nate’s added: “Everyone at the club is grateful for Michael’s contribution as manager, none of us will forget last season and the run to the play-off final which so nearly saw us reach the second tier for the first time in 60 years.
“Michael has played a big role in our continued growth on and off the pitch since joining us, helping to build a squad with real potential including players from our Academy.
“I have enjoyed every opportunity to spend time with Michael, although it has been limited due to travel restrictions during Covid. He is a great person, straight talking and very knowledgeable about the game.
“During our conversations over the past few weeks, it became abundantly clear to us both that this summer was a good time for him to look for a challenge elsewhere and for us to find someone to build on his work over the past three years.
“There was no fallout and no need for either side to make the decision for the other. He leaves with our total respect, our best wishes and an open invitation to visit the LNER Stadium at any time in future.”