Title-winning manager Steve Hendy has returned to the dugout with Melton Town, just six months into a sabbatical from the game.
Hendy stepped down from Sileby Town at the end of last season, and turned down offers to work with Tony Thorpe at Town last summer as well as the vacant manager’s job at Holwell.
But he could not refuse a second invitation when Town came calling after the departure of Ross Perkins.
Hendy has been appointed co-manager, initially until the end of the season, but the club hope they can convince him to extend the stay in the summer.
“I wasn’t desperate to get back into management,” he said. “I loved it at Sileby, but it takes up your time.
“I had a few approaches, most of them from higher level clubs, but I was quite content to sit back and watch my lads play – at least I thought I was.
“It’s quite frustrating when you’re on the sidelines and think ‘I can help these lads’.
“Tony knows his stuff and likes to do things properly and I like to think I do as well so we should be a good partnership.”
Former Holwell team-mate Howard Eggleston, now vice-chairman with Melton, played a big part in bringing about the change of heart.
But Hendy is also motivated by a long-standing wish to lift the standard of football in his home town.
“They have a lot of good people up at Melton and I think they are very ambitious,” he added. “I can help them because I have contacts in the local scene.
“I think Melton is a project which needs to take off quickly so they can meet their ambitions.
“I played for Melton for three seasons and was part of a project when it began all those years ago.
“The idea then was that Melton should have a team competing with the likes of Grantham. By now Melton should be way ahead of where they are.”
Hendy’s roots in local football run deep. He was a defender for both Melton and Holwell in his playing days, and then became assistant manager to Geoff Gibbon during Holwell’s most successful-ever period in the late 1980s and early 90s.
“I could have taken the job at Holwell,” he said. “I get on well with the people up there and it wasn’t anything against the club, I just didn’t think it was the right time for me.
“I had a meeting with Graham Lewin (chairman) and gave it serious thought, but I just needed a break and probably needed a longer break than what I’ve had.”
Hendy managed at youth level for six years with Mowbray Rangers when his sons Mike and Matt came through the age groups, and then moved with them to Asfordby Amateurs Under 17s.
He spent a season there and then switched to Holwell’s Under 18s side where he oversaw a Leics Midweek League title win as well as a runners-up finish.
Most recently he guided Sileby to the Leics Senior League championship in 2014/15, pipping Melton to the title.
He narrowly failed to defend the crown last season, again finishing a place above Melton, but behind champions Birstall by two points.
Thorpe played under Hendy at Sileby following his retirement from the professional game and was keen to bring his former boss in when he took his first management job last summer.
“I played under Steve when I had a spell at Sileby and I like the way he works,” Thorpe said.
“His teams always had a fantastic work ethic with a great system and stability.
“With me being inexperienced at this level, it was important to bring in someone who had dealt with this level of football and who was pretty hands-on.
“I think our philosophies are very similar; we want a young, strong side.”