The first person Jimmy Ryan texted after his initial chat at Scunthorpe United was Stanley boss John Coleman – and the midfielder admitted the close ties he had at Accrington made it a wrench to leave.
The 22-year-old was the first to admit that he owes a lot to Coleman, who helped to resurrect Ryan’s career after the former Liverpool Youth Cup winner was released by Shrewsbury in 2008 and was contemplating a life outside football.
But Accrington gave Ryan a stage to attract the interest of new club Scunthorpe and he says Stanley will always have a place in his heart and he owes a huge debt of gratitude to Coleman and Jimmy Bell.
"I knew Scunthorpe were interested in me through my agent after the season finished and then it all happened really quickly," said Ryan who scored 10 goals last season and was offered a new two-year deal at Stanley.
"But I kept Coley informed every step of the way as I knew I owed him that much.
"He obviously didn’t want me to leave but he was also pleased for me.
"As a footballer you always want to challenge yourself and now I have the chance to play in League One against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Preston.
"But I love Accrington, I would say my three years there were the happiest time of my football career, and that includes my time at Liverpool as well. When I came to Accrington I didn’t even know if I would have a career playing football as I was on a low after leaving Shrewsbury.
"But John and Jimmy told me to come down and have a go and instilled confidence into me and the lads and I have never looked back.
"They have improved me as a player and I will never forget that."
He continued: "I am gutted to leave – and it seems odd saying that – as the lads are all great and the fans were always superb with me.
"I hope the fans don’t think I have done the dirty on the club as it wasn’t like that, the club has been great with me.
"But you have got to have ambitions. The opportunity came at the right time for me and I wasn’t sure if the chance would ever come again."
Ryan admitted there were too many highs in his three years at the Crown Ground to even remember.
"It’s been one big high,"¿he added. "When I think back, I remember the huge cup games against Newcastle and Fulham and then the play-offs would have been a high point if we had won but I must admit they are something I want to forget now but I have loved it."
Ryan will get a swift return to the Crown Ground with his new club in the Carling Cup first round in August.
"I must admit the move hadn’t been completed but was ongoing when the draw was made and it was freaky when I saw it.
"I am looking forward to coming back, although I guess there is some trepidation, but I hope the Accrington fans understand.
"It’s a different proposition for me now as, at Accrington, I was in the team every week and now I have got to work hard at Scunthorpe and hopefully make an impact with them.
"I have signed a two-year contract with a one-year option and so have plenty of time to make the step up.
"If it doesn’t work out I have given it my best shot and that’s all you can do but hopefully I can adapt to League One – and Accrington might be there next season."
STANLEY’S fee for Ryan, as he is under 24, is still being discussed between the two clubs.