Central Coast Mariners boss Alen Stajcic admits he feared he might never coach again after the brutal way Football Federation Australia axed him as Matildas coach.
Stajcic was sacked after five years in the post without any warning in January, in a move which later sparked a series of apologies and a payout to the coach.
It also saw the FFA deputy chair Heather Reid stand down from per post on health grounds, and sparked an internal FFA inquiry.
None of it gave Stajcic back his Matildas job though despite successfully guiding the Matildas to the France 2019 Women's World Cup as one of the favourites to take the trophy.
But with Ante Milicic unexpectedly parachuted into a caretaker coaching role for the tournament, the team crashed out disappointingly at the round of 16 stage instead.
And while the storm of protests from players past and present rolled out around him earlier this year, Stajcic was left to ponder if he had any future left in the game.
His reputation was stained by deliberate obscure references by FFA CEO David Gallop to the apparently damaging findings of two separate surveys conducted for the FFA by the PFA and Our Watch.
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But it was later revealed neither organisation had even suggested sacking the coach, and the issues raised in the surveys were to be addressed at a players and coaching staff workshop in Sydney just days later.
At home, Stajcic had to adapt from planning a World Cup campaign to planning a future of any kind – and the worry that it might never again be in coaching.
"That thought crossed my mind at some point," he tells the new FTBL Podcast. "I didn't see anything at that time. I had the usual cliches from people around me that when one door closes another one opens.
"But you just don't see it at that time. You don't know where you're going to end up. It was a tough time for sure."
He admitted: "Things definitely haven't panned out or played out as I expected in 2019.
"I probably didn't expect to be sitting where I am at the moment. Like anyone who's gone through anything like that, it's all a setback.
"But I haven't seen anyone's journey in life or football be a linear progression. You've got to show resilience and I always talk about that with the players.
"I had to look in the mirror, jump back on my feet and find a way to fight my way through the tough times."