Club legend Alan Tate says he has not said “goodbye” to Swansea City despite his move to Nottingham Forest.
Tate also reiterated his ambition to one day manage the Swans, saying: “I think that goes without saying, doesn’t it?”
Tate, 39, left in September to become former Swansea head coach Steve Cooper’s assistant at the City Ground.
“This is not goodbye. This is thank you, I love you, I will miss you and I will see you again,” Tate said.
In a statement addressed to “everyone connected to our club and our city” the former Swans defender added: “This is not goodbye. This is thank you, I love you, I will miss you and I will see you again.”
He went on to tell BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “It’s been public knowledge for that last three or four years that management’s something I want to get into.
“It doesn’t mean I want to dive into it two-footed instantly because I’m enjoying the role I’m doing now and it’s all a build-up and a learning curve for eventually throwing my hat into the ring and going and making that step and becoming the lead alone.”
Tate’s association with Swansea stretches back to 2002, when he arrived on loan from Manchester United at a club battling against the threat of relegation to non-league football.
He helped Swansea avoid the drop courtesy of victory over Hull City on the final day of that season, before returning for a second loan spell and then joining on a permanent basis in 2004.
Tate played regularly throughout Swansea’s climb to the top flight, featuring in their Championship play-off final win over Reading in 2011 and then captaining Brendan Rodgers’ side as they made a Premier League bow at Manchester City.
Tate, who is originally from County Durham but has settled with his family in Swansea, remembers being a “skinny 20-year-old lad” arriving in Wales for the first time having been signed by Brian Flynn.
“Little did I know what that day would snowball into, which was one of the most amazing stories in football,” he said.
“May 3rd, 2002, Hull City at home at a packed Vetch Field soaked by the rain. At the final whistle, a 4-2 scoreline which would be repeated at Wembley in May 2011.
“Nine years in which we together went through every emotion that exists together to come together and become the first Welsh club to reach the Premier League.
“As a player, my first game for the club we were 92nd out of 92 [league clubs], my last kick of a ball for the club we were eighth of 92, which is something I am extremely proud of.”
Tate played 340 games for Swansea before leaving the club in 2015, returning the following year to begin his coaching career in their academy.
The fans’ favourite was promoted to a first-team coach role following Cooper’s arrival in 2019, and briefly served as caretaker manager after Cooper’s exit in July this year.
Swansea initially indicated Tate would remain in his position after Cooper’s departure but, following the appointment of Russell Martin, he was set to take a new role overseeing loan players and scouting before the chance to join Forest arose.
“I would like to thank (Swansea chief executive) Julian Winter and (sporting director) Mark Allen for doing all they could to keep me at the club in some capacity, but my focus now is Nottingham Forest,” Tate added.
“Steve Cooper offered me the chance to be his assistant manager at a club with great history and I will do all I can to help them succeed.
“It goes without saying that while my focus is Forest, I wish Swansea well.
“There is so much more I could write, there are far too many memories to go through and far too many people that I need to thank for everything we achieved together.
“All I can say – and trust me when I tell you this – I love everything about our past, I love everything about our club, I love everything about our city, my adopted home.”