Ross Lyon gave an emotional farewell to Fremantle and the club’s fans as he addressed the media following Tuesday’s announcement that he will not be coaching the club in 2020.

Under Lyon’s tenure that started in 2012, Fremantle made finals for four consecutive seasons between 2012 and 2015, highlighted by their appearance in the 2013 Grand Final and earning the minor premiership in 2015.

Lyon departs as Fremantle’s longest serving coach and said that he would always feel connected to the club.

“The Dockers will always hold a special place in my heart. We lived in the heartland, we are in the area, I want to make it clear that the Dockers have been unbelievable,” Lyon said. 

“They are a really good group of players, some special young players and a lot of them have reached out and I will catch up with them.

“I wish them all the best and I think they are really well positioned. There are some challenges to get more depth of talent through, but any player who is thinking of coming through, they are a big strong club, a powerful Perth club and the flags will come. 

“In the short term I love football, played junior football in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne, the game itself has taken me to places I never thought I would go, it’s stretched me, particularly as a senior coach.”

Lyon said he gave everything in his role as senior coach.

“I just really want to acknowledge the unconditional support. I feel like I couldn’t have worked any harder,” Lyon said.

“As I said to the players, I would sign it (the contract) again and the ride is worth the fall. It’s an amazing ride.”

While Lyon acknowledged that some Fremantle fans were ready for a change, he said he felt a close connection with the supporters.

“(They’re) unbelievable (but) there’s always going to be different opinions, but my experience is all engagement,” Lyon said.

“When you’re winning in this town it’s an amazing town, there’s 5,000 fans at the airport chanting and all that.

“They’re cherished memories…I saw the Dockers fans walk across to the MCG from Federation Square and it was really powerful.

“They were special times, they go with you forever…they’re my memories and they’re very special.”