TWO months out of the game has felt like a lifetime for Ian Holloway.
When he stepped down as Crystal Palace manager last October, he did so because he was at the end of his tether.
Speaking at a hastily arrange press conference to announce his resignation, Holloway said he was "pretty worn out."
The Eagles had lost seven of their first eight Premier League games of the season and Holloway felt the club "needed an impetus of energy."
At that point, many expected he would take an extended sabbatical from management.
But as the days and weeks have passed, the 50-year-old's desire to return to the dugout has grown stronger and stronger.
So when Millwall approached Holloway about becoming their new manager, he couldn't help but jump at the chance.
"I am all about enjoying my life, and I have just experienced a couple of months of nobody wanting me to go to work," he told NewsAtDen.
"People can say I chose to leave Palace but nobody really wanted me to go to work. It's nice to feel wanted again.
"When you are in a job, you're having to make decisions left, right and centre during every minute of every day. Who's in the squad for the next match? Who's in the reserves?
"Suddenly the phone doesn't ring any more. One minute you're everything and the next minute you're nothing. Football leaves a big void and that's what you miss.
"Unless you're a manager you can't really understand it. I have had a lovely Christmas and now all of a sudden I'm back in the groove. It's fantastic.
"I spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day at home for the first time in 18 years. In a way it was nice that nobody wanted anything from me over that period.
"But it felt fantastic on Tuesday to get back into the swing of things, get the enthusiasm going again and I'm looking forward to making a difference."
Former Lions boss Kenny Jackett, who worked as Holloway's assistant at QPR, played a vital role in his move to The Den.
"Kenny called me, we had a long chat and he told me about the passion of the club and the owner, and that he might be interested in speaking to me," Holloway revealed.
"It was very important that I got that call – absolutely. I'm a people person, I'm all about people and I like to do things for the right reasons."
But what really convinced Holloway to take the job was the impression made on him by chairman John Berylson during their five-hour meeting last Friday.
"It's about finding a kindred spirit and John's made me feel so wanted that it feels right to come back to management here and now," he said.
"It's very, very rare that you actually get that. Hopefully I will repay his loyalty in me and I just can't wait to do it.
"Kenny and the chairman here worked hard together for six years and their friendship spoke volumes to me. I'm hoping to have a similar sort of relationship with John.
"Kenny waxed lyrical about the chairman and the working relationship he had with Andy Ambler, the chief executive. He believes I can have something similar with them.
"I want to make this club better and I think I did that in my last job at Crystal Palace. It's about dignity, doing your best and trying to help the club.
"This is the third London team I've been privileged enough to manage and I can't wait to get going really. I'd prefer it if we were further up the table but the challenge is a great one.
"I'm really excited about the opportunity. I fully understand how difficult the Championship is because of what other clubs are paying for players, but I believe if I can get the lads to understand what I want from them, it will be well worth it.
"If I can do that, I'll enjoy every day and hopefully that can rub off on them.
"The only downside of course is that, now I'm back in a job, I'll be judged on results again!
"When people look back at the history books, it will say that Ian Holloway was given the job on January 6, 2014, and what happens now is down to me."
Holloway is not one to dwell on the past but it's clear that his exit from Selhurst Park still grates – even though, on the face of it at least, he resigned.
He said: "When you're in the Premier League and you haven't won a game in a while, and you play Liverpool away, Man United away and then Tottenham at home, having just put a squad together at the last minute, it's very easy for people to say you're not good enough.
"That's the way it is going these days. Us managers who get a team promoted are very harshly dealt with sometimes. I half predicted what was going to happen.
"I got the job at Palace because Dougie Freedman left them mid-season, taking five of his staff with him. He felt Bolton was a bigger and better thing, so I took over and managed to stabilise the club.
"I negotiated the deal to sell Wilfired Zaha, which meant we got the money up front and got him back on loan, and I then managed to settle him down and help him get us up through the play-offs.
"In the summer we lost Glenn Murray to injury and had to build a team in the space of six weeks. I was judged straight away and we were very unlucky with the run of games we had.
"We only played one team down with us at the bottom – Sunderland – and beat them. A few weeks later, because of the way the press started looking for scapegoats, I thought maybe it was me that was the problem."
Now that he is back in management, Holloway believes he has a point to prove.
But he does not want his friendly, warm facade to hide the serious side of him.
"I wonder what sort of credibility I would have if I had a Scottish accent?" he said.
"I get called a country bumpkin and all sorts of things and I find that a total disgrace. I'm the only Bristolian whose doing anything and the only one who talks the way I do, but that doesn't make me anything other than a very good manager.
"I have to prove myself again and I can't wait to do that. I'm a football manager and very proud of it. I don't think my record is too bad either."
Holloway took training for the first time on Tuesday and admits his first challenge is to galvanise a squad of players which has lost 12 league games this season.
"I don't know anyone who enjoys losing, but confidence is a temporary thing – and nobody loses all of the time," he said.
"I believe that the spirit we will get, the belief I might be able to give the players and the enjoyment I create, whether we lose or not, will help them.
"Hopefully they've seen what I've managed to do in my career and they might listen to what I have to say. Alex Ferguson used to tell people the more he achieved, the more his players listened to him.
"My CV isn't looking too bad at the moment and I want to improve it."
Despite the Lions' lowly league position, Holloway is likely to give the club's existing players a chance to get results before delving into the transfer market.
"I would rather have a good look at who I've got first and try to encourage them," he said. "What's the point in changing the bath water if it's still nice and warm? It's not that dirty yet – a lot of the players have just got here.
"It's all about a blend and getting it right. There are probably some senior professionals who can't play in the same team together because the blend isn't right.
"Typical me, I told them that on Tuesday morning and if they don't like it I don't really care because I'm going to do what I think is right. The most important thing for me is that they never give up.
"That is the minimum expectation at a club like Millwall. You have to show passion and sometimes that goes missing. All I want from the boys is effort."