Aston Villa's Olof Mellberg admitted he shed a tear or two as he said an emotional farewell to Villa Park.
But the Swedish international said his joy at the incredible reception he had been given by the Villa faithful was tinged with disappointment at the result and a surprise defeat to Wigan.
Villa fans had deemed Saturday's Premier League encounter Olof Mellberg Day in tribute to their departing defender and many turned out in Swedish shirts, topped with Viking helmets and waved Swedish flags aloft in tribute to the 30-year-old who has given them seven years of loyal service.
Among the biggest displays of affection was a giant banner above the North Stand corner which read Tack For Minenna [Thanks for the Memories] which fans had funded themselves in a rare show of support for a departing player who has chosen to move his career on.
Mellberg said: "It was obviously mixed emotions for me because it was a poor result but it was fantastic seeing all the yellow shirts and flags and my name was all around the park which was special.
"There was a banner saying "Thanks for the memories" in Swedish which was fantastic.
"It is unusual for both players and fans to be able to thank each other in a way like that knowing you are not going to be at the club after the summer.
"Most things happen in the summer and people don't get to say goodbye or thank you but this is something to be grateful for because I wanted to thank the fans.
"They have been great today and throughout all the years I have been at Villa."
Mellberg, who will join Serie A side Juventus in the summer, had hoped to leave Villa on a high secure in the knowledge that he had helped smooth the side's passage into Europe but the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Steve Bruce's Wigan has certainly thrown a spanner in the works now with the Intertoto the only real route left for Villa now.
He said: "I was not well at all on Wednesday and Thursday with a fever but I really wanted to play the game because it was the last home game and also a big game for us. It is very disappointing that we lost."
As the Villa players lapped the stadium at the end so that fans could show their appreciation of the season, it was clear the biggest cheers were reserved for Mellberg who took his young daughter Saga and son John onto the pitch for his lap of honour.
Mellberg said: "We were all crying at the end. There were a lot of emotions - the disappointment of not winning but I will probably look back at this game many times.
"I was filming the crowd and the scene and it will always be a special day for me."
The player who never once complained despite having to play out of position at right-back for Martin O'Neill, recalled his Villa career.
He said: "There have been quite a few memorable moments for me during my time - the derbies and the last derby in particular was very special when I came off five minutes before the end and was able to thank the fans in a game like that.
"My debut was special as well away to Tottenham. I got the feel of the Premier League straight away at a great stadium and with a great atmosphere and we got a point.
"Overall at the start of that season we were top after about ten games and it was a great. We had a lot of experienced players and I learned a lot from them.
"It was important for my career coming here and I think the team's future looks bright. Villa have a young squad and talented key players but it is hard work in the Premier League now because a lot of teams are spending money and looking at those positions just behind the big four.
"We are not the only team with ambitions but it looks good because we have had a lot of changes."
Mellberg revealed he had given his shirt to former Villa boss John Gregory who was at the game and who was responsible for bringing him to Villa Park.
He said: "John was here and I spoke to him after the game and gave him my shirt to thank him for signing me for Villa.
"He was the one behind the move. He was looking at a lot of games and came to see me in Sweden and Spain and was a big part of my decision to sign for Villa.
"It was just a shame we didn't get to work together that long."