Almost exactly two years ago, I sat with Mark Greatbatch in the players' dining room at Edgbaston to discuss his appointment as Warwickshire's director of cricket.

I recall being struck by his enthusiasm. Every word he uttered contained unabashed joy in his new role. He had taken the time to read about the history of the club and talked of a "dream job" and being "thrilled" by the opportunity.

I found his delight charming and thought he would prove a wise appointment.

Alas, I don't know what happened to that genial fellow. He is unrecognisable from the gruff man I've encountered of late. Stung by criticism, hurt by failure and confused by the lack of reward for his hard work, Greatbatch has, somewhere along the way, lost all those positive qualities.

The Greatbatch reign will, officially, come to end in the next few hours. He met with the club's chief executive, Colin Povey, yesterday and the announcement could come as early as today.

It is often claimed that he had little previous experience as coach but it's not so. He won a trophy as coach of Central Districts as well as overseeing New Zealand Under-19 for a time.

He made a good impression during a brief stint with Warwickshire's Academy and was blameless for the shambolic nature of his appointment as the club's director of cricket.

Fate did not deal Greatbatch the best of hands. He inherited a team that had over-performed in 2004 and 2005, with key players (Nick Knight and Dougie Brown) in decline and a youth and coaching system that has not, for all the money pumped into it, delivered in the quantity that it should have done in recent years.

But it was his fault that Mark Wagh left. It was his fault that Moeen Ali left. It was his fault that he alienated senior players like Michael Powell and Brown who had only the best interests of the club at heart. And it was his fault that the side played unattractive cricket. For Greatbatch distrusts flair.

Just look at those he omitted (Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Wagh et al) to accommodate the doughty Ian Westwood. As a result, supporters had neither success nor entertainment to savour.

It didn't help that his style contrasted so much with his predecessor's. The calm detachment of John Inverarity was replaced by a brooding menace in the dressing-room as Greatbatch's desire to succeed sometimes manifested itself in sullen anxiety.

His passion was untamed. He sulked when he lost; shouted when he was angry. Instead of lifting the dressing-room in trying times, he became the chief mourner; the source of negativity.

The club have been admirably loyal. Povey and Darren Maddy, two unfailingly honest men, have never, be it in public or private, criticised Greatbatch.

Indeed, he was extended every advantage. A large squad; a pre-season tour; the extensive support staff; four overseas players and even mid-season acquisitions: all to no avail.

There will, generally, be a sense of relief in the dressing-room. At the end of the 2006 season, Greatbatch was detested by several players; by mid-2007, he was irrelevant to nearly all of them. He offered little hands-on coaching and had little that was inspirational to give in terms of personal example or communication skills.

My own relationship with Greatbatch disintegrated entirely.

In the early days I liked him very much; but I began to fear for his ability to cope with the pressures of dealing with an ambitious side in a transitional phase. I suspect he felt the criticism was disloyal and unfair. In truth, I just didn't think he was a good coach. I wish him well.

Quite where he will go remains a mystery. The cricket world is not large and Greatbatch's reputation has been severely damaged. It will prove desperately tough to gain a similarly high-profile role.

This all leaves the club with a vacancy. Indeed, they could soon have other vacancies, for Greatbatch will be the first of several departures.