There is no doubt that Duncan Fletcher was an excellent coach for the England cricket team. Far too many former players of this past decade have told me that.
Fletcher improved so many England cricketers that it would be churlish to gainsay his qualities.
He had his favourites in the World Cup squad and it was significant that three of them - Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood - took him off to the golf course the morning after England's predictable exit from the tournament.
The media pack hung around the team hotel for most of the day, hoping in vain to hear from Fletcher, but he clearly felt he owed us nothing after we'd placed him on a bed of nails for the best part of eight years.
As the only reporter present at the training ground on Thursday morning, it was salutary to watch the coach break the news that he was going, to hear the spontaneous applause after he and the captain spoke and to see all the squad queue up and hug Fletcher. The inscrutable Silver Fox wiped away a tear on four occasions.
But then Fletcher continued to lead the media a merry dance.
For the next few days, negotiations continued with England's hapless media relations manager. Would Fletcher deign to speak to us one more time?
The omens weren't favourable. The impression given was that he'd rather stick his head up a blind bear's backside.
In vain did we point out that we act as the conduit between the England team and the thousands of supporters out here who were justly angered at their appalling display against South Africa.
Millions back home were asking the same question - how could Fletcher preside over such a shambles?
Apart from a four-match period in Australia from February 2 to 11, the performances by England, from the Champions' Trophy in India last October all the way through to last week, have been dreadful. And as the man with more power over the team than any predecessor, the buck stopped with Fletcher.
Informed guidance estimates Fletcher's annual salary plus perks to be around #350,000 a year, the highest of any international coach. Surely he ought to take public responsibility one more time and try to explain things to England's cricket-lovers?
We will never know if Fletcher would have kept his own counsel had England lost to the West Indies on Saturday. But several hours after that thrilling victory, the text pinged up from the spin doctor. Duncan Fletcher would be speaking to the media the following morning.
He did. For eight minutes. His lugubrious expression and terse response to most polite enquiries were vintage Fletcher.
He made it clear that he'd rather be anywhere but in that room, having to justify himself. For the umpteenth time, I found myself wondering just how he managed to motivate his players.
It was the familiar litany. We play too much cricket, it's a young, inexperienced side - ignoring that six of the XI against the West Indies had played more than 50 one-dayers - and injuries over the past year had disrupted his strategy. Fletcher called those reasons, not excuses. You can judge for yourself in that exercise in semantics.
He had no intention of letting the mask slip for once. No doubt he's saving his informative thoughts for his autobiography, which is being compiled with the assistance of Steve James, who played for him at Glamorgan.
It should be an interesting read. Fletcher has many original and interesting thoughts on cricket and, now and then in public, evidence of a sharp mind emerges. But I wonder if he's aware that he'll have to do the dreaded publicity circuit when his book is published?
Publishers who fork out handsome advances expect their writers to glad-hand the media - press conferences, in-depth profiles with selected columnists, chat shows on radio and television, photo sessions. Fletcher will hate that. The feeling among the media will probably be mutual.
Lest anyone believes he's an innocent abroad among the pack of tabloid beasts, let me return to those emotional scenes at the England training ground last Thursday morning.
When I arrived, aware that Fletcher was leaving, I told a photographer who is close to Team England. He said: "That explains why Fletcher has just told me to keep an eye on him when he calls the players together. He said to start taking shots when they're all in a group."
An hour later, that's exactly what happened. That snapper was the only one to get the emotional pictures. They will appear in Fletcher's autobiography - the moment when he broke the news to his beloved players.
Yet some of them won't be beating their breasts at his departure. Andrew Flintoff for one, and his mate, Steve Harmison. They've never been on the same wavelength. The former bowling coach, Troy Cooley, is the one they miss.
I imagine Chris Read must have smiled knowingly when he heard the news. Perhaps England's best wicket-keeper may now be picked for the Lord's Test, starting on May 17.
The chairman of selectors, David Graveney, will also hope for a more simpatico relationship with the new coach, Peter Moores.
Too often, Fletcher has kept Graveney out of the loop, especially on tour. Graveney's popularity with the media also grated with Fletcher, who considered him to be a serial leaker.
The whole emphasis on the power of a modern cricket coach should be diluted. Good players make good teams and the coach can only tinker around with the materials he's been given.
I'd love to have seen Tom Cartwright coach England, but it was not to be. Instead, an outstanding recent biography of the former Warwickshire all-rounder sums up the limitations of coaching, as admitted by Tom. . .
"Playing is the secret of development, coaching is only a small part of it.
"We've got to the point where we're not playing enough, we're not going out and doing the things enough. It's then that you can learn about yourself.
"A moment in cricket - one good drive, a stop in the field - can stay with you for a week. Nothing in a net will replicate that. Coaching is sometimes in danger of selling itself too strongly. The art of coaching is to prepare people so that they can teach themselves. If you impose on people, they don't make decisions for themselves."
How true. Ian Botham and Viv Richards, both coached to greatness by Tom Cartwright, are testimony to those ideals.
A control freak such as Duncan Fletcher would never agree with Tom, but now a new England coach is in place, we may just see more county appearances from bowlers such as James Anderson, Harmison and Flintoff.
How pleasingly old-fashioned that would be!