Former Wigan Athletic captain Stephen Warnock could not hide his delight at remaining in the Championship after joining Burton Albion on a one-year deal.
The 35-year old became a free agent when his contract with Latics, who will kick-off the new term in League One, expired this summer.
And Brewers boss Nigel Clough has moved quickly to secure his services.
“I’m really happy,” said Warnock. “It has been a long summer already and I wanted to get something sorted to play at the highest level possible.
“Nigel Clough has given me that opportunity and I’m very thankful for it.
“He wants me to bring that experience and a calm head to the place and the changing room, and hopefully I can do that.
“For me, personally, it’s nice to come and play for a club that has stayed in the Championship against all the odds, which shows the manager and playing squad are more than capable of staying in this league.”
was a virtual ever-present for Wigan last year in the Championship.
Clough admitted the chance to land the vastly-experienced former England defender was one he couldn’t pass up.
“Stephen is a good, experienced full back,” recognised Clough.
“We always liked him when he played for Derby and obviously at Wigan most recently.
“He will give us that experience that you need in the Championship.
“He will bring all the qualities and all the experience - it’s ideal and we think he will complement the defenders that we’ve already got.
“He can play full back, but he can play centrally as well, which he did for Wigan a few times last season.
“He will provide good company and good competition in the full-back area.”
Warnock admitted recently he was still struggling to come to terms with exactly how Latics came to lose their Championship status at the end of last term – the first relegation of his long and distinguished playing career.
He claimed having ‘extra’ things to contend with off the field didn’t help him or the team achieve their goals.
“There were things going on at the football club, that you’re trying to sort out as captain, trying to help with, that you shouldn’t have to be doing, but that’s part and parcel of the way it was last year,” he told the Wigan Post.
“Playing under three managers in one season doesn’t happen that often in football, and it shouldn’t really happen if I’m being honest.
“But it did happen, and it’s something we had to deal with as a team.
“It wasn’t easy at all – there’s no point me smoke-screening it, and saying it was enjoyable.
“Not being relegated was something I was very proud of and, looking back to the beginning of the season, it never entered my head that we might be.
“I was very positive coming in to the season, and even when the manager changed I still believed we could get out of it.
“Obviously we didn’t, and it’s not a very nice thing to have on the CV. It’s not something I’m happy about at all – I wanted to finish my career without having been relegated.
“I suppose all I can do is look on it as a learning curve, for if I want to go into coaching or management.
“I need to look at what happened this year, understand why it happened, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
A recent tweak in diet after discovering he is dairy intolerant has left Warnock feeling as fit as ever, and hoping to play on for at least one more year.
“I feel great, I feel fit, I feel strong,” he added.