They used to cheer his every move, but Roy O'Donovan is prepared to now be Public Enemy Number One with the Central Coast faithful in Saturday’s F3 Derby in Gosford.
After two seasons on the Central Coast, the fiery Irish striker has not only joined another Hyundai A-League club, he's moved to the Mariners' most bitter rivals, the Newcastle Jets.
And as fate would have it, O'Donovan will return to his former stamping ground on the first very first weekend of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season for what is sure to be an extra-spicy F3 derby.
But like the fans, the man himself can't wait.
“It's the perfect opener for me,” O'Donovan told www.a-league.com.au.
“It's going to be a baptism of fire in my new Newcastle strip.
“Just with the whole furore over me leaving to the nearest rivals and the long pre-season.
“I had many good times at the Mariners but it's the start of something fresh for me now.
“They've signed well as well so it's going to be an intriguing game,” he said.
O'Donovan became a cult hero with Mariners fans in the last two seasons, scoring 19 goals.
But he knows that will count for nothing on Saturday.
“I've been booed before,” shrugged O'Donovan.
“It adds a little bit to the drama.
“I picked up a lot of good relationships at the Mariners and had a relatively good period there.
“To rip all of that up and to walk away is probably difficult for the supporters to take, but it's the nature of the beast.
“It would be nice to go back and win a game there and that's what I'll be striving to do.
“That would obviously make it a better day for me,” he smiled.