Hakan Hayrettin says the decision to leave his role as Braintree Town manager and head to Vanarama National League rivals Maidstone United was far from an easy one for him to make.

While the opportunity being given by the Stones and the offer of a two-year contract were certainly attractive, he said it was tough to turn his back on the achievements that his hard work with Iron had brought.

Maidstone are only one place above rock bottom Braintree in the league table and Hayrettin knows it is not an easy job that he has taken on.

However, the the chance to work alongside his old colleague John Still, who has joined Maidstone as Head of Football and is someone who he has seen success with before when they worked together at Luton Town, proved too tempting to turn down.

"It was a very difficult decision for me," said Hayrettin.

"When Maidstone went for John (Still), he came to me and said he wanted to work with me.

"He has come in as Head of Football and while he wants me to have the title of head coach, I will be managing day to day, but it still took me two to three days to come to a decision.

"I feel we've done so much work with Braintree since I went there and I feel they are in a much better position with what we have done.

"It is coming to fruition now and I think it's just a matter of time before they get out of the relegation zone, but the prospect of working at a bigger club was important.

"I have the chance to do what I want with Maidstone and they have given me a two-year contract, which shows they want me and it shows they think I must have been doing something right.

"It's no secret that I was down to the last two for the manager's job at Maidstone when they ended up giving it to Harry Wheeler and I'm now able to do the job.

"When I spoke with John about the role, he said he wanted me managing football matters and it was a good deal."

Hayrettin had been at Braintree since he took over - first as a caretaker manager and then permanently - after the departure of Brad Quinton in early October.

It has not been an easy spell, but Hayrettin has changed the look of the Iron squad over the last few months and a recent upturn in form, most recently the 4-0 hammering of Barnet last weekend, shows they team are still capable of battling hard for survival.

Hayrettin added: "I feel I've done a lot of good work for Braintree and we put in a lot of ground work in getting Premier League quality players into the club.

"All the work behind the scenes to make sure everything was giving the club the best chance to get out of trouble.

"I have a great relationship with (chairman) Lee Harding and everyone at the club.

"I knew what the job was when I took it and I think I earned the right to do the job with what I did when I was caretaker manager.

"It's no different now here at Maidstone, but I see it as a compliment to what I did at Braintree that they wanted me to move over."

Hayrettin's latest spell at Braintree was his second stint with the club after previously being in charge when they got relegated from the National League in 2016 and his re-appointment was met by a lot of negativity from sections of the Iron's fans.

Those who have been critical may be pleased by his decision to move on, but Hayrettin said comments made to him in person and on social media had not played a part in his decision to leave.

He said: "Sometimes I wonder why are people are like that and I haven't been able to understand their negativity.

"But then everyone who pays to come in is a customer and they are entitled to their opinions.

"What I will say, though, is that we picked up more points from fewer games than under the previous manager and I think you've seen in the last few games that there is improvement there.

"I hold no ill feelings towards anyone at Braintree - supporters or board members.

"Braintree are a club I hold dear to my heart but this offer from Maidstone was a very attractive one for me and one I couldn't pass up."