Widdrington joined Salisbury in 2005 from Port Vale
Departing Salisbury City boss Tommy Widdrington is sure the club will move back up the football pyramid.
Widdrington, 38, has left the Whites to become assistant to new Southend United manager Paul Sturrock.
The former Southampton midfielder spent more than five years at the Wiltshire club as a player, coach and manager.
"I've enjoyed not only my time at the football club but everybody I've worked with," Widdrington told BBC Wiltshire. "The club is in good hands."
He added: "When I first came in there was a mixture of army guys, gardeners, bankers and builders. Now there is essentially a professionally run football club.
"They're on a good financial footing. I've not been pushed or anything like that and I've not fallen out with anyone.
"I had to make a quick decision on Sunday and the lure of league football was just too big for me.
"It's somewhere I've spent a vast part of my professional life and somewhere I have aspired to go back to with Salisbury. Unfortunately that wouldn't have been able to happen for at least three years.
"Now I have the opportunity with Paul which I am delighted to have taken."
Widdrington's assistant Mikey Harris and captain Darrell Clarke have been put in temporary charge while the club takes stock.
Salisbury were demoted to the Southern League for financial reasons in June.
I'd like to thank everyone connected with Salisbury City unreservedly for helping me over the five years I've been there
Chairman William Harrison-Allan was sad to see his manager leave but could not stand in his way.
"It's a terrific opportunity for him to return to the Football League," he said.
"He's worked extremely hard for us during his time here and we all wish him well."
Widdrington impressed many with his work at Salisbury last season when, after going into administration, the club was deducted 10 points.
Had Salisbury not suffered that loss they would have finished the Blue Square Premier campaign in sixth position.
"I'd like to thank everyone connected with Salisbury City unreservedly for helping me over the five years I've been there," he said. "I would like to think that the legacy at Salisbury is a very strong one.
"The players have shown what they can do when their backs are to the walls, now they'll be in a division where they are looked upon as being among the favourites. That brings different pressures but I know they have the mental ability to cope with that.
"The three directors saved the football club when they came in and deserve huge praise for all they have done."
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