Steve Coppell wants to return to football management after leaving Reading but will take a break from the game before looking for a new job.Coppell quit after Tuesday's play-off defeat by Burnley - and there had been reports he would retire from football.
But Coppell said: "I will enjoy a break but with a focus on coming back sometime in the future."
Reading chairman John Madejski revealed that finding a successor was like "looking for a needle in a haystack".
Coppell had been in charge at Reading since October 2003 and the club won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history in 2006.
And Madejski, speaking at a news conference on Thursday that was also attended by Coppell, added: "Steve is a very difficult act to replace.
"The process has already started. We have had an avalanche of applications on our doormat.
Proposition fails to sway Coppell
"The club has now got to have a renaissance. It is time to start again, we need to have a fresh outlook and I'm sure Steve will give us advice on who should replace him.
"I am sure that we can attract the very best manager to come to this club. We will be sifting through the many, many applications. The next appointment is crucial and we won't be rushing."
Coppell was in charge of Brighton before joining the Royals and the 53-year-old said: "It is time for a break - I have done eight years on the bounce, you never get a chance to draw breath.
"I now want to watch other people work and continue my football education.
"During the five and a half years at Reading I always felt lucky to be the manager of this club. It felt like that right fit at the right time.
Burnley defeated Reading in Coppell's last game in charge"Who replaces me here will be a very lucky manager. The board placed their trust in me and left me to get on with the job."
Coppell considered stepping down at the club last summer following the club's relegation from the Premier League but was persuaded to stay, in large part by the goodwill of the club's supporters.
But he told his backroom staff after the 2-0 Championship play-off semi-final, second leg defeat at the hands of the Clarets that he was definitely leaving and then held a conversation with Madejski during which he outlined his intentions.
"I said it was time to move on," revealed Coppell. "The chapters are finished.
"Last season I made a decision to continue and wanted to erase relegation from our minds by getting us back into the Premiership.
"My sole intention was to get promotion, that was my reason for continuing.
Who should replace Steve Coppell?
"I thought we were good enough but it just wasn't meant to be and it's time for someone else to have a fresh appraisal of the squad. It's right for the club and right for me."
But the Liverpudlian, who has had four spells as boss of Crystal Palace, refused to rule out a return to the club in the future.
"You never know what's going to happen," he said when asked whether he could see himself managing the Royals again.
And he added of his intention to return to management: "I'm a manager, that's my job but the timing of that I don't think anyone can say."
Reading have also confirmed that first-team coaches Kevin Dillon and Wally Downes will not have their contracts renewed.
BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher
"I'm saddened to see both Kevin and Wally leave but this is the end of an era and time for a change," added Madejski.
"I will miss Kevin on a personal level because he's a great character who had been with us for a long time and I wish him every success in the future.
"Wally played a key role in our progress over the last few years; he's a big personality and I'm sure he'll reappear in the footballing fraternity somewhere very soon."
Dillon became first team coach under Coppell's predecessor Alan Pardew, while Downes joined the club in 2004.
Madejski has hinted in the past that he is looking to sell the club but the chairman explained that would only be to a generous benefactor once the Royals were back in the Premier League.
"We're in the the Championship and I am determined to get the club back into the Premier League," he stated. "I am 100% behind the club."