Martin Allen admitted he had been desperate to take over at Barnet this season after watching his Gillingham side crush the rock-bottom Bees 3-1 at Underhill.
Allen, who started his managerial career at Barnet in 2003 and returned briefly last year, saved the club from relegation at the end of last season but was informed by email he would not be offered the job full-time.
Instead the 47-year-old took over at League Two rivals Gillingham and watched his new side remain top of the table by comfortably seeing off his old club thanks to goals from Jack Payne, Danny Kedwell and Deon Burton.
Jack Saville got the Bees' only response but they remain bottom of the table with just a point to their name and Allen, whose side lead the way, insisted things could have been different.
"To stay up on the last day of the season, it was amazing, I was so happy," he said. "I really wanted the job here. I really wanted to be the manager of Barnet. I thought it was going to be a great opportunity. When the opposition fans start singing your name it's magic. I'm privileged that (Gills chairman Paul) Scally has given me the opportunity to come here and put this team together.
"It was always going to be a tough game. Let's not kid ourselves. We've all seen over the years, that top against bottom scenario, especially with me coming back here, which was obviously a very special day for me personally. So it was a banana skin waiting to happen.
"Going two-nil up so early on probably didn't help us that much because I suppose there was a little bit of complacency setting in. I know these Barnet players, they've got matchwinners within their team, dangerous players."
The table toppers raced into a two-goal lead inside 11 minutes, courtesy firstly of Payne's 20-yard strike before Kedwell nodded his fourth league goal of the season. The Bees reduced the arrears when Saville headed home, but Burton restored the visitors' two-goal cushion six minutes before the interval, leaving boss Mark Robson to bemoan his side's defending.
"I seem to be saying the same things to the players each week, which is a bit disappointing to be honest. We've conceded three goals, all of which were avoidable," he said. "I feel like we started the game well again. Up until the goal, we looked okay. We then conceded a second really quickly and suddenly we're 2-0 down.
"We probably created more opportunities than we have in a number of games, but we've still come out on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline."