Following the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act, local education authorities (LEAs) lost control of further education in England. Now, after spending almost two decades out in the cold, from 2010, local authorities are set to become reinvolved in the further education system. Given this, this paper takes the opportunity to look back on the end of LEA control and reflect upon why further education colleges were removed from local authorities in the first place. It is acknowledged that the ideological stance of government was clearly an important factor in ending LEA control, and that the perceived need to make cost savings in the early 1990s also contributed to both the form and haste with which colleges were 'incorporated'. However, arguably the end of LEA control was as much a process as a single event. This paper traces the path that, it is argued, made up that long goodbye.